By Tim Whelan Jr., USA TODAY High School Sports | September 19, 2017 4:30 pm ET
Last year, Jalen Hall and Matt Corral were in different southern California worlds. Hall was having a standout junior season at wide receiver for Hawkins (Los Angeles) while Corral was throwing for over 3,000 yards at Oaks Christian (Westlake, Calif.).
Now, as high school seniors, the two are Long Beach (Calif.) Poly teammates. On Tuesday, each player received his U.S. Army All-American jersey as part of the Army All-American Selection Tour Presented by American Family Insurance.
“It’s great to be in this position, to have this opportunity,” said Hall, who is ranked as the No. 5 wide receiver and the No. 24 player overall in the class of 2018 according to the 247 Sports Composite. “I’ve had teammates in the past that were able to go to this, and to experience something so great, it’s tremendous to get this chance. Growing up in L.A., growing up with a lot of tough experiences, to be in this position is great. Most people from where I’m from don’t get a chance like this.”
Corral, meanwhile, is rated as the No. 3 pro-style quarterback and the No. 32 player overall in the 2018 class by the 247 Sports Composite. In July, he committed to play at Florida.
His personal connection makes Tuesday’s honor that much more special.
“My brother (David) is in Syria right now, serving in the Marines,” Corral said. “Being able to give back to the military, to give back and do what I love, it’s a great deal. It makes you want to put on a show. And getting to do it while playing against the best of the best, to showcase your talent, it’s an honor.”
A five-star recruit, Hall is still weighing his college options from the 41 offers (per 247 Sports) he has received. He has unofficial visits coming up to Nebraska and UCLA, as well as a trip to LSU for the Auburn game Oct. 14.
Last year, Hall caught 50 passes for 1,164 yards and 11 touchdowns. Now, after transferring in April, the 6-foot-4, 192-pound receiver has one of the country’s top signal-caller’s throwing him the ball.
“I never thought about playing with Matt before,” Hall said, “but to have a great quarterback like Matt, who’s a great person on and off the field. It adds something special.”
The feeling goes the other way, as well. And while the 6-foot-2, 196-pound Corral knows that w QB/WR on-field relationship only gets better with reps, it’s nice to have a five-star target in the receiving end of your spirals.
“It’s ridiculous to have a player and guy like that,” said Corral, who threw for 3,188 yards and 25 touchdowns last year at Oaks Christian before transferring to Poly in February. “I’ve been cool with Jalen, just saying ‘What’s up’ to each other at camps. But I’ve gotten to know him more, and the kid’s like my brother now.”
Could Hall perhaps join Corral in Gainesville next year?
“I think there’s a high chance we’ll be going to college together,” Corral said.
Stay tuned. The Army All-American Bowl is scheduled for Jan. 6 in San Antonio and will be televised by NBC (1 p.m. ET.).