Critical Twenty: No. 19 Rodney Hall

Like any football team, Texas Tech has several players whose performance will be particularly critical to the squad's success. These players, whether by virtue of experience, leadership, importance of the position played, depth concerns, or sheer talent, are especially crucial. They may or not be the best players on the club, but they would be very conspicuous were they absent for any reason.

Perhaps the best way to conceive of the critical players is to determine if they are the performers the team could least afford to lose.

With this series, we will take a reverse order look at the Red Raider football players we consider most invaluable.

Texas Tech Critical Twenty
Gary MooreDERS FRClarksville, TX6-5245No. 20
Rodney HallRBSRAngleton, TX5-10240No. 19

Few players on the Texas Tech roster have a more humble pedigree than Rodney Hall. The former walk-on has never been the star at any level at which he has played. As a senior at Angleton High, Hall rushed for a modest 108 yards and caught nine passes for 130 yards. Over the course of his two years at Tyler Junior College, Hall ran for 176 yards and caught three balls for 30 yards.

And he didn't quite set the world on fire during his first year as a Red Raider either. In 2013 Hall rushed four times for 32 yards and caught one pass for one yard and a touchdown.

But what a touchdown it was. Hall's TD grab completely shocked the Arizona State Sun Devils and gave the Red Raiders their opening points in an upset victory over No. 14 ASU in the Holiday Bowl. If the touchdown wasn't the biggest play of the game, it was certainly one of them.

Outside of that lone shining moment, however, Hall has played his football in the shadows. One certainly wouldn't think a player of Hall's obscurity could be a critical performer for major college football team that is already getting Top 25 notice. And yet he is.

In the three public scrimmages this past spring, Hall was steady presence for the Tech offense.

Deandre Washington and Quinton White got the lion's share of the carries, but I would wager that Hall got more total snaps than either of them. That is because Hall has tools nobody else on the team has. He is a player who quietly makes the offense go.

Most obviously, Hall is a terrific blocker. When Washington or White runs for good yardage, there's a pretty good chance that Hall threw a key block that made the gain possible. And he pass protects as well as he blocks on the move.

Hall is also proving to be an effective receiver out of the backfield. He caught several passes during the public scrimmages, and I do not recall him dropping one.

Following the Petro Scrimmage, Kliff Kingsbury was asked about the surprising number of snaps Hall played during the game. Kingsbury replied by heaping praise on Hall and declaring that he will be a huge factor in Tech's offense this fall.

Now coaches are known to blow their fair share of hot methane, and Kingsbury is probably no exception, but in this case I don't doubt his sincerity. Rodney Hall will be to Texas Tech what Trey Millard was to Oklahoma last season. And that's no small thing.

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