clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jimmy Hall, Northwestern Wildcats football, No. 9

NINE DAYS TO GO, and Jimmy Hall is probably going to be Northwestern's nickelback after having been productive in the role last year. LOOK AT THIS PHOTOGRAPH


Boy, it really seems like some of you are having trouble getting excited for football season, which is only nine days away! Aww, shucks, that's quite the bummer, but we here at Sippin' on Purple are here to help BY BEING AAR TOO EXCITED JESUS CHRIST FOOTBALL SEASON IS SERIOUSLY ONLY NINE DAYS AWAY.

Let us talk about Jimmy Hall, a 6'2 205-pound safety, and run through some walls and kill some people for being less excited than us. Shall we?

Origin myth

Jimmy hails from Sylvania, Ohio, right next to Toledo on the border between the Buckeye State and the Mitten. He played a bit of both offense and defense, breaking out in 2008 when his Southview team went 15-0 and won the Division II Ohio state championship. He had 47 catches for 950 yards and 12 TD's as a wide receiver as well as five picks on defense. He was injured for most of his senior year, though, and only managed three games.

He was billed as a receiver, three stars from Rivals, who listed him as the No. 91 wide out in the country, and two stars from Scout, who always give everybody one less star than everybody else it's ridiculous seriously. (They did describe him as a "good looking receiver," which woah, guys, keep it in your pants.) Anyway, he considering those not-so-stellar rankings, he got some nice offers: Vandy, Syracuse, West Virginia, Indiana, Maryland, BC, UConn, and the MAC. He picked Northwestern November of his mainly-injured senior season.

(BTW, Jimmy has a 3-star lil bro named Nathan who is part of Northwestern's class of 2014!

At Northwestern

Dude started out as a wide receiver, but got switched to defense. He was a pure special teamer as a freshman, but eventually got bumped into a nickel role last year, and fit fine.

Career highlight

Easy: the touchdown-saving pass-breakup highlighted here in one of MountainTiger's posts from the Gator Bowl.

Anagram of choice

Discovering the Wildcats' true inner selves through spelling

Jimmy Hall, anagrammed, is


What? There's really not a lot to work with. I can't think of any opposing WR's named "Hill" or why Jimmy would be playing jam coverage.

Relevant musical selection

"Jimmy James," Beastie Boys

I wasn't gonna use Hall and Oates, yanno?

We already used "Check Your Head" once on this countdown, and, well, it's a damn fine album! At their worst, the Beastie Boys were just guys who rapped about partying, and they were never really technically gifted rappers. But like I said last time, they were eminently cool, and, dammit, these dudes were artists, sonically, visually, rapper-ly, I guess. Try not bumping your head while listening to this. Try!

How he can help

This has been summarized -- in that post by MT, in this post by Seth Gruen at the Sun-Times -- Hall is a great cover player from the safety spot, which makes him uniquely adapted to see the field kind of as a hybrid type -- NU's nickelback. (WAIT, I SHOULD HAVE USED NICKELBACK FOR THE RELEVANT MUSICAL SELECTION) It's a commodity to have. Take it away, MT:
What Hall does on this play is something you simply can't ask a linebacker to do successfully. He not only runs with the receiver going deep but also gets his head around, locates the ball, and makes just enough of a play to disrupt the catch. While modern defenses are more concerned than ever with defending the run from spread formations, the primary reason to bring in additional defensive backs remains the advantage they provide in coverage. What makes Hall's play here particularly impressive is that he is, in terms of the base defense, a safety and a big one at that; he was listed at 6-2, 210 for the Gator Bowl. A nickelback who can provide beef against the run and hold up in coverage is a nice asset.
He'll see the field against spread packages where the defense needs somebody capable of playing man defense but could also have to move up and make a play in the box.

Depth chart projection

We have him as Traveon Henry's backup, but that's disingenous. Technically, they're fighting for a safety spot, but they'll have different roles, with Henry more adept at doing ball-carriers dirty on early downs and Hall better at making plays in the passing game late.

More from Sippin' On Purple: