Naijiel Hale waited to declare his college choice until he was in front of an ESPN camera Tuesday night.
But in reality, he has known where he has wanted to play college football since February.
Hale, a four-star cornerback from Bellflower, Calif., and the son of the late hip-hop great Nate Dogg, committed to the UA Tuesday night. Hale pledged to the Wildcats on ESPNU during The Opening, a high school all-star combine at the Nike headquarters in Oregon.
"I've known I've wanted to play for them since the day they offered me," Hale said via cellphone. "They've been my top school since Day 1. I've been in love with the coaching staff they have.
"I've just loved everything about the school since they offered me."
His dad was best known for his collaborations on several rap songs including the 1994 hit "Regulate" with Warren G.
The Wildcats are hoping Hale is best known for his football abilities.
He's rated as a four-star prospect by the Scout.com recruiting service and the 20th-best cornerback in the nation. Rivals.com and ESPN.com have him rated as a three-star, while 247sports.com ranked him as a four-star.
As a junior at St. John Bosco High School, Hale was an all-region and all-league pick and had 53 tackles and four interceptions.
He chose the Wildcats over Cal, ASU, Washington State and Utah.
The Wildcats have been very aggressive pursuing Hale and were long considered the leaders in his recruitment.
"They're rebuilding, and I really like how they're recruiting guys now," Hale said of the UA. "It's a whole new program now, and I want to be a part of it."
With his pledge to a Pac-12 program, Hale will now have a chance to do his own thing and not just be known as "Nate Dogg's son."
"One of the main reasons I wanted to play football was to get myself out there and make a name for myself," Hale said. "Now I get to do that."
Hale has taken several unofficial visits to the UA and said he will take an official visit sometime during the football season. He was eager to commit in the summer, so he could focus on his final season at St. John Bosco.
Hale is the 12th known commitment for the 2014 class and the fourth defender. All four are defensive backs.
He is also the third four-star recruit to commit to the UA for 2014 joining Salpointe Catholic High School star Cameron Denson and Fresno (Calif.) running back Nick Wilson.
Hale will now turn his attention to helping the Wildcats land another four-star prospect. He shared a room in Oregon with Jamardre Cobb, a four-star outside linebacker from Los Angeles. Cobb is seriously considering the UA but is planning on taking his time with his recruitment.
"I want him bad, too, just like the fans," Hale said of Cobb.
On StarNet: Follow the Cats through the offseason on Daniel Berk's blog at azstarnet.com/berk
Contact reporter Daniel Berk at firstname.lastname@example.org or 573-4330. On Twitter @DSBerk