Vidal Hazelton
Hazelton after a 2008 USC fall practice
Free agent
Position:Wide receiver
Personal information
Born: (1988-01-29) January 29, 1988 (age 33)
New York, New York
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:212 lb (96 kg)
Career information
High school:Staten Island (NY) Moore
College:Cincinnati
Undrafted:2011
Career history
 * Offseason and/or practice squad member only
Career NFL statistics
Career CFL statistics
Receptions:139
Receiving yards:1,724
Yards per reception:12.4
Receiving touchdowns:13
Player stats at NFL.com · CFL.ca

Vidal Hazelton (born January 29, 1988) is a Canadian football wide receiver who is currently a free agent. He was signed by the San Diego Chargers as an undrafted free agent in 2011. He played college football at Cincinnati. He formerly played for the University of Southern California (USC) football team.[1]

Early years

As a junior in 2005 at Moore Catholic High School in Staten Island (N.Y.), he caught 39 passes for 784 yards (20.1 avg.) with 17 TDs, ran for 240 yards with 4 scores and posted 38 tackles, 3 sacks and 2 interceptions for TDs. He eventually transferred to Hargrave Military Academy his senior year, where he had 41 receptions for 942 yards (23.0 avg.) with 13 TDs in 2005. Hazelton was invited to play in the 2006 U.S. Army All-American Bowl, a national all-star game for the best high school football players in the country.

Collegiate career

USC

Hazelton arrived at USC as one of the nation's best players and one of USC's biggest pickups of the recruiting season. Hazelton saw time in only two games his freshman season, as the Trojans ended up going 11–2 and winning the 2007 Rose Bowl against Michigan 32–18. Hazelton played backup to Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith, two of the best receivers in the nation, and only accumulated one catch for eight yards. He also had a run for seven yards.

Hazelton was expected to start the 2007 season for the Trojans, along with junior Patrick Turner, and in spring practice Hazelton impressed observers.[2] He entered fall camp as the top starting flanker on the depth chart.[3] Vidal made an outstanding one handed touchdown catch against Idaho in USC's first game of the year.[4] He finished the season as USC's leading wide receiver in 2007, catching 50 passes and scored four touchdowns.[1]

Hazelton's 2008 season with USC was not as successful. After catching five passes, he suffered a high ankle sprain in the season opener against Virginia. Once he recovered he found himself unable to climb back into the starting line-up. The arrival and rise of Arkansas-transfer Damian Williams, along with continued production by senior Patrick Turner and sophomore Ronald Johnson, pushed Hazelton into the role of a seldom used reserve. Further complicating matters, Hazelton's grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, and he desired to be geographically closer to him. On December 2, 2008, Hazelton asked for and was granted permission to transfer to another school.[1] After leaving, Hazelton noted "USC is a great place. It's filled up with athletes. If somebody's not 100 percent they've got to pass them up. I would have done the same thing if I was the coaches at USC."[5] Although Hazelton was from New York, he lived most recently with his grandfather in Georgia.[6] By mid-January, Hazelton was leaning towards Cincinnati.[5][7]

Professional career

Cincinnati Bengals

After going undrafted in the 2011 NFL Draft, Hazelton was signed by the San Diego Chargers on July 26, 2011. He was waived by San Diego on August 30. He later signed with the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad on December 27, 2011. He was waived by the Cincinnati Bengals on August 31, 2012.

Tennessee Titans

Hazelton signed with the Tennessee Titans practice squad September 3, 2012.

New York Jets

The New York Jets signed Hazelton to a reserve/future contract on January 23, 2013.[8] He was waived on August 7, 2013 after suffering an undisclosed leg injury.[9] Hazelton was placed on the team's injured reserve list on August 8, 2013.[10]

Toronto Argonauts

Hazelton signed with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League on Wednesday, March 18, 2015.[11] In his first year in the CFL Hazelton played in 16 games for the Argos, and was suspended by the team for one game for accumulating too many objectionable conduct penalties.[12] Hazelton contributed 70 pass receptions for 803 yards with 6 touchdowns in his rookie season. He was named the runner up for the CFL Rookie of the Year award for 2015, being edged out but wide receiver Derel Walker.[13]

Hazleton began the 2016 CFL season as one of the Argo's primary wide receivers, and was the first Argonaut to score a touchdown at their new home stadium BMO Field.[14] Hazleton played in 8 of the Argos first 14 games, missing 6 due to injury. Following a Week 15 loss the Argos front office decided to release four of their wide receivers on the same day including Vidal Hazelton.[15] Reports out of the locker room suggest the four wide receivers were not committed to the Argos and had been a source of division in the locker room for some time.[16] In 8 games for the Argos Hazleton caught 27 passes for 361 yards with 3 touchdowns.

Edmonton Eskimos

Hazleton signed with the Edmonton Eskimos (CFL) on October 18, 2016.[17] He did not make an appearance for the Eskimos during the 2016 season. On January 16, 2017, Hazleton was re-signed by the Eskimos.[18] In his first full season in Edmonton Hazelton caught 55 passes for 709 yards with four touchdowns (he caught eight passes for 125 yards in the team's two playoff games). On February 5, 2018, Hazleton was re-signed by the Eskimos to a one-year deal, the same day the team released veteran receiver Adarius Bowman.[19]

References

  1. ^ a b c Gary Klein, Vidal Hazelton to transfer from USC, Los Angeles Times, December 3, 2008, Accessed December 3, 2008.
  2. ^ Gary Klein, Booty is in his comfort zone[dead link], Los Angeles Times, March 28, 2007.
  3. ^ Gary Klein, USC's Spanos makes grade on the field[dead link], Los Angeles Times, April 14, 2007.
  4. ^ http://blog.silive.com/sportsspotlight/2007/09/hazelton_catches_on_in_college.html
  5. ^ a b Bill Koch, 'High on Cincinnati', The Cincinnati Enquirer, January 15, 2009, Accessed January 15, 2009.
  6. ^ Brian Matthews, Hazelton In Depth on Transfer Archived December 5, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, WeAreSC.com, December 2, 2008, Accessed December 3, 2008.
  7. ^ Sources: Hazelton transferring to Cincy. Retrieved on 2009-01-14.
  8. ^ "Vidal Hazelton". Rotoworld. 23 January 2013. Archived from the original on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
  9. ^ Fensom, Michael (7 August 2013). "Jets release Vidal Hazelton". The Star-Ledger. Archived from the original on 7 August 2013. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  10. ^ "Transactions". National Football League. Archived from the original on 12 May 2014. Retrieved 10 August 2013.
  11. ^ "Hazelton signing adds to Argos' receiver competition". CFL. CFL.ca Staff.
  12. ^ "Vidal Hazelton rides pine for Argonauts in crucial game against Redblacks | Toronto Star". thestar.com. Retrieved 2016-06-24.
  13. ^ "Best in Class: Ottawa shines at Shaw CFL Awards". CFL.ca. 2015-11-26. Retrieved 2016-06-24.
  14. ^ "2016-06-23 – Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs. Toronto Argonauts (2276) – CFL.ca". CFL.ca. Retrieved 2016-06-24.
  15. ^ "Argos cut WRs Gurley, Hazelton and Elliott in roster shake-up". 2016-10-03. Retrieved 2016-10-04.
  16. ^ "Argos cut loose receivers". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 2016-10-04.
  17. ^ "Esks sign former Argo WR Hazelton". TSN. 2016-10-18. Retrieved 2016-10-19.
  18. ^ "Eskimos re-sign WR Hazelton – Article – TSN". TSN. 2017-01-16. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  19. ^ "Eskimos release Bowman; ink Hazelton to extension – CFL.ca". CFL.ca. 2018-02-05. Retrieved 2018-02-05.