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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“Adam Hall bigger, faster … smarter”

As a 6-foot-4, 210-pound safety fresh out of high school, there truly wasn’t anything that Adam Hall couldn’t do on the field.

He had the speed (4.5-second 40-yard dash), the athleticism (38-inch vertical), and all-around skill to make an instant impact at Arizona.

The Tucson-native was a four-star recruit out of Palo Verde Magnet High School, and the No. 3 ranked player in the state. He garnered offers from top schools like Alabama, USC and Oregon, among others, and earned national attention as an All-American.

He excelled at running back, receiver and safety in high school, and tallied 38 total touchdowns as a senior.

As one of the most physically gifted freshman safeties in the country, Hall was poised to make a big splash in his first year at the collegiate ranks.

But the uber-confident Hall was missing one thing — the technique and mental aspect of the game.

He was used to being the best of the best at every level, and thrived off of his athleticism alone. But as the talent level rose, Hall needed to rely on his smarts and positioning — something that never developed and resulted in an underwhelming freshman campaign.

“”It was really humbling,”” Hall said of his freshman season. “”It wasn’t as much difficult as it was a learning experience.””

Hall quickly discovered that he was no longer the top dog that he was in high school, and as a result, has made huge strides both physically and mentally in preparation for the 2010 season.

“”I’m a lot bigger, faster,”” Hall said. “”I’m just more knowledgeable of what’s going on — formations, plays they’re going to run. I’ve been coached up a lot better since I’ve been here and I’m starting to realize things in front of me and kind of the bigger picture.””

He’s no longer thinking about the individual highlights, but rather how his skill set can be used to help the team. Hall has aimed at becoming more of a student of the game, and the coaching staff has noticed the transformation.

“”He made some progress in the spring and especially in the fall camp where he’s really shown up,”” said co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach Greg Brown.

If Hall continues to put it together mentally, he has a chance to become a mainstay at safety this season. Brown has made it clear that both safety positions are still up for grabs, and Hall’s physical nature and ability to play up in the box should be a huge asset on defense.

“”He’s a guy who’s going to stick his nose in there and he’s going to hit you,”” Brown said.

He’s added 15 pounds in the offseason, bringing his measurements to 6-foot-4, 225 pounds  — a ridiculous frame for a safety.

“”He’s blessed with ability. He’s a big kid that can hit and run,”” said Brown, who has 15 years of NFL coaching experience. “”That’s more of a rarity when you get a safety that’s actually 6-4, which he is. That becomes more and more rare.””

Brown, who joined the staff in January, has served as a mentor of sorts for Hall, helping the sophomore bring his talent full circle.

“”He’s taken me places that other coaches thought were possible but I didn’t really know exactly what I needed to do and how I needed to do it,”” Hall said of Brown. “”He’s worked with so many people and he’s been able to give me experience, not just on the field but off the field and guide me in the right direction.

“”Coach Stoops is on me the same way every day. It just helps to have two people that really know what they’re doing and progressing me in the right direction.””

As the light slowly comes on for the sophomore safety, his ability to contribute in 2010 becomes greater and greater.

He played mostly on special teams in 2009, and will continue to do so in 2010. But with the secondary still very much a revolving door, Hall has a shot to live up to the hype that followed him to Arizona.

“”I’m really looking forward to this year because I feel like last year helped me a lot,”” Hall said.

Brown made it clear that Hall is still young and riding the learning curve, but admitted that the Wildcats need him to “”grow up fast.””

With the added weight, speed and intelligence, Hall is on the right track to do exactly that. This is shaping up to be “”the year”” for Arizona, and after a humbling freshman season, those expectations pertain to Hall as well.

“”We’re really looking for big things, good things from Adam (Hall),”” Brown said.

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