From walk-on to captain, Hall has remarkable rise at Idaho
“He told me, ‘You have to outwork everybody. You have to be first in everything. You have to showcase yourself,’” Hall told me. “It’s tough coming out of Alaska because there’s not too many coaches coming up there to scout players.”
Hall, of Eagle River High fame, has seized his opportunity with the FCS program and has emerged as one of the premier linebackers for the Vandals.
His teammates recently voted him a team captain.
“It was always something I wanted to have. I think I kind of willed it to happen,” Hall said of his new leadership role.
“Leadership basically means the team is looking to you for that effort, that vocal leadership and everything that comes with it. Your effort has to be tip-top, so when they are tired they can look to you. It means you have to strive for perfection. You can’t have an off day. You can’t have a down day. You have to come out every day and work your butt off, so all the younger guys can look up to you and see how to do it.”
The 6-foot, 214-pounder turned in a career year last season when he posted personal bests in tackles (78), pass deflections (3) and interceptions (3). Hall earned honorable mention all-conference honors.
Making plays, he said, is a product of football intelligence.
“We call it FBI around here,” Hall said. “Definitely your vision on the field, that puts you in the right place to make the tackles. If you don’t have that first part down you will never be in the right place to make the tackle.”
Hall just laughed when asked how much he has improved since arriving at Idaho.
“Strides and strides,” he said. “When I came out of high school, I was motivated but technique wise, I was pretty low on the pyramid. I didn’t even know about the game, really. My football intelligence was pretty low. I didn’t know what to look for. I didn’t know where to put my eyes.”
He used to run to where he thought the ball was going to be.
“Now I know how to sit on every play,” he said. “I know what to look at and what to look for.”
Hall credits Idaho coaches for teaching him the right way to play through individual workouts, video sessions and game-like simulations.
“I’ve had plenty of great coaches along the way,” he said. “I have picked up something along the way from all of them.”
In 37 career games with Idaho, Hall has accounted for 178 tackles, including 24 for loss, three forced fumbles and 1.5 sacks.
Not bad for a former walk-on from Alaska.
“Everything has pretty much worked out according to plan, maybe even better, both athletically and academically,” Hall said. “I’m pretty happy I came to Idaho. I’m happy with what’s come out of it.”
And he’s not finished. He wants to end his career with a bang.
“Our goal is to win the conference championship, make the playoffs and win the national championship,” Hall said. “We are aiming high. We are ready to go and motivated.”