By Ray Hamill — Senior linebacker Justin Hagler has been turning some heads this season, leading the way on a St. Bernard’s defense that has impressed through the opening four games.
This week, Hagler received his first Division-I college offer, with Wyoming extending a preferred walk-on.
And St. Bernard’s head coach Matt Tomlin expects this to be just the beginning for the Crusaders star who has been sensational this season.
“I do think when people see how good he’s been playing this year at linebacker, he’ll get more offers,” the head coach said.
Hagler wants to play D-I football and certainly has the tools and talents to do so.
This year, despite carrying a lingering injury into the first couple of games, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound senior has been outstanding on both sides of the ball and has developed into one of the team’s top playmakers.
“He’s our defensive star, our defensive captain,” Tomlin said. “What he does on the defensive side of the ball at linebacker is exceptional. He knows what the other team is trying to do, he’s physical and he makes plays.”
He’s also been clutch on offense, coming up numerous big catches at receiver against Arcata 10 days ago.
But it’s on defense that Hagler sees his future.
“Offensively, he’s a big playmaker for us, but his future is at linebacker,” Tomlin said.
As a preferred walk-on, Hagler is guaranteed a spot on the Cowboys roster, where he can earn a scholarship as a freshman.
“It doesn’t surprise me at all. He’s worked probably harder than anybody in the offseason,” Tomlin added.
The Crusaders are off to a 4-0 start and will try to make it five straight at Ferndale on Saturday.
They are coming off a 43-41 win over a physical and far bigger La Salle team in Oregon this past weekend.