Hunter Dale has been playing football and baseball for as long as he can remember.
To this day, the John Curtis senior has yet to quite figure out which of the two sports he likes the best.
“I don’t know, just whichever one I am playing at the time is the one I like the most,” Dale said with a laugh. “It just all depends on the day.”
Dale will figure that out later.
But for now, he plans to continue playing both sports in college.
It’s part of the reason that he committed to play football (and baseball) at the University of Nebraska late Thursday night.
“Everything around here is just great,” Dale said Friday while visiting the campus in Lincoln. “I got a chance to speak to the baseball coach and the football coach about playing both sports, and that’s definitely something I wanted to do. They both said I could do that with no problems at all.”
Dale had narrowed his choices to 10 schools last week. The other nine finalists were Tennessee, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Miami, Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, Oregon and Florida.
Getting a chance to play both sports and falling in love with Nebraska helped expedite the decision.
“That (playing both sports) was definitely one of the main things,” Dale said. “I just felt like I should be here, and I wanted to get it done with.”
The 6-foot, 180 pound Dale recorded eight interceptions and 41 tackles as a junior to help lead Curtis to the Class 3A state championship. He was a first-team selection on the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Class 3A All-State Team and The New Orleans Advocate All-Metro Team. He has 13 career interceptions.
He is rated a 3-star prospect according to 247Sports, a recruiting website.
“I describe him as a playmaker,” said J.T. Curtis, Dale’s high school football coach. “His high school career has been just filled with him making plays. He has been that way as a football player and a baseball player. From a defensive back standpoint, he understands coverages and does a great job of pattern reading and making breaks on the ball and making big plays. He has done the same things as a baseball player offensively and defensively. Nebraska is getting an excellent prospect who can help their football team in a lot of ways.”
Curtis was somewhat surprised to see his star defensive back commit so soon.
“He must have had a great experience, and there must have been some great chemistry,” Curtis said. “I told him to make sure he knew what his commitment meant. But we have had several players to play there, and they really like coach (Bo) Pelini. He’ll be playing for a fine man and a great program.”
Dale, an outfielder who helped Curtis reach the 3A title game in baseball, said he looks forward to the demanding schedule of playing two sports on the collegiate level.
“I think I will be handle it well,” he said. “I know in college the schoolwork is a lot harder. I have been able to do it in high school. I know it will be a tougher transition, but I think I can do it in college.”
Dale is the second player from New Orleans in the Class of 2015 to commit to the Cornhuskers. Newman running back Kendall Bussey committed to Nebraska in February.
It continues what has been a New Orleans-to-Nebraska pipeline as of late. In February, the Cornhuskers signed three players from the New Orleans area in its 2014 class, landing the Edna Karr trio of linebacker Jaevon Walton and receivers Glenn Irons and Jariah Tolbert.
“They just do a great job of recruiting Louisiana, and having Louisiana people there helps recruiting Louisiana,” said Dale.
Dale can make his commitment official on national signing day February 4.
He says he is solid with his commitment and plans to do just that.
“Right now I’m pretty much done,” he said.