Those glancing through Texas’ 2014 class may be quick to dismiss South Grand Prairie’s Jason Hall. After all, ESPN has him as only the 85th best safety in his class, and at the bottom of the list for Texas’ 2014 signees.
Despite being under the radar in his ratings, Hall began receiving significant interest in the spring of 2013, just a few months after his first season on varsity.
“I think Jason was a little surprised when he got his first offer, quite honestly, because he was under the radar,” said Brent Whitson, South Grand Prairie’s head coach. “He was a seven- or eight-game starter his junior year after playing junior varsity as a sophomore, so it all happened so fast for him.”
Hall’s first offer came in April 2013, and it’s a moment Whitson said he will always remember.
“I’ll never forget when I got to tell him the news that Nebraska offered him a scholarship,” Whitson said. “He gave me a big old hug, tears in his eyes, and here you saw that dream come true for him.”
Hall committed to Nebraska that May. But as his offer list grew larger to include Baylor, Oklahoma and Iowa, he became increasingly unsure of where he would end up. In June, Hall visited Texas’ mini-camp where he received an offer.
Hall decommitted from the Huskers in July and spent most of the month weighting his options. It wasn’t clear which school would land him until he made another trip to Austin for the ‘Texas Stampede” in late July. Hall seemed to fall in love with the city of Austin during the visit, and he made his commitment that weekend.
“Being around the football program and actually seeing the social life of Austin area was pretty good,” Hall said. “And I just loved it, and I said to myself, ‘This is something I want to be a part of.’”
Texas’ tumultuous 2013 campaign ended with the resignation of coach Mack Brown on Dec. 14, 2013, which, coincidently, was in the midst of Hall’s official Texas visit. Rumors swirled about Texas’ next coach, which may have put Hall’s future in Austin in jeopardy. But, when Texas hired head coach Charlie Strong, Hall didn’t waver on his commitment.
“I was a fan of Louisville and Florida in the [Sugar] Bowl game because I love both teams and how they played,” Hall said. “So, when I found out that coach Strong came to Texas, I was more committed than I was with Mack Brown.”
With Strong came a list of changes in the coaching staff, including bringing in former Texas All-Southwest defensive back Vance Bedford as defensive coordinator. Hall said it’s exciting to be able to learn from Bedford.
“It gives us that much more of an advantage,” Hall said. “He knows what expectations should be brought to the University of Texas, so we know not to settle for anything less than greatness.”
Whitson sees Hall as a football player who could make a difference early for the Longhorns, despite his low ratings.
“I think Jason is very undervalued,” Whitson said, “Because of his maturity, he is a developed, six-three-and-a-half, 195-pound kid that can run, [and] that’s why I think he can
contribute this fall.”
Regardless of his immediate impact, Hall provides Texas with needed depth at the safety position and could develop into a valuable player.