@PJJWatt, the Sam Houston State Version of J.J. Watt?
His twitter handle is @PJJWatt, but I’m not completely sure if it’s because Sam Houston State Bearkats defensive end P.J. Hall loves him some J.J. Watt or because he’s the FCS version of J.J. Watt.
Both reasons might actually be true for the 6-1, 275 lb. junior defensive end from Seguin, TX. Built out of Hill Country granite, or so it appears, Hall is not the prototype body type to be a 4-3 defensive end. But, snap the football and watch him burst upfield.
He might have the quickest first step I’ve seen in college football this season, FCS or FBS. Combine that quickness with the biggest and strongest trunk I’ve seen on a defensive end and Sam Houston State head coach K.C. Keeler has a man child on his hands. He can squat over 700 lbs relatively easily. He’s a freak with a first step and as dominant as any player in FCS football.
Two weeks ago against Lamar, Hall dominated the game on the defensive side of the ball. He had four and a half tackles for a loss and he registered a safety late in the game in Sam’s 44-31 win over the Cardinals. For that performance, he was named STATS National Defensive Player of the Week.
All he did the following week against Houston Baptist was register another 4.5 tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks and a forced fumble. In two consecutive Southland Conference games, Hall registered nine tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks, a safety and a forced fumble.
…and a partridge in a pear tree.
Yet, he almost never made it to the defensive side of the ball.
“You know the story about Hall, right?” Keeler queried me before the game against HBU.
When I said no, his eyes lit up.
“When we (the coaching staff) got to Huntsville a few years ago, there were two players – Hall and Ragan Henderson – that played tight end for the previous coaching staff. I told my tight ends coach (Kyle Segler) to pick one to keep at tight end. The other one would go over to defense.”
I waited for the anticipated punch line as Coach finished the story.
“He picked Henderson to stay at tight end.”
All Hall has done since The Decision, Huntsville version, is rack up 62 tackles for a loss and 25.5 sacks in a little over two seasons. Oh, lest I forget the 16 pass breakups and five forced fumbles in that same time frame.
Luckily, you’ll have the chance to see one of the best defenders in the nation on Saturday at NRG Stadium against the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks. You can’t miss him, but don’t blink because you just might.