P.J. Hall is kind of like a rapidly approaching bowling ball wrapped in a bearskin with the quickness of a cat. If you think about that for a second, it may explain his college choice many years ago. Being a Sam Houston State BearKat was the perfect fit.
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It's hard to decide where Hall is the most destructive. On special teams, he is second all time in the FCS' 40-year history in blocking kicks. When asked if he puts a notch in the bedpost or gets a tattoo or frames a photo of the block for each of the 14 career stuffs he has recorded, Hall chuckled and said he doesn't do anything like that. We're still not sure we believe him, entirely — but if Hall isn't doing something like that, maybe one of the top special teams coaches in the FCS, Kyle Segler, does.
This is certainly one of the BearKats' (12-1) biggest weapons they will take into Friday night's FCS semifinal showdown at the FargoDome against North Dakota State (12-1).
It truly is an incredible feat to block 14 kicks in a career. His breakdown? Six field goals, six extra points and two punts. We asked him if he likes blocking punts or kicks more, and his answer was pretty simple and actually quite logical:
"I like blocking kicks, of course, because I'm keeping points off the board," Hall told HERO Sports. "That's the main thing is saving us some points because you never know how close a game can end up being … I really don't know how I have that many. It's crazy that they keep coming. I feel like it does take something away from them (opponents). We've done a couple in one game, and I know it kills the special teams coordinator. It does feel good."
FCS/I-AA CAREER BLOCKS LIST
|17||Leonard Smith||McNeese||1980-82||10 FGs, 4 PATs, 3 punts|
|14||P.J. Hall||Sam Houston St||2014-pres.||6 FGs, 6 PATs, 2 punts|
|13||Devin Borders||Eastern Ky.||2013-16||8 FGs, 3 punts, 2 PATs|
|12||Trey Woods||Sam Houston St||1992-95||8 punts, 2 PATs, 2 FGs|
|12||Ryan Crawford||Davidson||1997-00||7 punts, 5 FGs|
As the Southland Conference and NFL Scouts know well, blocking kicks is hardly the only thing P.J. Hall can do. Just ask Kennesaw State, too. The Owls felt his presence in the quarterfinals last week, as well as that of his comrade-in-arms on the D-line — Wake Forest transfer Chris Stewart. They combined for 26 tackles and 4 tackles for loss.
So how glad is Sam Houston State star quarterback Jeremiah Briscoe that he doesn't have to face this?
"Well, I've played him in practice for the past three years, so I've gotten more of P.J. Hall than I've cared to get," Briscoe told HERO Sports. "So I'm very happy I don't have to go against P.J. (in games)."
Hall and Briscoe are both listed with NFLDraftScout.com as legitimate Day Three draft pick prospects. Hall is listed as the No. 21 defensive tackle prospect, and an average of 22 DTs have been drafted the past five seasons. Briscoe is listed as the No. 11 quarterback, with 12 quarterbacks being the average drafted over the past five years. What a party there would be in Huntsville, Texas if they were both taken on day three.
It's been a long road for Hall, but he was a factor from day one.
"It's been amazing, because at first coming out of high school I wasn't expecting all of this," Hall said. "When you're a high school player, I didn't know I could really get drafted at Sam. But people have started talking about it more and more and I've really been working at it. It's exciting that everybody is taking about it, all this attention. I'm more of a student of the game now, watching tendencies and stuff like that. I know what the offense is going to do, where they'll block and how the guards pull."
P.J. Hall (92) and his teammates continually harassed Kennesaw State (SHSU Athletics)[/credit]
These "tendencies" have led teams to double and triple team him more and more in recent years. Still, his career numbers are staggering: 42 sacks, 279 tackles, 29 passes broken up. And lastly, get this: 95.5 tackles for loss and 406 yards that he has cost opponents. Think about it — he has single-handedly cost opponents four 100-yard efforts.
Sam Houston State coach K.C. Keeler said on a conference call this week that when they asked Hall to bulk up from 275 pounds to 310 pounds, amazingly it had no effect on his speed and quickness, but made him much more powerful. Plus, he can line up anywhere on the line and be a one-man demolition team. He created mind games.
He can't wait to see how he stacks up with North Dakota State on Friday.
"It's always good to be playing this time of the year, in December," Hall said. "For us, it's become the norm … we want to go all the way."[divider]
P.J. HALL'S CAREER, BY THE NUMBERS
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