Arizona offensive lineman Austin Hall has made no secret of his affinity for Stanford throughout the recruiting process. Hall, whose father, Travis, was a longtime NFL defensive tackle, first visited The Farm when he was nine. That's when he first envisioned himself at Stanford.
"Once I was about nine years old and my dad took me to one of their games," Hall told Cardinal Sports Report last winter. "We went and watched it and he showed me around and I was like, 'Oh, this is so cool. I want to be a part of this one day.' And then the more I heard about it with the academics and the atmosphere around there, and the Bay Area is awesome with the weather, and just recently their football plays a style of football that I really like, really enjoy watching, and I would really like to be a part of. That's how it really all started."
But for a while it was uncertain whether Hall would have the opportunity to play his college ball at Stanford. Though the 6-foot-5, 295-pound lineman had offers from several Pac-12 programs, Hall was only average at Stanford's camp following his sophomore season, and needed to find another outlet to impress Stanford's coaches.
Hall's was able to do just that at the Cardinal's camp earlier this summer. He showed up to camp in excellent physical shape and impressed in a variety of drills.
A little more than a month after camp, Hall was offered by the Cardinal. Stanford offensive line coach Mike Bloomgren broke the news of Hall's offer to the Brophy Prep standout on Monday.
"Coach Bloom told me that he really liked what I did at camp and he was like, 'I really want you to come play ball for me' and he offered," Hall said.
Hall was ecstatic to receive the Cardinal scholarship.
"It was really big to me because I've always wanted to go there since I was a little kid," Hall said. "My dad took me one day to one of their games before one of his games when he played in San Francisco (for the 49ers). And I was like this is where I want to go to school. And it's been like that ever since. For that to actually happen is unreal to me right now. It's awesome."
After sleeping on the Stanford offer and talking it over with his parents, Hall called Bloomgren to commit the next day, on Tuesday. Hall also spoke with Stanford head coach David Shaw.
"The next day I talked to my parents I was like this is what I really want and they were like alright, that's cool," Hall said. "And I did it."
"When I called (Coach Bloomgren) he was giving a speech and as I told him Coach Shaw was walking right by him and he was like, 'Here, tell Coach Shaw too.' I told Coach Shaw right after him. That was how that went down."
Hall's parents were emotional to learn of his opportunity with Stanford.
"My mom and dad have known that I really wanted this to happen for a long time," Hall said. "When I told my mom she broke down. I couldn't stop her. She just broke down, she was so happy. We all celebrated and thanked God for the opportunity he's given me and my skills that I have and we just celebrated and told the family and that's about it."
While he could have waited and possibly earned additional offers, Hall didn't see a need to postpone what he saw as inevitable.
"This is what I've really wanted for a long time, as I said earlier," Hall said. "You can't turn it down. You get Ivy League education playing Division One football, the best of the best, Pac-12, and you get to live in Palo Alto, California, which is beautiful weather compared to the devil's playland here in Phoenix where it's hot all the time. And it's something I'm just really excited about. I've always wanted (to go to Stanford) so I didn't really have to put much thought in it. I knew that's where I wanted to go.
After committing to Stanford, Hall spoke with the program's admissions liaison, outside linebackers coach Lance Anderson about the program's admissions process.
"I actually just talked to Coach Anderson about ACT's and SAT's," Hall said. "I haven't had a chance to take them yet but I'm taking each one twice next semester. They're going to send me the application soon and I'll start filling it out but I can't send it in until I take my tests, obviously."
Hall also plans to take several AP classes next fall.
"I already had that planned ahead of time," Hall said.
Though needed only one day to weigh his Stanford offer before committing to the Cardinal, he admits it was particularly difficult to turn down the home-state Arizona State Sun Devils. That's why Hall waited a day to go public with his verbal pledge. (He committed to Stanford on Tuesday but didn't share the news with the media until Wednesday.)
"ASU definitely (was the hardest to turn down)," Hall said. "I wanted to call (Arizona State offensive line coach Chris) Thomsen to let him know before I put it all over the place. I didn't want him to figure out through Facebook or whatever because I was pretty close with them there. It was pretty tough."
In addition to taking multiple standardized tests and working on the Stanford application, one of Hall's next recruiting goals is to get to know members of the Cardinal's 2014 recruiting class. He met fellow Stanford commit Christian McCaffrey at the Cardinal's Junior Day in March, and looks forward to bonding with other future teammates in the upcoming months.
"Pretty soon I'll try to get some of their information from the coaches and hit those guys up and start building a relationship with them," Hall said.
Now that he has made a verbal commitment to Stanford Hall doesn't plan on taking any visits to other schools, with the possible exception of an official visit to Washington State, where his former teammate, Tyler Bruggman, is an incoming freshman.
"I might go to Washington State just to go see my boy Tyler. I don't know though. More than likely probably not."