If USC is looking for a wide receiver or two the next two years, the Trojans have a built-in recruiting advantage. The nation’s No. 1 receivers in the 2017 and 2018 classes happen to go to the same high school less than five miles down the street from the USC campus.
That makes impromptu drop bys from Los Angeles (Calif.) Augustus Hawkins’ dynamic duo Joseph Lewis and Jalen Hall not only a possibility, but a great opportunity for the Trojans to further position themselves as a prime contender for their services.
One such unscheduled unofficial visit occurred recently, according to Hall.
“I've been down there I believe a week or two ago,” Hall said. “I have the ability to get down there, basically at any time, because I live down the street, so sometimes me and Joseph we just take trips down there for us to talk a little football and learn new things.”
The trip was a chance for the high school phenoms to talk a little about particular route releases and other receiver techniques they can potentially implement into their game. USC offensive coordinator Tee Martin has developed a strong enough relationship that he provides tips that are almost as if he is already coaching the high school stars.
“Yea a couple of colleges do that,” Hall said, “especially because it's my junior year. I'll be a senior next year, so me as a player, I like that. It helps me get a better feel for the coaches and the school. See what type of offense they run and how they do things compared to my school.”
Hall had a relatively quiet season opener with only two explosive plays (one of which was called back) and no touchdowns in a 27-6 win over Los Angeles (Calif.) Hamilton. The 6-foot-3, 186-pound five-star 2018 wideout was targeted twice on fourth downs inside the red zone, showing the confidence the coaching staff has in him despite the nation’s top 2017 receiver lining up on the other side of the formation.
“It just means that the coaches and myself think of me as a valuable player,” Hall said. “I know that I'm capable of making it happen. I know I put this chip on my shoulder to be able to handle stuff like that. I just want to put the team on my back and let the coaches and my team know that I can make anything happen.”
He’s now one score behind in his personal competition with Lewis, who went up over a defender for a 39-yard touchdown and Hawkins’ first points of the year. Hall had a couple of opportunities where he was open, but wasn’t quite on the same page with quarterback Dylan Lemle. Hall’s best play saw him go up over a cornerback for a long reception.
Though he wasn’t satisfied with the offense’s overall performance, Hall called it a good season opener. Correcting some small mistakes, such as holding penalties on wide receiver screens, should allow the offense to flourish and let all of the Hawkins’ weapons shine full throttle.
When it comes to recruiting, Hall is the opposite. He is trying to slow play the affair. Rather than jumping right into the midst of top 10s, constant communication and commitments, Hall is just trying to enjoy the process and ride on the coat tails of his senior teammates.
“Right now, I'm still trying to take it a little slow. As a senior, I'll make probably a top 10 and break it down to a top five, but as of right now, the whole process is going a little slow.”
Hall is planning to tag along for a couple of Lewis’ and Greg Johnson’s official visits, including when both head to Arizona for a game later this fall, but he doesn’t have any set plans for other unofficial visits. Instead, he is taking his time and trying to learn about all the coaches that are recruiting him, even when he stops by the school up the street for a quick chat.
“I just want to get to know the coaches more and know they have my back on and off the field and how that will make me a greater player and get me to the league most importantly.”
Check out isolation clips of 2018 Los Angeles (Calif.) Augustus Hawkins receiver Jalen Hall against Los Angeles (Calif.) Hamilton:
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