Eli Hall is interested in many of the same things other teenagers do, yearning for good music, stylish clothes, and the latest technological necessity, be it in the form of a phone, Apple AirPods, from a computer or other.
Content to walk to the beat of his own drum, Hall chose a different route for his 18th birthday. Inviting everyone who made an impact on his life to Crest High School on Wednesday, the football star Charger revealed to the world a secret he has held for some time now.
Dressed in a white t-shirt with a question mark draped across the front, Hall revealed his intention to attend Wake Forest after completing his senior year at Boiling Springs.
“My two reasons I wanted to go to Wake Forest were to stay close to home and have a good education,” he said. “Other than Duke, I looked at him and said ‘I want to go to Wake.’
“It was just for me.”
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A three-star defensive lineman, Hall is ranked among North Carolina’s top 20 prospects by 247Sports. He appeared on most schools’ radar in sophomore, finishing with 52 total tackles and two forced fumbles. The Crest star followed that effort with 40 tackles (nine for a loss), six sacks and 19 quarterbacks last spring in a condensed football season, earning co-lineman of the year honors. defensive Big South 3A.
Hall chose the Demon Deacons over a litany of schools seeking his services. Among them were “Power 5” schools such as Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Minnesota, Penn State, South Carolina, Southern California (USC), Virginia and Virginia Tech. State schools such as Campbell, Duke and East Carolina have expanded their offerings, with Akron, Liberty, Old Dominion and Southern also throwing their hats in the ring.
According to her grandmother Linda Howard, the family felt Wake Forest was “right” after a visit to the Winston-Salem campus last month.
“Me personally, if (Hall) had left, everything would have been okay. If he had stayed close to home, everything would have been fine. He didn’t want to go too far, ”she said. “I bought him a plaque that is in his room that says ‘Follow your heart.’ There is a little voice in your heart, and I asked her to listen to that little sweet voice in her heart and you will know that it is right. You’ll feel good, God will let you know.
“He said when he set foot (on the Wake Forest campus), that was it.”
After watching a video and announcing his college plans, Hall took a plethora of photos and spoke to those in attendance before leaving for a birthday celebration dinner. As he crossed the room, his father Ashley Young watched with pride.
“I am very proud of him,” he said. “After everything he’s been through, he still maintains and manages, transformed and transformed into something special. (The Family Village) has always been there and will never go anywhere. The family turns into a village, the village turns into a community and a community into a nation. Either way, he’s going to represent himself and us to the max.
“Thank goodness he made the right decision, that was my only prayer. And I think he definitely made the right choice. As long as he’s at peace with it, it’s all part of God’s plan.
You can reach Joe Hughes at 704-914-8138, email [email protected] and follow on Twitter @JoeLHughesII.