Vols Return To Virginia For Monster Mike LB

Size, speed and strength are essentials for a middle linebacker, but having a sixth sense attuned to where the ball is going is the element that separates the super run-stuffers from the simply good ones.

It's that precognitive capacity for the preemptive strike that distinguishes
Vince Hall a linebacker out of Western Branch High School in Chesapeake,
Va., who is ranked No. 10 at his position in the nation.

As physically impressive as Hall is at 6-1, 240 pounds with 4.6 speed and a
320-pound bench press, it's his knack for accurately predicting the point of
attack that has underscored his highly successful high school football
career. It was evident the first time he took the field as a 200-pound
freshman and graphically demonstrated when he defeated a double-team block
at the line of scrimmage and struck the tailback so forcefully that he
landed five yards deep in the backfield.

Exhibiting his innate anticipation comes a lot easier to Hall than
explaining it, but he knows what to call it and he regards it as his
greatest strength.

"I think my instincts are my greatest strength, the way I read the ball and
flow to the  ball," he said. "It's something I've had since middle school.
I don't really know how to explain it. I can just see plays develop before
they happen, and I try and use my quickness to get there."

As a junior Hall got there over 100 times including 28 times behind the line
of scrimmage with 13 sacks. He also intercepted three passes and returned
two for touchdowns as the Bruins went 8-2 won their district title and he
was named District Player of the Year.

"He's been a starter for us his first 3 years," said Western Branch Head
Coach Lew Johnston. "He's a tremendous football player. He spends a lot of
time in the weight room, and he's already qualified academically. He's just
a real good kid."

In fact Hall is so good natured he is almost apologetic about hitting the
opposition so hard on the gridiron. "Yeah I've jarred the ball loose a few
times," he said. "It's not like it's intentional, it's just something that
happens."

It's doubtful that opponents knocked senseless by the mighty Mike linebacker
find any solace in the fact that he really didn't mean to do it. But he is
flattered by the attention his physical style of play has gained him from
college coaches across the country.

Hall has received numerous offers from big-time programs including:
Michigan, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Boston College, Syracuse, Virginia Tech,
Virginia, Clemson, North Carolina, Maryland and Tennessee. After camping at
Penn State, participating in the Nike Camp at North Carolina and making
unofficial visits to Virginia Tech, Hall has decided to limit his search to
those schools close enough to home that his mother can see his games.

"My mom's never missed a game of mine, so I want to be able to stay close
enough that she can still get to all of my games," he said. "Virginia Tech,
Virginia, Maryland, Penn State, Tennessee and North Carolina are all pretty
close to home, so that will help make my decision easier. I took unofficial
visits to Tech and Penn State. I tried to take one to Tennessee but I didn't
have time over the summer. I'm going to take my official visit to Tennessee
during basketball season."

Hall was clocked at a 4.75 on a slow track at the Nike Camp, but recorded a
4.60 at Penn State and has a personal best of 4.55. Even more significant
for a linebacker is lateral quickness which Hall underscored with a
sensational 4.30 clocking in the 20-yard shuttle at the Nike Camp. He
squats 450 pounds, performs 18 reps on the bench at 185 pounds and has a
25-inch vertical leap.

Moreover Hall has excellent leadership skills and is fully qualified with a
2.7 grade point average and passing test score.

"I'm trying to get more involved in the community,"he said when asked about
his activities off the field. "I went to a leadership conference and they
teach you about the importance of leadership and teamwork and then you come
back to your school and teach others."

Hall's statistics on defense are more impressive when you consider that he
also plays full time at tight end. That explains why he wears No. 88 while
his stylish dread-locks and intense on-field persona is the reason he's
referred to as "Warren" or "Sapp."

Larry Slade is recruiting Hall for Tennessee and he's told the star
linebacker that the Vols didn't fill their need for a run-stopper in the
middle last year. Most Big Orange fans probably recall that the Vols heavily
recruited Virginia's Ahmad Brooks last year before he finally chose UVA.
Hall said the opportunity to earn early playing time and his long-held
interest in the Vols makes UT a serious contender for his services.

"I've always known about Tennessee but I really got interested in middle
school when they won the national championship," he said. "I've always had
an interest in them and when they offered me a scholarship I had more
interest. It makes me want to see the school."
Hall said he doesn't plan to make an early decision, instead he'll weigh all the factors after completing his official visits. He also indicated in the
end, he may go with the school where he feels most comfortable.

In other words: he'll trust his instincts.


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