COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) — When Daeshon Hall lined up as a freshman defensive end for Texas A&M in 2013, the 6-foot-6 former basketball player wasn't much of a threat, tipping the scales at just over 200 pounds.
Four years and about 60 pounds later, Hall has morphed into a star for the eighth-ranked Aggies . And his performance in their win over South Carolina on Saturday when fellow defensive end and likely first-round draft pick Myles Garrett was out with a leg injury earned Hall SEC defensive lineman of the week honors.
As the Aggies prepare to host No. 9 Tennessee in a matchup of unbeaten teams on Saturday, they'll need another big game from Hall, especially if Garrett sits out again. Coach Kevin Sumlin refused to give any information on Garrett's health on Tuesday.
Hall had two quarterback hits, six tackles, two sacks and 3 1/2 tackles for losses against the Gamecocks. His work left him with a team-leading 8 1/2 tackles for losses and his five sacks tie Garrett for the team lead.
Sumlin said the key to Hall's improvement comes down to the work he's put in to bulk up to a size appropriate for playing on the defensive line. He said Hall shouldn't have played as a freshman, but that it was a necessity because they didn't have anyone else to do it.
"Should have redshirted, but we had to play him," Sumlin said. "Four years later all that experience is a big deal. Size is a big deal. Strength is a big deal. He's a developmental player. Happy he's hung in there. He's a tough guy. Last week he was fabulous."