Finding the right fit for your college football program isn't just about what happens on the field, but off it as well. Today, Ohio State added a key piece. How will that commitment impact the Buckeyes?
We take a look at what Hall brings to Ohio State on and off the field.
On the Field
In the 2020 class, Buckeye signees Darrion Henry-Young and Jacolbe Cowan are two who have the versatility to line up inside as a 3-technique but could also play on the edge as defensive ends.
That won’t be the case with Hall. The 6-foot-3, 290-pound junior will be exclusively a defensive tackle at the next level.
Hall often stands too straight up coming off the ball and while he has showcased an explosive get-off at the snap, it’s not consistent yet.
So that’s where we have to remember he’s only a junior in high school.
Putting him in the hands of Larry Johnson, as it is with any defensive lineman who comes to Ohio State, could do wonders for Hall because of the strong traits he does have.
He should translate into a great run-stopper with proper development because of the impressive upper and lower body strength he already has, his length, ability to read offensive linemen, get inside of the O-lineman’s inside foot to shoot gaps and his adept ability to meet a ball carrier and finish the tackle with the proper form.
Many scouts and coaches in the state think very highly of Hall, and under Johnson he’ll have the chance to prove those people right. But first, he has a chance to improve further during this offseason and his senior campaign.
Off the field
Hall entered his junior season at Streetsboro as a three-star prospect and without his dream offer from Ohio State.
So, he asked the Buckeye coaching staff what he needed to do to earn an offer, and they told him the amount of effort it would take.
Hall put in that work, and it was enough to earn a committable offer. It was also enough to rise up the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Despite an explosive summer, Hall was still a three-star prospect when Day offered him. But on Nov. 21, Hall was bumped up a star rating, moving into the No. 10 spot among Ohio's 2021 recruits and the No. 23 defensive tackle in the nation.
In September, Hall was coming off a visit for the Miami (Ohio) game and told us that he was grinding to earn that star bump, and he certainly needs to be commended for accomplishing that feat.
“What I need to improve on the most to become a four-star is using better technique and using my hands more,” Hall said at the time. “I feel as if I touch up on those two, it’s going to be a very long day for the O-line that I’m going up against, and it makes me less predictable.”
It may have been a nonconference game against a MAC opponent, but Hall fell in love with that game-day atmosphere, getting chills and goosebumps as he walked through the tunnel, picturing himself with scarlet and gray shoulder pads draped around him and a helmet drowned in the famed Buckeye leaf pride stickers on his head.
"It’s a long tunnel so you’re just getting your mind ready, and whatever problems you have just go away," Hall said. "Everything just goes away, and you think about what’s going on right then. And then you get out of the tunnel and see all those lights, and it’s like, dang, I’m not actually playing right now. But it feels like you’re about to when you go down that tunnel, and then you have to come back to reality.
"You see a couple guys while you’re walking down like Justin Fields and Chase Young, and you see coach Day waving to you up there. Honestly, I just look at the guys and I'm like, 'Dang, this could be me in not too long.'"
One day, it really will be him walking out in that uniform. Now it’s just a matter of playing the waiting game until he signs.
In the class
I’ve talked almost endlessly about the Buckeyes’ top needs in this class are running back, cornerback and defensive end (in that order).
Right behind those needs are defensive tackle and offensive line.
Hall gives the Buckeyes a good start at DT, and bringing in a player whom many believe is the state of Ohio’s best at the position only furthers Ryan Day’s top recruiting priority of recruiting with an inside-out approach.
The importance of locking down the Buckeye State has been something Day has talked about multiple times during his first season in charge, and Hall is the sixth in-state player in the junior class to commit to Ohio State. He joins Jack Sawyer, Ben Christman, Jayden Ballard, Reid Carrico and Jaylen Johnson.
And that slim lead over Clemson for the No. 1-ranked overall 2021 class in the country, one that we talked about on Friday, has been extended a bit further. They also increased their lead over Wisconsin for the top class in the Big Ten, one that already feels insurmountable even in February.
As for where Ohio State goes from here along the defensive line, five-star J.T. Tuimoloau is the top target at defensive tackle, and the Buckeyes have a litany of top targets at defensive end, including Tunmise Adeleye, Landon Jackson and Demeioun Robinson.