WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In a Washington Catholic Athletic Conference showdown, visiting St. John’s knocked off Archbishop Carroll, 10-6, Oct. 17. TT was on hand to scout the numerous Division I recruits and Terps’ targets participating, including four-star St. John’s defensive end Terrell Hall, who ended up with nine tackles; four tackles for loss; and a sack.
Our take on his game is below, while an interview can be seen above:
Terrell Hall may have the highest upside of any class of 2016 DMV recruit. The 6-foot-5.5, 255-pounder looks, and plays, the part of a potentially elite defensive end at the FBS level.
Physically, Hall has a long, thick, muscle-strewn frame with a developed upper-body and base. He possesses pole-length arms and mitt-sized hands, aiding him when disengaging or corralling running backs.
Hall’s most marketable qualities, other than his size, are his initial burst; his explosiveness; and his all-around athleticism. Whether he’s rushing the passer or pursuing laterally, those three traits allow him to regularly finish plays.
As a 5-technique edge rusher, Hall reacts instantaneously at the snap, firing out of his stance and immediately thrusting his arms under the offensive tackle’s pads. He comes off low and hard, routinely gaining leverage despite his long frame (many taller defensive ends stand straight up at the snap). Hall possesses strong, violent hands, which, combined with his leverage and potent point-of-attack power, help him disengage and push into the backfield.
Of course, sometimes Hall doesn’t even need to shed blocks. His first step is so quick many high school linemen can’t set up in time to properly engage. Hall shows the ability to get skinny, slice into small gaps between the guard and tackle, and then shoot through to disrupt passing lanes.
What’s even more impressive is how explosive Hall is after gaining that step advantage. He’s one of those zero-to-60 defenders who hits top speed in just a stride or two. It follows, then, that Hall practically lives in opposing backfields. As soon as he’s by the tackle, he’s in the quarterback’s face, forcing a throw-away or coming up with a sack.
Indeed, Hall knows how to finish with authority, readily plowing signal callers over. Like many fierce, top-level ends, Hall doesn’t merely wrap up when he meets the quarterback -- he runs right through them.
In terms of rush moves, Hall has several at his disposal, although he typically bull-rushes; gains extension; disengages; and then busts through the B-gap. But Hall can also deke outside before cutting inside, or feint inside; drop his shoulder; and then come around the tackle’s outside shoulder. He’s also deft enough and athletic enough where his momentum isn’t sapped when changing direction.
Speaking of athleticism, Hall has a basketball player’s vertical. When he’s unable to reach the quarterback, he often leaps up to bat passes away. Most of the time, he’s successful in doing so as it’s difficult for high school quarterbacks to throw overtop a 6-5.5 defensive end with a Kevin Durant-like wingspan.
When defending the run, Hall once again uses those long arms to his advantage. He’s able to corral runners in the gaps or reach out and bring them down before they hit the edge.
But, really, it’s Hall’s lateral pursuit that stands out most. He’s so swift and sudden he can usually motor down the line and beat runners trying to turn the corner. He’s able to force said running backs inside, funneling them to his linebackers. Naturally, Hall breaks down well and shows the ability to properly set the edge too. He also possesses enough quicks and closing speed to catch runners from behind, sometimes ranging across the field to do so.
In space, Hall’s nimble feet and loose hips aid him when changing direction. Quick-twitch backs often give high-school defenders problems, but Hall has the fast fibers and coordination to hang with them, mirroring/anticipating their moves.
And when Hall finally does close in for the tackle, he typically knocks his man backwards. Hall drops his hips, drives from his base and bulls backs over. When dealing with shiftier runners who can’t be angled up, he uses his long arms to catch them before they can juke by.
If that weren’t enough, Hall can defend the flats as well. His flexibility and agility help him when dropping back, the edge rusher flashing the ability to pick up an underneath tight end in coverage.
But while Hall has a potpourri of marketable qualities, there are some areas he needs to improve. In run defense, sometimes he fails to maintain lane integrity. He’ll overpursue once in awhile, making him susceptible to cutbacks. Also, Hall doesn’t always take tight closing angles; you might see a false step or two before he bee-lines in. It’s not especially noticeable in high school, but top-level college running backs can make defenders pay for one misstep.
Finally, you might see Hall get caught in the trash when running down the line. He has the length, active hands and power to actively disengage, but he doesn’t always use those to his advantage, resulting in blockers getting into his body.
As a pass rusher, it could behoove Hall to add even more moves to arsenal. Since he knows how to use his hands well, perhaps he could add a rip-and-go or a swim to pair with his feint techniques and bull-rush.