If Gilbert Higley senior running back Draycen Hall wasn’t thrilled enough Wednesday when he was the only Arizona high school player named to USA Today Sports’ preseason All-American football team, it got better on Thursday afternoon.

Hall opened up a piece of mail from the University of Arizona, and it was an official scholarship offers. 

It was his first from a major college.

“I don’t know if it was wishful thinking,” Higley coach Eddy Zubey said. “I knew that UA was recruiting him. But I didn’t know they were going to offer him. He opened up and wow.”

The news on Twitter prompted a return text from a Stanford coach to Zubey, who had been bugging Stanford coaches for a while about Hall without any responses.

“The Stanford (assistant coach) texted me back after Draycen tweeted he got offered by UA,” Zubey said. “It’s funny how you get one, they all get going.”

Hall was at practice Thursday and couldn’t be immediately reached for comment on the Pac-12 offer.

On Wednesday, Hall said about the USA Today recognition: “It’s actually really surprising. I wasn’t at The Opening. It was a surprise.”

But Hall earned it after a remarkable junior season in which he ran for 2,298 yards and 29 touchdowns in his first season at tailback. Hall, 5-foot-8, 170 pounds, began last year with a splash: 344 yards, four TDs, in a 63-36 win over Cottonwood Mingus.

He had a total of 40 touchdowns, including six receiving and five returning kicks.

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Hall is one of the state’s more versatile athletes with a background in wrestling and track and field. He has the outside speed to outrun defenders. But he also is tough between the tackles with a quick burst and toughness. He can catch passes and return kickoffs. He was a slot receiver before coach Eddy Zubey moved Hall into the backfield last year out of need.

“To me, I’m not worried about it,” Hall said about the All-American status. “I just want to get to state.”

Before UA’s mailed offer, Hall’s only offers were from Navy, Army, Air Force, San Diego and all of the Ivy League schools.

Zubey said that Hall, who has a 4.1 grade-point average, has made Stanford his dream school.

To suggest human-interest story ideas and other news, reach Obert at [email protected] or 602-316-8827. Follow him at twitter.com/azc_obert.


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