Written by Matt Wixon
After a roller-coaster recruiting journey, Lancaster DE Hall signs with Texas A&M
LANCASTER — Before signing their letters of intent Wednesday morning in a pep-rally atmosphere in the school cafeteria, Lancaster football players had a chance to talk to the crowd of supporters.
The players who signed, headlined by Daeshon Hall, thanked their parents, teammates and fellow students for their support. Then Hall, a 6-6, 240-pound defensive end who towered over his surrounding teammates, added this:
“Football players, don’t commit before you’re 100 percent where you want to go.”
Hall, who signed with Texas A&M, is the right person to deliver that message. SportsDay’s 2012 Defensive Player of the Year committed first to Texas last February and switched to Washington last summer. On Wednesday, as the cafeteria filled with cheers, he put on an Aggies hat.
This time, it’s final.
“It’s a roller coaster. Your emotions and where you want to go change over time,” Hall said. “Every day was sleepless, especially Monday and Tuesday.”
Hall, who had a final three of Texas A&M, Washington and TCU, said he didn’t make the decision until midnight Tuesday. And he still wasn’t 100 percent certain at that point. He brought letters of intent for both Texas A&M and Washington to the signing ceremony.
“We talked a lot about it,” Lancaster coach Chris Gilbert said. “I don’t think he really knew where he was going. He really didn’t know last night.”
Hall talked with his coaches and he talked with his teammates, including two other stars from Lancaster’s Class 4A Division state-runner up. Quarterback Demarcus Ayers, who signed as a receiver/defensive back with Houston, and defensive back Dakota Austin, who signed with Oklahoma, didn’t even know where Hall was going until Wednesday morning.
Hall visited Texas A&M two weeks ago and was intrigued by the chance to join a powerhouse recruiting class. He said the A&M coaches likened him to Damontre Moore, the former Rowlett star who played the last three seasons for the Aggies and is expected to be a top-10 pick in this year’s NFL draft. Hall talked to Moore on several occasions, and Moore sent him a text on Wednesday morning. Hall said he didn’t text him back because he hadn’t made a decision.
Finally, after the Lancaster players walked past the blaring marching band and to the table to sign, Hall was ready to make his decision official.
What it came down to, he said, was staying close to home. Home used to be in Washington, where he lived until moving with his mother and younger brother to Lancaster before his junior season.
When his mother decided not to move back to Washington, that sealed the deal.
“I think this is the best decision for my family,” he said. “If there is an emergency, I don’t need to get on a plane. I can just drive three hours.”
It also will be easier for his family to see him play. What they’ll see, Gilbert said, is Hall’s continued success at the next level. It will be difficult to match his dominance from last season, when he had 91 tackles, 18 sacks and even blocked three kicks, but Hall has the ingredients for college stardom.
“He’s going to be a stud,” Gilbert said. “The thing about him is he’s so coachable. He’s a relentless player. No play is over for him.”
The recruiting process, however, finally is.
Follow Matt Wixon on Twitter @mattwixon.