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Palo Verde’s Hall chooses UA

Citizen Staff Writer



The Parade All-American jinx didn’t bite the University of Arizona twice, and Wildcats fans might owe a rival Pacific-10 Conference coach a thank you for that.

Palo Verde High School football star Adam Hall announced Friday he will stay home to play for the Wildcats, the team his father played for in the 1970s and the team he’s loved since he was old enough to carry a football.

“(Mike Bellotti) said, ‘After all of this being said and what you know, why aren’t you going to Arizona?’ ” Hall said of a recent recruiting conversation he had with the University of Oregon head coach. “I looked (at him), and I couldn’t answer the question.”

While top-tier programs from across the country tried to lure him, it became increasingly apparent the perfect fit was in his own backyard. “(Having) Tucson behind me helped a lot,” he said.

Hall becomes one of the crown jewels of UA coach Mike Stoops’ 2009 football recruiting class.

In addition to being highly sought by almost every team in the Pac-10, Hall also becomes one of the highest-rated Arizona prep stars, and certainly the highest-rated Tucson athlete, to commit to Stoops in his tenure coaching the Wildcats.

Salpointe Catholic’s Kris O’Dowd, also a Parade All-American, spurned the Wildcats for USC at a similar-style press conference in December 2006.

The expectations Hall has for UA’s future couldn’t be higher.

“I want to compete for a national championship and a Rose Bowl,” said Hall, who anticipates competing next fall for a starting safety spot in the defense while also getting some limited opportunities on offense and on special teams.

“That was one of my big things wherever I go,” he said. “Competitors don’t like to lose.”

The improvement shown this past season under Stoops, including a bowl win, were big in Hall’s decision. So were the losses.

“Since I was around them so much, I got to see the real them,” said Hall, who attended every UA home game this season and traveled to Las Vegas for the Wildcats’ bowl game vs. BYU. . . “I saw what it is all the time – not sometimes when they’re up, not sometimes when they’re down. I saw it all.”

Surrounded by nearly 20 family members chanting “U of A!, U of A!” after his announcement, Hall selected the Wildcats over two other finalists – California and Oregon.

Many schools recruited Hall as a wide receiver early on in the process, but his hard-hitting playmaking ability on defense was too much for most schools to ignore, which was fine with Hall.

“You can’t win national championships without defense,” Hall said. “. . . I definitely intend on getting a chance to play a lot next year.”

The versatile 6-foot-5, 210-pound Hall wasn’t just Tucson’s best offensive player this past season, he was also the best defensive player and most dangerous special teams weapon.

But before he strung together one of Tucson’s all-time great single-season performances, he landed himself on the national recruiting stage last summer when he received, in person, a scholarship offer from USC coach Pete Carroll during the Trojans’ Rising Stars football camp.

His stock continued to rise as he dominated Palo Verde opponents this fall. Titans coach Todd Mayfield knew his team had its best chance to win if Hall touched the ball as much as possible.

So, in addition to letting Hall return kicks and punts and play defense, Mayfield moved him from wide receiver to running back for his senior season.

The results were undeniable. In 12 games, including a few blowouts in which he didn’t play much in the second half, Hall scored 38 touchdowns – 25 rushing, six receiving, three kick returns, two interception returns, one punt return and one fumble return.

Palo Verde went 10-2, thanks largely to Hall’s exploits, regaining the Class 4A Gila Region championship from rival Santa Rita, only to see Santa Rita knock the Titans out of the state playoffs in the 4A Division II quarterfinals on a last-second field goal.

After the season ended, the building of Hall’s impressive football résumé did not. He was named Player of the Year by the Tucson Citizen, the Arizona Republic and the Arizona Daily Star. He was named All-American by Parade, MaxPreps.com, the U.S. Army All-American Bowl and Super Prep while also being selected to play in two postseason national all-star games.

Hall’s father, Rev. James Hall, played for Arizona in the 1970s. James Hall said the fan in him wanted his son to be a Wildcat, but he knew Friday’s announcement was about more than just his son.

“It’s a great day for Tucson,” said the proud father who donned a blue UA visor. “Tucson athletics needs to be recognized. Kris O’Dowd opened the door a couple of years ago to high-profile recruiting and I believe Adam benefited from that.”

Football’s national signing day is Wednesday. That is the first day players can sign letters of intent to accept scholarships. Until a letter of intent is signed by both parties, all agreements are nonbinding.

The NCAA prohibits coaches from commenting on prospective recruits until letters of intent are signed.

Adam Hall file

Name: James Adam Hall

School/class: Palo Verde High School/senior

Age: 19

Height/Weight: 6 feet 5/210 pounds

Positions: Wide receiver, running back, safety, return specialist

Recruiting ratings: Rivals.com 4-star (ranked No. 152 overall, No. 12 athlete); Scout.com 4-star (No. 26 wide receiver)

2008 season scoring: 38 touchdowns (25 rushing, 6 receiving, 3 kick return, 2 interception returns, 1 punt return, 1 fumble return)

Honors/awards: Numerous, including: Parade All-American, U.S. Army All-American, Tucson Citizen Player of Year

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