High School Sports

Gulfport recruit talks ‘shocking’ offers from Mississippi State, Ole Miss

Gulfport linebacker Derick Hall hits George County running back Adonnis Dickey during the first quarter of their Port City Bowl Classic game at Milner Stadium on Gulfport on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Hall earned an offer from Mississippi State on Thursday.
Gulfport linebacker Derick Hall hits George County running back Adonnis Dickey during the first quarter of their Port City Bowl Classic game at Milner Stadium on Gulfport on Friday, Aug. 18, 2017. Hall earned an offer from Mississippi State on Thursday. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com file

Recruiting is beginning to heat up for Derick Hall.

The Gulfport standout picked up his first offer from Ole Miss late last month. Then Thursday he landed his second big offer, this time from Mississippi State.

Hall said he’s been humbled by all of the attention he has received from recruiters, saying both offers were surprises — but probably for different reasons.

With all of the coaching turnover at Mississippi State, Hall was unsure if his direct recruiter and Pascagoula product Terrell Buckely would remain on new coach Joe Moorhead’s staff. After weathering a quiet phase with the MSU recruiter, Hall said Buckely offered him yesterday.

“I was expecting it but then again it was a shock because they haven’t been talking to me for a minute,” he said. “I never thought an offer was going to come.”

Hall said Buckley talked to Bob Shoop and relayed that the new MSU defensive coordinator loved what he saw on film of Hall.

Hall should be familiar with MSU, he visited for both the Alabama and UMass games and came away impressed.

“Oh wow. Spectacular,” he said of Starkville. “Great atmosphere and people.

“It’s a very welcoming place.”

If the MSU offer was a surprise, Hall’s Ole Miss offer on Dec. 28 was a complete stunner.

Hall said he was hanging out at home when Ole Miss assistant coach reached out on Twitter. He said he had talked to new Ole Miss coach Matt Luke — who’s also a Gulfport High product —and the Rebels wanted to extend Hall his first football offer.

“That one really popped up on me,” Hall said. “Huge surprise. I couldn’t believe it at first.”

After they hung up, Hall said he sat in his room, stunned.

“I just sat there,” he said. “I said to myself, ‘Did this really just happen?’ It was such a shock.”

Hall won’t rush any decisions. The junior was originally planning to visit Oxford this weekend but can’t make the trip due to the Admirals’ game against Bay on Saturday in the annual Panther Classic — and as it turns out inclement weather canceled the Rebels’ junior day.

While that visit will be rescheduled, Hall will visit Vanderbilt (March 17) and MSU (Feb. 17) for their respective junior days. He said Army, Louisiana-Lafayette and Southern Miss have all shown interest as well, but no offers or visits have been finalized just yet.

“I’m going to wait it out (to commit),” Hall said. “Me and my family talked about it and the earliest we’ll make a decision is after the spring.”

Defense wins

The 6-foot-5, 210-pound Hall played on both sides of the ball for Gulfport as a junior this season and finished the year with eight receptions for 132 yards and three touchdowns in addition to 34 tackles, five tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, six quarterback hurries, four passes defended and one 35-yard fumble return for a touchdown.

He said both MSU and Ole Miss view him as an outside linebacker — which is fine with him.

“Defense wins championships. That’s my side of the ball,” he said. “There’s just something about playing on defense. It gets the momentum and I love the physicality you have to have to play on defense.”

Hall is also a standout basketball player and holds an offer from Xavier, although it appears his athletic future will be on the gridiron. Earlier in the week he was averaging 12.8 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game for the Admirals.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

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