April 6, 2008

Hall making presence felt this spring

As Kansas State's sixth spring practice got underway on Saturday, it didn't take long for Olu Hall to capture everybody's attention. Animated tight ends coach Frank Leonard made sure of it. "Olu Hall!" Leonard yelled. "Olu Hall! That was your best jump on the ball yet! It's all about getting better!" The outside linebacker returned to his spot as a blocker on special teams. Hey, it was a start. After a long two years, the former high school star hopes everybody notices his impact in the fall.

"There's nothing like this, man," Hall said moments before as he headed toward stretching exercises. "There's no where else I want to be.

"This is it."

When he said, "This is it," the 6-foot-3, 232-pound Hall, donned in the purple No. 56 jersey, of course, was referring to his opportunity at K-State, where he plans to find a home as a weapon to help improve a defensive unit that struggled late last season. But the statement also carried a realization: He has gained a second chance at playing the game he loves.

Getting another try is never guaranteed.

Hall was touted as one of the top high school players in the nation and at weakside defensive end there weren't many better. At Robinson (Va.) High School, he made 93 tackles and 11 sacks as the No. 7-rated weakside defensive end by Rivals.com. At nearby Hargrave Military Academy, he was regarded the sixth-best Prep School player in the nation.

That was four years ago.

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