By: Logan Newman, USA TODAY High School Sports | October 9, 2018
Perhaps the final high school event of four-star senior OLB Derick Hall’s playing career will be the Under Armour All-American Game on Jan. 3, 2018.
He wouldn’t have it any other way.
“That’s a long-time dream that I’ve been thinking about,” Hall said. “You know, just sitting around watching the game when I was younger, and now being a part of that brotherhood is just awesome.”
He’s joining an elite fraternity of some of the best football players in the game.
“Seeing guys like Cam Newton, guys like that that I knew were heavily recruited and then committed to a big time school, football’s what I’ve been doing my whole life so I always wanted to be one of those guys,” Hall said.
It will likely be Hall’s last game as a student at Gulfport High School (Miss.). He plans to graduate early and start college in what would have been his final semester in high school.
He’s visited three schools so far: Auburn, Mississippi State and Florida State. Like Newton in 2010, Hall is leaning toward Auburn.
“Coach (Gus) Malzahn, he and I probably have the best relationship as a head coach from any college that’s recruited me. We talk daily,” Hall said. “Knowing that he has long-term stability there, he just signed a deal … just the fact that there’s stability and the character and feeling like a good place for him to be.”
He’s still uncertain, though, and hasn’t set a date for his official announcement.
In the meantime, Hall will get to enjoy the final few months of high school.
At the Under Armour All-American Game, he’ll see friends from other Mississppi schools and is excited to play against the best.
Hall, recruited as an OLB, has 51 tackles, three sacks and three tackles for loss this season. But he’s also played a handful of snaps on the offensive side of the ball over the last two seasons, catching nine passes and getting three carries.
New college and NFL tackling rules apply to two-way players in different ways, but Hall said they don’t affect him much. Plus, he likes the rules and the safety they bring.
He’s seen it in action as he participated in drills during his visit to Florida State.
Hall doesn’t think it changes the way he plays.
“(On offense), I’m going to still be aggressive, I’m going to still be me,” He said. “Defensive-wise, I’m going to just be that dog and get to the ball.”
The Under Armour All-America Game is scheduled for Jan. 3 at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. and will be televised live on ESPN2 at 6 p.m. EST.