June 25, 2007

Hale, Gators, capture title at passing camp

The Gateway Gators were one of four teams to capture championships this past weekend at Pitt's 7-on-7 passing camp. They opened with a win over Pittsburgh Central Catholic on Friday morning, and closed out the camp with a win over the Vikings in the championship game. The Gators had strong efforts from all their skill players.

Among Gateway's senior class this season are nationally-ranked athletes Leon Green and Cameron Saddler, as well as Jon Pryor and Eric Livsey. Sophomore quarterback Rob Kalkstein returns with one year as a starter under his belt, and the Gators also have a pair of talented juniors and Corey Brown, who have both been verbally offered by Pitt. Note: They won't receive their official written offers until September 1st.

With all these skilled players, the Gators also have the nation's top inside linebacker, Shayne Hale, a physical player with all the tools to be a great linebacker at the next level. Hale still found a way to help his team to a successful performance in the passing camp, though he admits having to tone it down without the pads.

"I definitely miss the hitting aspect of the game," Hale said. "I definitely want to hit. It throws a little bit of a difference in your game. You can eliminate guys coming across the middle, usually, with pads on. You can blow (plays) up. It definitely throws a difference out there. It was a nice camp, a nice time to compete and have fun," Hale said. "We're doing good all around. We started off slow, but we picked it up."

Hale recently narrowed his list of schools to Alabama, Florida, Miami (FL), Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oregon, Pitt, Rutgers, Virginia and West Virginia. Even though Pitt is right down the road from his high school, he didn't pass up the chance to treat this past weekend as a visit.

"It's definitely like taking another visit to Pitt," Hale added. "I talked to Coach Wannstedt, a couple other coaches and some of the players. I used that time wisely."

Hale said that his team has already participated in a few passing camps this summer, and he is likely done for the summer. They will turn their focus to summer workouts, as they prepare for their Sept. 1 season opener against Youngstown Cardinal Mooney. The game will be played at Canton's Fawcett Stadium. The game is one of three games to be played that day, all part of the 2007 Herbstreit Challenge. Mooney captured Ohio's Division IV State Championship in 2006, and include running back Brandon Beachum, guard Jarod Emerson, Penn State commit Mike Zordich, linebacker Taylor Hill and safety Dan McCarthy.

Rivals.com recently gave Hale a five-star rating. He is their No. 1. inside linebacker prospect in the country. The Pantherlair has ranked Hale as the No. 3 prospect in the state of Pennsylvania.

Tony Greco can be contacted at pittpath@hotmail.com..

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