Naijiel Hale will still play at Arizona Stadium next season. It just won’t be for the Arizona Wildcats.
The four-star cornerback recruit from Bellflower, Calif., and the UA parted ways Saturday morning while Hale was on an official visit to Washington. Shortly after, Hale committed to the Huskies.
Washington travels to Tucson on Nov. 15.
Hale, the son of the late rapper Nate Dogg, committed to the Wildcats in early July on national television.
Rich Rodriguez, who can’t comment on recruits until national signing day on Wednesday, has said in the past he doesn’t like when players committed to Arizona take visits to other schools.
The trip to Washington was Hale’s second since pledging to Arizona. He also visited Utah during the season.
The Wildcats informed Hale before his visit to Washington that they could potentially pull his scholarship offer.
The cornerback told the Scout.com recruiting service on Saturday that he knew the risk of losing his offer to Arizona by visiting Washington, but already had his mind set on the Huskies.
That’s far different than what he told the Star last month. “I took visits down to ASU and a visit to Utah, and it wasn’t the same feeling. It’s the town, along with the coaches,” Hale said.
Hale isn’t the first cornerback to flip his commitment from Arizona to another school this recruiting season. Last month, five-star corner Jalen Tabor committed to the Wildcats — also on national TV — only to decommit seven days later and sign with Florida. He’s currently enrolled at UF.
In Hale and Tabor, the Wildcats had two of Scout’s top 30 cornerbacks in the nation onboard.
With both gone, the UA is expected to bring in just three corners on Wednesday: high school players Rodney Carr and Kwesi Mashack and junior college product Patrick Glover, who enrolled at Arizona last month. Mashack is the highest rated of the group by Scout, at No. 52.
With Hale out of the picture, Scout dropped Arizona from 17th to 25th in its team rankings.
The Wildcats are still expected to welcome in at least a 27-man recruiting class Wednesday. Hale’s decommitment opens the door for a surprise on signing day — something that happened last year, when Arizona landed quarterback-turned-wide receiver Khari McGee.
The UA is also still in the hunt for four-star defensive tackle Marcus Griffin, who will announce his decision on Wednesday. Griffin, out of Bellevue (Wash.) High School, is on an official visit to Mississippi State this weekend.
He’s down to Arizona, Cal, Washington State and Mississippi State.