Growing up, Lambert’s Tanner Hall focused on basketball first, football second.
“That was my mindset growing up,” Hall said. “I thought I was going to just play football as something to do, something to keep me in shape and stay strong. Basketball was my focus. It’s funny how things turn out.”
The tables have turned. Football is about to become Hall’s life.
Hall, a rising senior and member of Lambert’s hoops and football programs, committed to Georgia Southern University as a wide receiver, he announced on his Twitter profile Wednesday afternoon.
Hall picked the Eagles, who finished with an undefeated 8-0 conference mark in their first season as members of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), over eight other suitors, including the service academies Army, Navy and Air Force, in-state programs Mercer and Kennesaw State, Charleston Southern, Lafayette and Division II Valdosta State.
He said the football atmosphere in Statesboro was paramount in his decision, which he also contended “wasn’t a tough call,” though the service academies and Mercer were highly regarded because of “career opportunities” after football and “education,” respectively.
“(Georgia Southern) has such a great fanbase,” Hall said. “The coaching staff is great. They’re going to take me to the next level and make me more of a complete player, too. I won’t just be running routes, catching balls, but they can help me with my speed and my athletic ability.”
“Just like any college, they’re going to work on me when I get there and make me better,” Hall said.
Hall caught 26 passes for 504 yards (19 yards per reception) and six touchdowns for the Longhorns as a junior, as well as executing field goals and kick offs.
It was his jump ball ability, evident on his highlight films, that college coaches gravitated toward. They also liked the fact he comes from a block-first, catch-second offense.
“That’s the thing. Georgia Southern’s offense is kind of similar to what we’ve run at Lambert. We’re not throwing the ball around 50 times a game, so I’m definitely going to be working on my blocking and getting more physical,” Hall said.
Hall said his skill with jump balls comes from his basketball background.
“It’s like coordination, my footwork, running routes—it’s all about putting your body in the right position, getting in the way, making moves. It’s very similar,” Hall said. “I always was a basketball first person, but football definitely came naturally to me.”
Hall also cited family as reason for staying closer to home, with options to move to the northeast or out west on the table.
“It’s close to home. I want my family to be able to come see me play,” he said. “I have a bunch of friends who go to Georgia Southern too and they say the games are just crazy.”