Andre Hal earned plenty recognition during his days on the Port Allen High School team - now he’s making his mark on the collegiate level.
The Southeastern Conference’s 14 sports information directors voted Hal — a cornerback for Vanderbilt University — the league’s most underrated player.
The poll was published in a recent edition of the Birmingham News.
Hal was also named to the Athlon Sports 2013 Preseason first team All-SEC.
“It feels good to get recognition for the work I’ve done,” said Hal, who won multiple All-State and All-District honors as a running back for Port Allen. “We’ve worked hard this summer, we had a good season last year and I’m looking for one even better this year.”
Hal broke up 14 passes last season and chalked 36 solo tackles and two interceptions, both in Vandy’s 41-18 win over Tennessee.
His work in the secondary built the Commodores into one of the top ranking pass defenses in the NCAA.
Hal’s role in the secondary helped the Commodore defense become one of the best in college football. The Vandy pass defense gave up 191.8 yards during the 2012 season, placing Vandy third in the SEC and 14th in the nation.
“I’m very driven,” Hal said. “I do it to make my mom and everyone else proud. I want to put Port Allen on the map the way Tracey (Porter) did.”
Hal’s success came as no surprise to Port Allen head football coach Guy Blanchard.
“He’s a great kid, one of the highest character kids I’ve ever coached,” he said. “I’ve said this a thousand times: I’d give anything to have 11 of him. He was a student of the game and always very focused.”
Blanchard believes Hal will go one step further.
“I know he’ll live up to the honor and won’t let himself underachieve,” he said. “It’s going to be exciting next April when I sit up in front of the TV and hear his name called (in the NFL draft). He’s a truly special kid.”