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Sunday, July 28, 2013
ESPN Junior 300 safety enjoys UF visit

By Jeff Barlis

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Hunter Dale (River Ridge, La./John Curtis) was a freshman when Florida first took an interest, so it's no wonder the Gators are often on the junior safety's mind.

The 2015 prospect, ranked No. 221 in the ESPN Junior 300, visited Florida for the third time to participate in the annual Friday Night Lights camp.

"Every time I come here it just gets better and better, the treatment gets better and better, the environment," he said. "I can't get tired of it. It's great out here.

Hunter Dale
2015 prospect Hunter Dale is ranked No. 221 in the ESPN Junior 300.
"Out of all of them, this was probably the top visit I've had. But there's a lot more to come. I definitely won't forget this one, how the coaches were right there by you. They don't just have just assistants going through stuff with you. I just like how the coaches are right there with you at each step, seeing you, teaching you, which is great."

His grandfather played at LSU, but Dale grew up watching Florida and Miami with his dad.

"LSU hasn't talked to me; they haven't sent me nothing," he said sharply.

Of course, Florida coaches are aware of how hard it is to pull a top prospect from Louisiana. They've told Dale as much.

"From here, they said it's very rare to get one out of Louisiana," Dale said. "So I take that very respectful and honorable how they came into Louisiana and got me so early."

Dale is patient and measured when it comes to his recruitment. He doesn't have a list of top teams. At this early stage he simply shows the most interest in the schools who have done likewise -- Florida, Arizona, Arizona State and Miami, among others. He hopes to get an offer from USC when he visits next summer.

Dale plans on committing after his senior season, so he knows there's a long way to go.

But he does acknowledge a particular fondness for Florida. He's been in coach Will Muschamp's office during each of his three visits and can just picture what it would be like to commit.

"Walking out, coming on to the field, I could just feel it, imagining the crowd yelling at me, warming up, getting them all pumped up," he said. "I just can't wait for that."

Dale plans to return to UF for a fourth visit this fall, this time for a game. He'll also attend Florida's game at LSU on Oct. 12, but there's a twist.

"I'm going on Florida's tickets," he said.

That way he can feel comfortable wearing his Gators gear.