High School Sports

Ole Miss is high on this Gulfport football star, but Georgia may quickly jump in the fray

From Florida State to Auburn, the big time offers are piling up for Gulfport linebacker Derick Hall.

If things fall into place, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound junior may soon receive a scholarship offer from the program he considers his “dream school.”

Hall is set to visit Georgia this weekend to check out the Athens campus.

He said Tuesday night that he was unsure if Georgia head coach Kirby Smart was close to extending him an offer.

“At the moment, I don’t really know,” Hall said. “Georgia is my dream school so I’d be ecstatic if they offered me.”

After visiting the house of a close friend whose family is die-hard Bulldog fans, Hall picked up his fascination with Georgia football.

“I’d go over and watch games and all that,” Hall said. “Then five years ago, I went to Ole Miss when they played Georgia. I’ve been a big Dawg fan ever since. My room is red and black.

“I looked at their high graduation rate and they have a very high academic standard there.”

Hall is a strong student who has a core GPA of 3.2. He hopes to studying engineering or mechanical engineering in college.

Even though Georgia came up just shy in overtime against Alabama in the national title game, Hall thoroughly enjoyed watching Georgia roll off a 13-2 season in 2017.

“Oh man, it was amazing,” he said. “I was actually going to go to the Rose Bowl, but I couldn’t because of an issue. They were a younger team and you saw how they grew. Kirby Smart made such an impact. That shows that he will push you, help me become a better person.”

A growing list

The most recent scholarship offer for Hall came on Tuesday when Memphis jumped on board, giving him 11 so far.

It all started back in late December when Hall received his first offer from Ole Miss.

“That first offer, I really didn’t think it was true when it first happened,” Hall said. “They contacted me on Twitter and they offered me later on that same day.

“Coach Freddie Roach said ‘Coach (Matt) Luke knows you, likes you.’ When I got home from (basketball) practice, I talked to them and Coach Roach said he wanted to offer me to play at Ole Miss. I was shocked. It was surreal. I never though my first offer would be from a big time school. It was a blessing.”

Mississippi State, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida State, Vanderbilt, Louisville, Kansas, Memphis, Southern Miss and Tennessee are among the other schools that have offered Hall.

Even when he picked up the first Ole Miss offer, he didn’t realize that the list would grow so long and impressive.

“At first, it was very surreal,” Hall said. “I couldn’t really face the fact that all this was happening to me. I don’t really think about it most of the time, but my family and I talk about it. We’ll come up on a decision. The plan is to graduate in December. I don’t discuss it with anybody else, just family.”

Following his ‘first love’

Hall, who visited Ole Miss last weekend, recently wrapped up his junior season on the basketball court, leading the team in scoring (12.5) and rebounds (8.9). During his junior campaign with the football team, he registered 34 tackles and 2 ½ sacks.

His weight dropped from 214 pounds to 208 during basketball season, but Hall plans to bulk up to 220 for his senior year of football.

Even though he shed a few pounds during basketball season, Hall is confident that the experience will help on the football field.

“It definitely helped me with my lateral quickness,” he said. “(Coach Owen Miller) is a good guy and he has a good staff. They help you get better. My quickness and leaping ability have improved.”

Hall is a standout on the basketball court, but he calls football his “first love.”

Alabama’s new co-defensive coordinator, Pete Golding, has also made contact with Hall, but they have yet to line up a date for him to make an official visit to Tuscaloosa.

Hall hasn’t set a goal date yet for a verbal commitment.

“We’ll figure it out, sit down and and weigh my options,” Hall said. “I don’t know what other schools will offer me, but I’ll just narrow it down and make the list shorter.”

Patrick Magee: 228-896-2333, @Patrick_Magee