Canton GlenOak (Ohio) is one of the top programs in Ohio, sending numerous players to Division-I colleges over the years. Names like Brian Hartline (Ohio State), Mike Hartline (Kentucky), Ryan Palmer (Illinois) and Brandon Long (Michigan State) are all graduates of the school.
It appears sophomore safety DeShawn Hall, 6-foot-2, 195-pounds, is ready to follow in the footsteps of those mentioned above after a productive season for the Golden Eagles in 2009.
"I had a good season this year and things went really well," Hall said. "I didn't expect to be a starter going into this season, because we had a strong team coming back, but the coaches had confidence in me and they believed I could do the job at safety."
The highlight of Hall's season was returning two interceptions for touchdowns in the Golden Eagle's 40-21 playoff win over Wadsworth.
"On those interceptions, I just did what my coaches taught me to do," he stated. "I stayed in position, and read my keys, and found the football in the air. I never played junior-varsity football, and it was a big jump to playing varsity at this school. The game was so much faster and far more intense than anything I had seen before. As the season went on I became more comfortable in our system, and I became a better player."
He is acutely aware of what he needs to work on to be an elite football player, so much so that he has given up basketball to concentrate on improving his skill level for next season.
"I'm in the weight room right now looking to get stronger for next year," Hall stated. "I want to improve my speed too, but I'm not sure if I'm going to be a part of the track team, or work on that on my own. I see myself as a free safety at the college level some day. My greatest strength is my coverage ability, and I know a lot of schools are looking for bigger safety's that can also cover wide receivers, not just tight ends and running backs."
Hall is hearing from college recruiters already, as Golden Eagle head coach Scott Garcia reported that several colleges have inquired about his young star.
"I've already heard from Ohio University, Pittsburgh and Ohio State," Hall reported. "I'm interested in Ohio U. because they play great football and I know they are a top school academically. Ohio State invited me down for Rose Bowl practice, but I wasn't able to make that earlier, and now we are in a dead period for recruiting, so we can't go this week."
"I visited Pitt for their game against West Virginia and I really like Pitt a lot," he admitted. "I could see myself fitting in with their defense and the way they run their schemes. I loved being there for that game, even though they lost at the end. I didn't get a chance to talk with the coaches too much after the game because they were pretty disappointed in losing that game. That didn't bother me at all because I like coaches that love to win, and I can relate to that."
EVALUATION: Hall has a chance to be one of the top safety prospects in the 2012 class, along with Sylvania Southview's Allen Gant. Hall might be the best safety prospect to come out of Stark County since Mike Doss (Ohio State an NFL star). His combination of size and coverage ability will make him a heavily recruited prospect.