by Austin Silvey
CHARLOTTE, NC - "I think more than the accolades or awards that I get, I would more so want to be remembered with how I impacted the people that were here..."
When Virginia defensive back Bryce Hall met with the media on Thursday of #ACCKickoff, he displayed a level of humility, honesty, and meekness that left me speechless by the time he was finished.
When asked about how he felt when he was chosen to attend media days, his response displayed the modesty within.
"I was just really humbled they chose me. And it was cool. I thought it was cool that they selected me above people to represent UVA. So I don't take it lightly. I'm trying to represent us the best that I can."
Bryce Hall is going into his senior season at the University of Virginia. He is viewed by most, including myself, as one of the top cornerbacks in the country and a top prospect at the position for the 2020 NFL Draft.
He has played in every game since arriving in Charlottesville. His freshman year (2016) he played in all 12 games and started seven. His sophomore and junior season he started all 26 games for the Cavaliers. He has amassed 134 tackles, five interceptions, 40 pass deflections, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
After the 2018 campaign, Hall was named to a multitude of second and third team All-American lists, multiple first-team All-ACC selections, and more. But Hall isn't so much concerned with the accolades and awards.
"[I wanna be remembered as] ...somebody that helped people and wasn't just focused as a football player, but impacted the community and made it a better place while he was there. As well as, you know, raise the standard, improve people to be the best version of themselves while they were here."
This wasn't disingenuous bloviation coming from Hall. This isn't an example of all talk no walk. What he said is genuine honesty and proof of that can be found in an article from nbc29.com.
An excerpt from the piece reads, " Off the field, Hall gives back to the community by visiting sick children weekly in the hospital during the school year, volunteers at the Boy’s and Girl’s Club, and enjoys volunteering weekly and building a foundation with high school kids at his local church (The Point Church of Charlottesville). Hall has also been heavily involved with Big Brothers & Big Sisters of Charlottesville’s bowling event."
Because of his activity outside of football, Hall was named a nominee for the 2019 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team, an annual award given to college football players for the impact they make off the field. A total of 137 student-athletes with inspiring stories of community service were nominated by their respective sports information directors.
Hall is a soft-spoken individual but the raw candor in his words speaks volumes. This was made even more evident when he discussed his decision to forego the NFL Draft and return for his senior season.
"I had talked to a couple people and was doing some real deep thinking. I wanted to be sure of the decision. I had to pray on it and get some wisdom and just get real insight on what I wanted to do."
"And I felt in my heart that God was telling me to come back because there's more I want to develop in you. There's more you have to share and help others with."
"The biggest thing that he was looking to prepare me on wasn't as much my play on the field but more so mentally as far as my character as a leader, being more vocal, being someone who is going to speak up and help others, sharing the knowledge and understanding that I have through life and just do the game of football with other people."
"It's stretching me to be outside my comfort zone because usually I lead by example, I don't really say too much. I think that's part of my progression as a man. That's been huge for me this offseason. I'm learning and by no means am I perfect but I'm trying to progress towards that."
When Hall made the decision to return to school he sent out a tweet about a #NewStandard.
Virginia is one of the favorites to compete for the Coastal Division title this season and much of that is to do with the return of quarterback Bryce Perkins. But Bryce Hall's leadership, voice and humility on the defensive side of the ball will play just as much a factor in the Wahoos success in 2019.