The Arizona football team begins its 2013 season against Northern Arizona at Arizona Stadium on Aug. 30, which is 58 days away. From now until then, this Web site will count down the days with facts about the Wildcats, their players, coaching staff and opponents. This is not a ranking, only a list of 100 facts and observances related to the 2013 Arizona football team and coach Rich Rodriguez.
Words can't describe. http://t.co/B4O3IePACr
Arizona already has sons of two former major league baseball players on its roster — linebacker Hank Hobson and receiver Trey Griffey. In the 2014 season, they will be joined a third son of a famous dad, four-star cornerback recruit Naijiel Hale, son of late rapper Nate Dogg (Nathaniel Hale).
Naijiel, who will be a senior at Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco, committed to Arizona Tuesday night during ESPNU’s coverage of “The Opening,” which is a Nike all-star summer event held in Beaverton, Ore. He selected the Wildcats over Cal and ASU after paring down a list of at least seven schools.
Naijiel (whose Twitter handle is @YoungNateDogg) Tweeted, “Words can’t describe” with an Instagram picture of him wearing a red Arizona sweatshirt. Although he is a rapper’s son, words couldn’t describe his significant moment. Considering that the younger Hale wants to make a name for himself, his Tweet was appropriate.
“I know a lot of rappers,” the younger Hale told 247sports.com . “But I’m not really into that stuff. They’re good people to look up to but in reality, they’re not. That’s what my dad led me to think so that’s all I really want do is make my own name.
“Who wants to live off of their parents? That’s probably about 90 percent of my motivation is letting people know who I am in a different way.”
One of the most famous rappers, Snoop Dogg (now known as Snoop Lion), steered Naijiel to football. Snoop Lion, his uncle, coaches youth football and runs leagues in the Los Angeles area.
It’s not often that a team has three players on its roster with famous fathers.
Hobson, a junior, is the son of former Boston Red Sox infielder Butch Hobson. Griffey, a redshirt freshman, is the son of legendary baseball player Ken Griffey Jr.
One advantage of having sons of famous parents on a team is they have watched how their father or mother handled themselves in the public eye. They have seen the work ethic it takes to be prepared for success. They know to not let the fame consume them and get in the way of continuing to be creative and productive.
Now that Naijiel, 5-foot-11 and 180 pounds, is old to enough to decide on his college of choice, he can also weigh the good and the bad from what he was exposed to when his father performed.
“My dad used to bring me out on the stage and things like that,” Hale told 247Sports.com. “At first it was crazy and then I started getting used to it and liking it. I remember the first time, I was like 12 and I didn’t know what to do.”
Sons of rappers Nate Dogg, Snoop Lion and Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs can be in the Pac-12 by 2015. Justin Combs, Puff Daddy’s son, is a sophomore defensive back at UCLA. Lion’s son, Cordell Broadus, will be a junior receiver at Diamond Bar (Calif.) High School this season. Oregon and UCLA, among many others, have already offered him a scholarship.
Down the road, rapper Warren G’s son, Olaijah Griffin, will garner interest from college programs. He is a standout athlete in the Orange County Pop Warner football league (check out the linked YouTube video).
Warren G and Nate Dogg teamed up for the hit “Regulate” in 1994, before Naijiel Hale was born.
The best No. 58 to wear the Arizona jersey, according to TucsonCitizen.com’s Anthony Gimino is defensive tackle Ivan Lesnik (1980-83). He was one of UA’s top scholar-athletes with 14 career sacks and two Academic All-America awards.
WILDABOUTAZCATS.net publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He also writes blogs for Lindy’s College Sports, TucsonCitizen.com and Sports Illustrated-sponsored site ZonaZealots.com.