Bryce Hall: Two-star to NFL draft first round?

Bryce HallIf you’re a UVA alum, a UVA football fan, Bryce Hall is a kid that you’re proud to say represents you on the football field, and in life.

Hall was a two-star recruit coming out of high school in Harrisburg, Pa. Three years later, the junior cornerback’s name is showing up on NFL mock drafts for 2019 as a first-round pick.

I mention this to him in a short interview on Friday in Charlotte ahead of the Cavaliers’ appearance in the Belk Bowl, and his response is humble.

“It’s crazy, right?” Hall said, unlike you’d expect from a kid who could be in line to earning millions a few months hence.

Augusta Free Press coverage of the 2018 Belk Bowl is presented by Bear Creek. AFP’s coverage is also sponsored by Studio 3•6 on East Market Street in Charlottesville.

Talking to him for a few minutes, you can still see the kid that was ranked the 202nd best cornerback in the Class of 2016 by 247Sports, that one profile written about his signing noted how he would need to take a redshirt year at UVA to bulk up to have any impact on the field in the ACC.

Hall actually ended up playing in all 12 games at UVA as a true freshman, with seven starts, and was named to the Freshman All-ACC team by Athlon.

He started all 13 games in his sophomore season in 2017, and was named first-team All-ACC as a junior in 2018.

He did bulk up, slightly – he played at 195 in high school, and is now listed at 200, so, so much for the recruiting profiles.

Hall grew into – worked himself into – being an NFL prospect in his time in Charlottesville.

“Honestly, when I was getting recruited in high school, Virginia was the best school, the best option for me. So, I was fortunate to be able to come here, so I was grateful to be a part of this program,” Hall said.

Hall attributes coach Bronco Mendenhall and his staff for getting him to where he is now as a football player.

“I was blessed to have these coaches come in when they did,” Hall said. “I knew these coaches, when they came in, they had high aspirations, they wanted to do big things here, and that aligns with how I think. My mindset is, anything I do, I want to be the best I can possibly be at it. It’s cool to see how their vision, even my vision, has just come together, how they have aligned, how much work has been put in, and seeing it prosper each year, and us improving and getting better.”

About the NFL thing? I didn’t ask him point-blank what his thinking is on his future.

My take has been, since seeing Anthony Poindexter return for his senior season in the 1990s after being a projected first-round pick, then tearing his knee late in that senior season, and getting just a few games as a special-teamer in the NFL: kid, if they want you, go, because you don’t know what might happen.

Here’s Hall, answering a question from me on what it’s like to be in his position:

“It’s a blessing, first and foremost, just how God has been working and doing things in my life,” Hall said. “I’ve just been preparing myself, being faithful in the little things that I’ve been trusted with, my gifts and talents, trying to refine them, work on them, work on them. To see how I’ve been put into this opportunity, having a platform, having been raised in this kind of situation, all I can say is, it’s really a blessing, a tribute to being faithful in the little things.”

I told you that you’d be proud to call him a ‘Hoo.

Column and interview by Chris Graham

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