Long Way From Home

It might not seem like a good way to spend 24 hours. It started at 10 p.m. Sunday when he got on an airplane in Southern California. After a redeye flight he was met in Tuscaloosa at 8:45 a.m. Monday. Met by heat and humidity, both in the 90s. The day was spent getting caught up on paperwork and ended with his head being shaved.

That was the early week for Prince Hall, an Alabama football linebacker signee from Moreno Valley, California.

And it didn't get a lot better Tuesday when the Bama football team began pre-season practice. "It didn't go so good," Hall said. "But I got through it. I'm really playing catch-up now. I'm way behind; a month behind the guys who came in for summer school. I'm really doing more watching."

Hall was unable to attend The University in the summer because he was not academically cleared in time.

Although Hall may not look as good as he did before he and his first-year teammates underwent the traditional ritual of having their heads shaved before the first practice, he looked good to Bama's coaching staff. Hall is one of the top signees of what is expected to be an outstanding freshman class.

Hall, 6-0, 255, was considered one of the top prospects in talent-rich California last year. As a linebacker he racked up 142 tackles, four sacks, four interceptions and two forced fumbles in his senior year. And some thought he was at least as good as a fullback, as he rushed for 1,052 yards and 12 touchdowns.

He said at Alabama he is strictly a defensive player "for now." He also said he needs to lose some weight, to get down to "235 or 240." He agreed that it probably wouldn't be hard in Alabama's humidity. "This is going to take some getting used to," he said.

He said the time change made sleep a little difficult his first night, but that he expected to be able to sleep just fine after his first day of practice.

Hall said he has a reasonable goal for his first year. "To play," he said. "I hope I can play on special teams and back up on defense."

Hall said he was aware of Alabama's football history and was "really surprised" to be recruited by the Tide's Coach Bob Connelly. "I was really surprised that a school so good would come out to California to recruit me. And I really liked the coaches."

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