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Leon Hall

Height: 5-11 | Weight: 193 | College: Michigan
 
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Overview

Regarded as one of the premier coverage cornerbacks in the collegiate ranks, Hall holds the school career record with 43 pass deflections, breaking up at least one pass in 26 of his final 42 games. The 2006 finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award (top defensive back) and Bronko Nagurski Award (top defensive player) played in 50 career games and made 37 starts in the Wolverines' secondary.

Hall attended Vista High School, playing football for head coach Chris Hauser, who helped raise Leon, along with Hall's uncle, after the future Wolverine's mother passed away during his prep days. He was a San Diego Tribune Scholar-Athlete Award winner while competing at cornerback, wide receiver and quarterback.

He was named All-American by Prep Star and Super Prep, and rated as the nation's 14th-best cornerback by Tom Lemming. Rivals.com tabbed Hall the 10th-best cornerback in the prep ranks and graded him a four-star prospect. He was named to the roster of the 2003 U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

Hall also earned All-County and All-Conference first-team honors at wide receiver and cornerback as a senior, adding All-Conference second-team accolades his junior season. He collected 103 tackles (77 solos) and nine interceptions during his career, including 51 tackles and three interceptions as a senior.

In his final season, he also had 11 pass deflections, blocked three kicks and made one fumble recovery. On offense, Hall made 24 catches for 520 yards and three touchdowns his senior year. He also posted 26 tackles and four interceptions as a junior. He added three letters in track, competing in the 100- and 200-meters and participated in the high jump. He had career-bests of 10.9 in the 100-meters and 22.2 in 200-meters and was a member of the school's 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.

Hall enrolled at Michigan in 2003, earning Freshman All-American and All-Big Ten Conference honors. He played in 13 games, sharing left cornerback duties with Jeremy Lesueur. He started three contests, producing 26 tackles (21 solos) with six pass deflections and three interceptions.

As a sophomore, Hall started nine of the team's final 10 games at right cornerback. He came up with 48 tackles (39 solos) and two fumble recoveries. He intercepted a pair of passes and batted away 10 others, earning All-Big Ten honorable mention. He also had six punt returns for 104 yards (17.3 avg) and a touchdown.

The Big Ten second-team selection registered 61 tackles (46 solos) while starting all 12 games at left cornerback in 2005. He ranked fourth on the team with 61 tackles (46 solos), including two sacks and three stops for losses. He set a school record with an 83-yard return for a touchdown of a fumble recovery and deflected four passes while coming up with four interceptions. He also averaged 10.2 yards on four punt returns.

The consensus All-American selection posted 45 tackles (35 solos) with a sack and a fumble recovery in 2006. He led the team with 18 pass deflections and intercepted three other passes. He also recovered a fumble and returned a punt 11 yards.

In 50 games at Michigan, Hall started 37 times. He recorded 180 tackles (141 solos) with three sacks for minus-17 yards and seven stops for losses of 22 yards. He recovered five fumbles for 82 yards in returns, including one touchdown and had one forced fumble. He deflected 43 passes and intercepted 12 others for 23 yards in returns (1.9 avg), adding 174 yards and a touchdown on 15 punt returns (11.6 avg).

Analysis

Positives: Has a solid frame with good chest thickness, broad shoulders, defined upper body with muscular arms, tight hips and waist, well-developed thighs and calves with room on his frame to carry at least another 10 pounds of bulk … Hard worker who plays until the whistle … Smart, instinctive defender with very good field vision and quick reactions, especially attacking the ball in flight (43 pass deflections, 12 interceptions in 50 games) … Has natural hands and very good ball skills, timing his leaps to get to the ball at its high point … Shows good flexibility coming out of his breaks and has the ability to slip a block and make the tackle in the backfield … Well-respected team leader who plays with aggression and never takes a play off … Has good plant-and-drive agility, attacking the ball at full speed and showing crispness when having to redirect … Explosive hitter who keeps his pads low and shows good arm extension to wrap and secure … Never gets lost in coverage and is quick to locate the ball in a crowd … Takes good angles to close on the play … Has the speed to stay tight on the receiver throughout the route and is very good at anticipating the route's progression … Very fluid turning on the ball and has the vision to track the ball in flight … Very fluid and quick in his backpedal, never taking false steps in transition … Will run stride-for-stride with the receiver, thanks to his hip snap … Shows the good hip sink, feet and balance in his pedal, along with the loose hips to turn and run without having to throttle down … Very efficient at reading the patterns as they develop and is quick to react to plays in front of him … Rare to see him caught out of position, as he shows no hesitation breaking on the ball … Has the range to make cross-field tackles and has the catch-up speed to recover when beaten … Excels at competing for jump balls, doing a nice job of adjusting his body to get to the pass at its high point … Has a high ceiling level in his leaps (27-inch vertical) … Has the natural hands to extend and catch away from his frame and also is very effective at fielding the ball as a punt returner … Has the long arms and reach to make finger-tip catches seem routine … Recognizes the run quickly and does a good job of working down hill to get off blocks, slip through the crowd, avoid linemen and get into position to shut down the cutback lanes … Sees the play develop quickly, doing a nice job of lowering his head to generate more force behind his hits … Steady wrap-up tackler who has a good concept for taking proper angles when closing … Reliable punt returner who is a deceptive runner with the second gear needed to elude … Excels at anticipating the quarterback's moves and it is rare to see him bite on play action or pump fakes … Is an effective tackler working in space and has the long arms to reach around the opponent in attempts to deflect or strip the receiver of the ball.

Negatives: Has good timed speed, but lacks explosion coming out of his breaks and needs to mirror the receiver closer rather than allow a big cushion in order to prevent the receiver from getting behind him on deep routes … Hard tackler, but must use his hands better in attempts to jam and reroute at the line of scrimmage … Sometimes relies too much on his recovery skills and this lets receivers to make the underneath catches … Might be a better fit for free safety due to his range and preference for playing the ball rather than operating in man coverage … Physical hitter, but will sometimes take a side and swing his arms wildly, resulting in missed tackles.

Compares To: RONDE BARBER-Tampa Bay … Hall is a sound field technician who might not be the biggest or fastest defender on the field, but like Barber he is good at getting into position to make the play. He is a solid zone coverage defender, but with his field vision and natural hands (along with a lack of blazing speed) he could be a better fit at free safety down the road.

Career Notes

Ranks fourth on the school's career record list with 12 interceptions, topped by Tom Curtis (25, 1967-69), Charles Woodson (18, 1995-97) and Wally Teninga (13, 1945-49) … His 43 pass deflection topped the previous Michigan all-time record of 41 by Todd Howard (1998-2001) … Hall's 18 pass break-ups in 2006 tied the school single-season record that was first set by Marlin Jackson in 2002 … His four pass deflections against Illinois in 2004 are topped only by James Whitley (five against Penn State in 1999), Thom Darden (five against Purdue in 1969) and Jackson (six against Washington in 2002) on the school's single-game record chart … Hall's 83-yard touchdown on a fumble recovery against Northwestern in 2005 set a school record, shattering the previous mark of 33 yards by Tommy Hendricks against Ohio State in 1998 … His five career fumble recoveries rank eighth in Wolverine annals.

2006 Season

Earned All-American first-team honors from The NFL Draft Report, American Football Coaches Association, Walter Camp Football Foundation, Football Writers Association of America, Associated Press, Rivals.com and College Football News, adding second-team accolades from The Sporting News and honorable mention from Sports Illustrated … Was a finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (top defensive player) and Jim Thorpe Award (top defensive back) … Ronnie Lott Trophy quarterfinalist … Consensus All-Big Ten Conference first-team pick … Charles Woodson Award winner as Michigan's Top Defensive Back … Started all thirteen games at left cornerback, ranking fifth on the team with 45 tackles (35 solos), including a 6-yard sack and two stops for losses of 8 yards … Recovered two fumbles and had an 11-yard punt return … Gained ten yards on three interception returns and deflected eighteen passes … His average of 1.62 passes defended (both deflections and pass thefts) tied Brandon Flowers of Virginia Tech for third in the nation, topped only by Aaron Rouse of Texas (1.69 pg) and Aqib Talib of Kansas (2.8 pg) … Of the 105 passes thrown in his area, 48 were caught by the opposition for 545 yards (11.4 avg) and four touchdowns … Allowed an average of 5.19 yards per pass attempt … 18 of those 48 catches

Produced first downs, as Hall made 21 third-down tackles (18 vs. the pass, 3 vs. the run) and four more on fourth-down situations (3 vs. the pass).

2006 Game Analysis

Vanderbilt … Opened the season with two solo tackles, recovering a fumble by QB Chris Nickson that Hall advanced 2 yards, setting up Chad Henne's 27-yard touchdown pass to Mario Manningham late in the fourth quarter … That play made up for the 30-yard scoring grab he allowed Marlon White to haul in early in the second quarter … On Vanderbilt's final drive for the game, Hall sacked Nickson for a 6-yard loss and on fourth-&-10, batted down Nickson's pass that was intended for White … Main Pass Coverage Assignment-WR#82-Marlon White-Two catches for 35 yards and one touchdown (prevented White from catching two other passes).

Central Michigan … Batted down two passes and delivered three tackles … Made a diving stab to knock the ball away from Obed Cetoute at the UM 39 midway through the first quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment-WR#88-Obed Cetoute-No catches (batted away two passes and prevented Cetoutte from catching three other throws).

Notre Dame … Posted three solo tackles and deflected the game's first pass from scrimmage when he knocked down a Brady Quinn pass intended for Jeff Samardzija, but that Irish duo would then hook up to beat Hall on a 4-yard touchdown throw that capped a 72-yard, 8-play drive with 0:20 left in the first half … Hall would deflect a third-&-2 pass by Quinn that was intended for Rhema McKnight at the start of the fourth quarter … The left cornerback also picked off a second-&-8 toss by Quinn with 7:05 remaining in the game …

Main Pass Coverage Assignment-WR#83-Jeff Samardzija-Four catches for 30 yards and a touchdown (stopped Samardzija from getting to five other passes).

Wisconsin … Made three solo tackles, batting away a John Stocco pass intended for Paul Hubbard midway through the second quarter … With 0:54 left in the first half, Hall stopped Luke Swan from getting to a third-&-3 throw by Stocco, forcing Wisconsin to punt … Took down P.J. Hill on a third-&-4 run that netted three yards, again making the Badgers punt early in the third quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment-WR#1-Luke Swan-Three catches for 27 yards (prevented Swan from catching two other throws).

Minnesota … Totaled four solo tackles, stopping receiver Ernie Wheelwright from getting to a third-&-20 toss from Byran Cupito at the start of the second half and knocked down a fourth-&-goal pass to Wheelwright from Cupito with 2:58 left in the game … Main Pass Coverage Assignment-WR#82-Ernie Wheelwright-Three catches for 31 yards (stopped the receiver from catching five other balls).

Michigan State … Made just one solo tackle, but deflected three passes and intercepted another when he picked off a Drew Stanton toss at the MSU 31 with 3:43 remaining in the game Main Pass Coverage Assignment-WR#15-Kerry Reid-Four catches for 32 yards.

Penn State … Credited with three solo tackles, as he also batted down a third-&-6 pass by QB Paul Cianciolo that was intended for Deon Butler and then stopped Jordan Norwood from catching a fourth-&-6 toss on the next play with one minute left to play … Main Pass Coverage Assignment-WR#3-Deon Butler-Three catches for 20 yards (stopped Butler from catching one other throw).

Iowa … Collected four tackles (3 solos), including one that stopped Andy Brodell for a 4-yard gain on a third-&-6 pass from Drew Tate with 0:52 left in the first half … Batted away a third-&-19 toss by Tate early in the fourth quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment-WR#80-Andy Brodell-Four catches for 28 yards (prevented Brodell from catching two other throws).

Northwestern … Delivered three solo tackles with an interception and three pass break-ups, as Hall also recovered a fumble by Tyrell Sutton at the UM 36, but lost three yards on the return … Tackled Sutton for a 2-yard loss on a mid second quarter run … With 2:01 left in the first half, Hall knocked down a third-&-13 toss from QB C.J. Bacher … Intercepted a Bacher pass at the NU 34 for a 10-yard return to set up Mike Hart's 3-yard touchdown run in the third quarter … Main Pass Coverage Assignment-WR#9-Ross Lane-Three receptions for 52 yards (stopped Lane from catching four other passes).

Ball State … Deflected a pass and posted five tackles (3 solos) while also returning a first quarter punt 11 yards … Main Pass Coverage Assignment-WR#2-Terry Moss-Three catches for 78 yards, with a long of 62 (prevented Moss from grabbing one more throw).

Indiana … Followed with four solo tackles and three pass deflections … Batted away a third-&-9 pass thrown by Kellen Lewis midway through the second quarter and repeated the process on a fourth quarter third-&-5 throw by Lewis … Main Pass Coverage Assignment-WR#6-James Bailey-Four catches for 26 yards.

Ohio State … Struggled in covering receiver Ted Ginn Jr., who grabbed a 39-yard scoring strike from Troy Smith in front of Hall in the third quarter … Finished with six solo tackles … Main Pass Coverage Assignment-WR#7-Ted Ginn Jr.-Eight catches for 104 yards and one touchdown (stopped Ginn from catching four other throws).

Southern California (Rose Bowl) … Closed out his career with four solo tackles, as Hall allowed receiver Steve Smith to haul in a 35-yard pass from J.D. Booty that set up Dwayne Jarrett's 22-yard scoring grab midway through the third quarter … With 6:52 left in the game, Smith slipped past Hall to make a 7-yard touchdown catch … Main Pass Coverage Assignment-WR#2-Steve Smith-Seven catches for 108 yards and a touchdown (stopped Smith from catching two other balls).

2005 Season

All-Big Ten Conference second-team pick by the league's coaches and media … Started all twelve games at left cornerback, leading the team with four interceptions for 10 yards in returns and tied Grant Mason for the team lead with nine pass deflections … Ranked fourth on the team with 61 tackles (46 solos), including two sacks for minus 11 yards and three stops for minus 13 yards … Caused a fumble and set a school record with an 83-yard touch-down return of a fumble recovery … Added 41 yards on four punt returns (10.2 avg).

2005 Game Analysis

Northern Illinois … Deflected a pass and made five tackles (3 solos) in the season opener … Also had an interception.

Notre Dame … Sacked QB Brady Quinn twice for minus 11 yards and was credited with four tackles (2 solos), earning ABC-Sports Player of the Game honors.

Wisconsin … Had six tackles (5 solos) with two pass break-ups.

Michigan State … Gained 25 yards on two punt returns and posted three tackles with a pass deflection.

Minnesota … Collected a single-season high eight tackles (6 solos).

Penn State … Added seven tackles (6 solos) and picked off a Michael Robinson pass for a 14-yard return.

Iowa … Came up with six solo tackles and batted down one pass.

Northwestern … Named Big Ten Player of the Week after recovering a fumble and returning it 83 yards for a touchdown … Made six tackles (4 solos), including one that stopped QB Brett Basanez for a 2-yard loss on a bootleg while also deflecting two passes.

Ohio State … Produced seven solo tackles.

Nebraska (Alamo Bowl) … Tied a bowl record and set a Michigan post-season mark with a pair of interceptions while also producing four tackles (2 solos) with two pass break-ups, earning Game MVP honors.

2004 Season

Shared weak-side (right) cornerback duties with Markus Curry early in the season, starting nine of the final ten games (did not start vs. Northwestern on Senior Day), earning All-Big Ten Conference honorable mention … Ranked sixth on the team with 48 tackles (34 solos), including one for a 1-yard loss … Recovered two fumbles and deflected a team-high ten passes … Also had two interceptions … Returned six punts for 104 yards (17.3 avg) and one touchdown.

2004 Game Analysis

San Diego State … Delivered five solo tackles with a stop behind the line of scrimmage and a pass deflection.

Iowa … Picked off a pass, recovered a fumble and posted four tackles (3 solos).

Indiana … Followed with four tackles (3 solos) and a pass deflection … Returned three punts for 78 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown.

Minnesota … Added 26 yards on three punt returns while coming up with a pass break-up and five solo tackles.

Illinois … Made three solo tackles and had a career-high four pass deflection … His four pass break-ups were the fourth-highest game total by a Wolverine.

Purdue … Picked off a pass, deflected another and had three tackles.

Michigan State … Added a single-season high seven tackles (6 solos).

Northwestern … Followed with seven solo tackles and a pass break-up.

Texas (Rose Bowl) … Closed out the year with three solo tackles.

2003 Season

Freshman All-American first-team selection by Rivals.com, earning second-team honors from College Football News … Freshman All-Big Ten Conference first-team pick by The Sporting News … Played in all thirteen games, sharing left cornerback duties with Jeremy Lesueur, starting vs. Minnesota, Michigan State and Southern California … Recorded 26 tackles (21 solos) with six pass deflections and three interceptions … Gained 18 yards on four punt returns (4.5 avg).

2003 Game Analysis

Made his collegiate debut with a solo tackle vs. Central Michigan … Had three solo stops vs. Indiana … Registered four tackles (3 solos) vs. Minnesota … Deflected three passes and intercepted two others in the Purdue clash … Had four solo tackles and a deflected pass vs. Michigan State … Intercepted a pass, batted away two others and produced three tackles vs. Northwestern … Totaled four tackles (3 solos) vs. Southern California in the Rose Bowl.

Injury Report

No injuries reported.

Agility Tests

Campus: 4.42 in the 40-yard dash … 33-inch vertical jump … 30 3/4-inch arm length … 8 7/8-inch hands.

Combine: 4.41 in the 40-yard dash … 1.49 10-yard dash … 2.54 20-yard dash … 4.07 20-yard shuttle … 11.62 60-yard shuttle … 6.5 three-cone drill … 37.5-inch vertical jump … 10'5" broad jump.

High School

Attended Vista (Cal.) High School, playing football for head coach Chris Hauser, who helped raise Leon, along with Hall's uncle, after the future Wolverine's mother passed away during his prep days … San Diego Tribune Scholar-Athlete Award winner while competing at cornerback, wide receiver and quarterback … Named All-American by Prep Star and Super Prep, and rated as the nation's 14th-best cornerback by Tom Lemming … Rivals.com tabbed Hall the 10th-best cornerback in the prep ranks and graded him a four-star prospect … Named to the roster of the 2003 U.S. Army All-American Bowl … Also earned All-County and All-Conference first-team honors at wide receiver and cornerback as a senior, adding All-Conference second-team accolades his junior season … Collected 103 tackles (77 solos) and nine interceptions during his career, including 51 tackles and three interceptions as a senior … In his final year, he also had 11 pass deflections, blocked three kicks and made one fumble recovery … On offense, Hall made 24 catches for 520 yards and three touchdowns his senior year … Had 26 tackles and four interceptions as a junior … Added three letters in track, competing in the 100- and 200-meters and participated in the high jump … Had career-bests of 10.9 in the 100-meters and 22.2 in 200-meters and was a member of the school's 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.

Personal

General Studies major, enrolled in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts … Born Leon Lastarza Hall on 12/09/84 … Resides in Vista, California.

 
 
 

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