And not just ordinary speed, but speed that has the chance to finish off an opponent when in the open field.
And when you're looking at the impact a prospect like Hall, who verbally committed to Washington
over Oregon State
Thursday, it's that speed the Huskies hope he'll use as a calling card to signal his entrance into the new world of the Pac-12 starting this fall.
Dorsey High in Los Angeles has been kind to UW in the past, with Beno Bryant being arguably the most decorated Don to attend UW. Marvin Hall
brings the same package of speed and explosion to the equation, and does it in a frame that will remind many long-time Husky fans of Bryant, as well as another Dorsey alumnus - former Arizona
standout Dennis Northcutt
But Hall doesn't probably remember those guys, so it's another Dorsey man that he pays tribute to with the number 13 - former USC
running back Stafon Johnson
. Johnson was a Washington target before committing to the Trojans, but Hall never turned the eye of USC Head Coach Lane Kiffin.
He should have.
Dorsey assistant coach Ivan Stephenson told Dawgman.com that Hall patterns his offensive game off another former Pac-10 receiving giant - Cal's DeSean Jackson
. And it's easy to see why, if you go by the scouting report offered up by Scout.com's Director of Scouting, Scott Kennedy.
"An explosive receiver, Hall has the ability to get downfield from the outside receiver position, and his ability to elevate makes him a viable target at any point in the field," Kennedy said. "He's tough enough to go over the middle, quick enough to make a man miss, and strong enough to out jump and outfight a corner for a ball. Lacks ideal size, but still seems to play big."
He could very well be talking about Jackson.
Stephenson described Hall's style a different way. "When the ball is in his hands, he puts points on the board," Stephenson said, matter-of-factly. And Hall's 2010 statistics back that up. According to Maxpreps, Hall had 31 catches for 673 yards and nine touchdowns, an average of nearly 22 yards a catch. In the one game he was asked to return punts, he averaged over 32 yards a punt on three punts, with a long of 80. What people don't know is that Hall played basically the whole season with a hairline fracture in his ankle. Stephenson guessed that Hall played at probably around '60-70 percent' of his full capability. And the Dons also had a number of blowouts during the season, and Hall was usually done playing by halftime, so he really didn't play nearly as much as he could have.
But in one of the games, he had three early touchdowns. It happened to be the same game UW Head Coach Steve Sarkisian decided to watch Dorsey play, and specifically his linebacker commit, Matthew Lyons
. That's when the Huskies began looking at Hall in earnest.
One of the things Washington was looking for from their receiving corps this fall was YAC - Yards After Catch. Hall's game is based around the idea of YAC, taking short passes and making big gains. A lot of that is based on Hall's natural athletic ability, but some of it can also be traced back to how Dorsey practices and who they have pushing Hall forward.
Dorsey's coaching staff made up of a lot of former college players, some who played in the NFL, so their practices have a bit of that competitive feel to them. According to Stephenson, Hall credits Edell Shepherd
, who prepped at Dorsey, played collegiately with San Jose State
and with five teams in the NFL over a period of seven years. He's now the Dons' receivers coach. "(Shepherd) has kept him humble," Stephenson said. "(Hall) knows he hasn't done anything yet."
Stephenson also believes the practice battles between Hall and Dons' DB Charles Garrett
, who is now at Nevada
, shaped Hall during his junior year and gave him the foundation to excel this past season.
So with so much effusive praise and the statistics to back it up, why did Hall float under the recruiting radar relatively undetected? Stephenson said that Hall didn't hit the football camp circuit in the spring because he was resting his body after running track. Hall knew he would be needed by the Dons in the fall. Hall runs a consistent 10.6 100 meters and is considered one of the top sprinters in the LA Section of the CIF.
Like Bryant, Hall is football player with speed, not a track guy with a little bit of native football ability. And Stephenson believes his competitive nature could find him on the field early for the Huskies. His versatility might also have something to do with that: he could be an effective return specialist; he could play in the slot; he could run the fly motion the same way Jesse Callier
did for Washington this past fall. For UW fans looking for a comparison to a current Husky, Hall should show up at Montlake as a bigger, faster version of Jordan Polk
If Washington happens to strike out on their last two running back prospects - Bishop Sankey
and Malcolm Creer
- Hall is good enough to even pick up some of the slack running the ball. With Deontae Cooper
and Johri Fogerson
returning this spring after suffering season-ending injuries, the Huskies will feel like they are immediately deeper at that position. But if they feel like they have to take a running back for class and position balance, they won't necessarily have struck out even if Sankey and Creer don't sign with UW.
Bottom line - Hall's speed and elusiveness are qualities that can be used by the Washington offensive coaches in a number of ways, and he's good enough to pull it all off. As we are currently seeing with the off-season surgeries to true freshmen that played a lot in 2010, it would be ideal to redshirt a smaller player like Hall so that he could get properly set up physically for the future rigors of Pac-12 play. However, he just might be good enough that they can't keep him down and off the field for long.
Like Greg Ducre, Kevin Smith and Deontae Cooper for the 2010 class, Marvin Hall and Kameron Jackson are bringing their wheels to Montlake. And I'm not talking about cars. All five of those players, regardless of position, bring one intangible that has become essential to the college game, especially for the skill positions - speed.