Emanuel Hall turns potential into reality as wideout for Mizzou Football

Missouri junior wideout Emanuel Hall had his breakout game in October at Lexington, Kentucky’s Kroger Field, turning his potential into a reality.

“The fans are against you, so you kind of work some energy, and I think it all played a part in how we went on to play,” Hall said.

In the final minute of the first half, Mizzou quarterback Drew Lock hooked up with Hall for a 58-yard touchdown.

“Coming into to the game, I was feeling really good,” Hall said after Mizzou’s 40-34 loss. “We took chances with the 50/50 ball more, and we trusted [Lock] and our playmaking abilities.”

Emanuel Hall carried that momentum into Athens the next week, where he caught a pair of 63-yard touchdown passes and finished with a career-high 141 receiving yards against the SEC East leading and fifth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs.

Emanuel Hall, a Franklin, Tennessee native, scored three of the team’s eight touchdowns in those two SEC road games.

“He’s got a unique skill set,” Tigers coach Barry Odom said. “He’s got good to great linear speed, and he has made some plays and tough catches.”

In a non-conference game against Idaho, he caught three passes for 80 yards and a touchdown.

While Mizzou dropped its first pair of conference road games, Hall’s midseason progression may stem from his familiarity and time invested into SEC atmospheres prior to college.

Hall’s mother, Shannon Simmons, works as a regulatory compliance analyst with the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The campus was home to several football camps and track meets that Hall and his older brother, Chaz Hawkins, competed in growing up.

“We had a lot of connections everywhere when it came to the SEC, and that allowed us to get some experience to see what collegiate athletics looks like,” Hawkins said. “Being part of an SEC country was great because you got exposed to a lot of the best athletes and rivalries in college sports.”

Vanderbilt was one of five SEC schools to extend an offer to Emanuel Hall. Ole Miss, Mississippi State and Kentucky also made heavy recruiting efforts for the Centennial High School product.

When signing day came in February 2015, Hall committed to Mizzou, the farthest SEC offer from his hometown. The decision was largely connected to Hall’s relationship with former receiving coach Pat Washington and Mizzou’s air-raid offense.

“The running back is kind of a prominent figure in a lot of SEC offenses, but Mizzou felt different to him,” Hawkins said. “He wanted what coach Washington was selling, and even though some coach turnover has affected the guys who were there originally, he still enjoys the fact that they throw the ball.”

Washington’s departure after the 2015 season was one of several challenges throughout Hall’s college career. It took Hall nearly a calendar year to reclaim a starting role he lost midway through last season, partially due to a September shoulder injury.

Hawkins, who competed at track and field at Duke University for four years and ran on a leg on relay teams that set multiple school records, has helped Hall through the grind of collegiate athletics on and off the field.

“I was able to traverse those types of circumstances and experiences, help Emanuel deal what he is currently dealing with at Mizzou, help him learn what it’s like to be a student before an athlete, and then excelling on the field,” Hawkins said.

Emanuel Hall has emerged as Lock’s primary deep-ball threat after the dismissal of sophomore Dimetrios Mason in late-September.

“He just knows how to get around people, whether it’s an inside release or an outside release,” Lock said. “If he can get [the defenders] hands off of him, he’s going to win every single time.”

Mizzou finishes up the campaign against four unranked conference opponents. The Tigers enter November with a winless SEC record, looking to avoid their first winless conference season since moving from the Big 12 in 2012.

“We just have to be more consistent all-around and make more plays to win games,” Hall said. “At the end of the day, it’s a team game, and you have to come back and continue to work.”

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Article by Joey Schneider

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