When Louisville (Ohio) offensive tackle Alex Hall scheduled his first visit to the University of Maryland May 28, he had an inkling he’d be leaving College Park, Md., with his college destination all wrapped up. After all, Terps’ area recruiter Greg Studrawa and Co. were the first -- and only -- school to offer the under-the-radar 6-foot-6, 275-pounder, and Hall wasn’t about to let the opportunity fall by the wayside.
Thus, Hall and his family took the 6.5-hour drive down from Ohio May 27, and let UMD head coach Randy Edsall know May 28 they wanted to be Maryland Terrapins.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to play Big Ten football, to play Division I football,” said Hall, who earned his UMD offer earlier in May and had looks from Toledo, Akron and other MAC schools. “So when I got the offer and started talking to Coach Studrawa, I just had a feeling Maryland was going to be my school. So we came down, and I thought, if this goes well, why wait? And, really, it was just great all around. It’s such a great opportunity at Maryland and I’m looking forward to joining the program.
“My mom and dad are really excited for me, and they think it’s a great school. Even though I’ll be six hours from home, they think Maryland will give me everything I need and take care of me.”
All it took was a handshake with Edsall around 3:30 p.m. May 28 to make the pledge official.
“Coach Edsall welcomed me in, and I told him I was honored to be a Terp,” Hall said. “But when I told Coach Edsall I was ready to commit, he said I’d be greyshirting, so I’d come in, but won’t be there the first season with [the rest of the 2016 class]. But that next spring I’d come in and be part of the team. I was OK with that, and I told Coach Edsall I was on board. It’s just a great, great opportunity and I thanked him for giving it to me,”
Hall said he and his mother and father stayed at a College Park Best Western May 27 and arrived on campus around 9 a.m. May 28. For the next six-plus hours, the Halls were treated to a campus tour, a meeting with academic advisors, a video of the history of Maryland, a video of the new facility upgrades, meetings with Studrawa and Edsall and more.
“I just loved everything about Maryland,” Hall said. “I really liked the preview of the new facilities; they look great with the new indoor fields and all that. And just going around campus with Coach Stud, I mean, it was a beautiful setup, and it was even better because it was such a beautiful day. It was really enjoyable, and we had a lot of fun.”
Hall said his interactions with Studrawa all but convinced him UMD should be his home the next four-plus years. He said the two have a budding rapport that was further strengthened during his foray through College Park May 28. Moreover, both Hall’s parents took to the offensive line coach as well.
“I love that guy, I love his personality,” Hall said. “I really think he’s going to help me develop, and I couldn’t think of anyone who could help me more then him. I’ve heard so many great things about him and what he’s been able to do at LSU and at Maryland now. He really likes to focus on the individual and helps each player in his own way. The way he trains you, he gets it down and makes sure you understand what’s going on. And he also makes sure you’re getting done in the classroom and the weight room, so he cares about getting everything out of you. He’s a great guy, but when it comes down to getting things done, he’s business.”
The Louisville product went on to describe the position meeting he had with Studrawa.
“Coach Stud said I’m the kind of lineman he’s looking for. He said I obviously need to work hard in the weight room, which is why I’m greyshirting, but I’m going to fit in there just fine,” Hall said. “We went over some technique things, watched some video, and he was showing me how Maryland’s line works and how I’d fit in. They see me as an offensive tackle there, someone who can contribute there after I improve in the weight room. It was a very honest, straightforward conversation, and I appreciated that.”
Studrawa wasn’t the only coach who resonated with Hall and Co. Edsall apparently left quite an impression as well. An honors student, Hall said academics were foremost in his and his parents’ mind, so Edsall’s education-first pitch hit home.
“The things Coach Edsall, and the rest of the staff, were saying about classroom work and getting your education, I mean, you just don’t hear that anywhere else. I’ve been to a few different schools and you just don’t hear that,” Hall said. “Coach Edsall thinks academics are so important, and he wants to make sure you have a life after football. My parents really liked that a lot, how important education is to him.
“And Coach Edsall cares about his players so much. He said he has his own family, and then his football family, and that meant a lot to me. It was really cool to hear him say that, how much he honestly cares.”
Speaking of academics, Hall said he wants to major in biology and become a surgeon’s assistant one day. He said Maryland’s biology program was “very impressive,” and the academic advisors did a good job explaining the major and how his schedule would work with football responsibilities.
Of course, there were certain aesthetic qualities that caught Hall’s eye as well.
“I loved the Under Armour gear and the jerseys. Those were just awesome,” Hall said. “And being near Washington, D.C., I love how that’s just a few miles away. There’s so much to do on campus and off campus at Maryland. It should be great.”
Add it all up, and it was an easy choice for Hall to make. He said he can’t wait to sign with Maryland and join the Movement in College Park.
“I think I can definitely help Maryland in the future. I’ve always been told my feet are above average and I’m quicker than a lot of linemen out there,” Hall said. “I move around pretty well and can get after it. I do need to work in the weight room and become more physical, but I’m committed to that this year. I’m committed to doing whatever it takes to get better.”
Hall started playing football in the fifth grade and has always been a lineman. He said he lined up at both defensive end and offensive tackle all the way until last year, his first season on varsity. Hall said he performed “pretty well” during the 2015 campaign and figured he’d draw his share of offers during the winter and spring, but none materialized until Maryland’s.
“Toledo, Akron, some of the other schools around me, they showed interest but I have no idea why they didn’t offer,” Hall said. “But all it takes is one, and Maryland saw something in me. So I’m thankful for that and now I’m going to work to show them they made the right decision.”
Hall 'Honored' To Be A Terp
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