MOSCOW, Idaho – In his senior year at the University of Idaho, where four years of a disciplined approach to the classroom and the football field should have paid off in a sunset cruise to graduation, Ed Hall could still benefit from the 30-hour day.
He is a 2017 COSIDA Academic All-District 7 first-team member with a challenging major in mechanical engineering. He walked on to the Vandals and became a starting linebacker and captain, with 232 career tackles and four interceptions going into his last game. Yet in his final week of practice before Idaho finishes its season at Florida, Hall left the Kibbie Dome late Wednesday headed for a 6 p.m. class.
“This semester, every class has projects,” Hall said. “In material science, I have to finish a paper and submit it by Friday. I have a pump loop experiment in my senior lab. I will have a capstone project that will spill over into next semester.”
Hall has battled through injuries this year that might not have happened if his schedule had more time for sleeping and eating with nutrition in mind.
He has also had to summon the drive to finish a disappointing football season that opened with the goal of winning a Big Sky Conference championship. It closes with the Vandals sitting on four wins going into the finale with Florida, and with the gnawing disappointment that some of those losses were in part the result of the Vandals not showing up entirely ready to play. Idaho also struggled last year and won four games, but bringing consistent effort was not an issue.
“I’m not sure what changed,” Hall said.
But if life shows him disappointment, Hall’s response is to overwhelm it with ambition and enthusiasm. He came to Moscow from Chugiak, Alaska, determined to get as much out of Idaho as he could, academically and athletically, and he leaves with that goal largely intact. The football won-loss record could be better, but the enduring matter of forging relationships as teammates has been successful.
“This group of guys, I can call them 20 years down the road, and if I need something they will be there, and if they need something I will be there,” he said.
One of the people Hall has played next to, senior linebacker and defensive end Kaden Elliss, characterized his teammate.
“Ed, on the field, is silent,” Elliss said. “Off the field, he’s the goofiest guy ever. As soon as gets in the dome, he is down to business. He’s the most serious person. It’s actually terrifying on the field playing with him.”
“Kaden will do his ‘choo-hoo’ stuff when he goes on the field,” Hall said. “That’s not me. I’m not much of a celebrator either. I’ll slap a guy on the head if he makes a play.”
While Hall has prevailed against the rigor of a tough academic major, for one season it also all came together for him on the football field. He played on the Vandals team that won a 61-50 shootout over Colorado State in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in 2016.
“I got a nice little ring for it,” Hall said.
Hall will also remember the experience with a more unusual memento. The game trophy, fashioned around a glass bowl, was dropped after the game and shattered.
“I picked up a piece of it,” Hall said. “It’s at home in Alaska. I’ve been meaning to build a trophy case. But right now, it’s on a bookshelf.”
When he graduates this spring, Hall plans to put his mechanical engineering degree to work. Spokane or Boise would be his preferred destinations.
He and teammate and roommate, Idaho senior long snapper Alex Boatman, continue to be involved in an entrepreneurial venture with Chad Vorse, an electrical engineer in Pullman. Their portable shower, using filtered, recyclable water, is targeted toward the recreational vehicle market. The Forever Shower has already been awarded $25,000 in grants in business competition. But it is still in the design phase, Hall said.
“While there is a lot of work yet to do, I learned a lot of stuff this semester that will help with that,” Hall said.
In the immediate future, there is Florida, nationally ranked at No. 13.
“They’re athletes, like we are,” Hall said. “They’ve got talent, size and speed.
“I’ll execute my technique. I’ll do what I’ve been coached to do. Stay low. Strike them low to high.”
When his football career concludes after this week, Hall’s horizons might broaden a bit for his final semester. He plans to resume throwing the discus for the Idaho track team.
Recovering from football injuries precluded that the past two years, but as a freshman he managed a personal record of 140 feet. He would like to match the 160-foot PR he established with the lighter implement when he was in high school.
“Track’s like a vacation sport,” Hall said. “Maybe I can relax for once this spring.”
But this is Hall, after all.
“I can get a math minor if I take two more math classes,” he said.
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