First off, I have to apologize for making you all wait for the much anticipated “WSU Recruiting Fails n’ Tails PT 2”, because I just know everyone was losing sleep over this! Life has been a bit busy this summer, as I’ve been doing some wild land firefighting this summer up in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Stepped a little out of my realm with this gig, but it truly has been a life changing summer, and I wouldn’t of traded it for anything…. well that’s a lie, Cougs winning a National Championship would be awesome! With all that being said though, I’m ready to get back to my passion, and that’s writing about some Cougar Football!
Just in case you missed the first “Fails n’ Tails”, let me fill you in about the series. This will be a summer series highlighting the best recruits in Washington State history, who just never panned out. Be it by not qualifying, selling drugs, never seeing the field, or transferring to another school, I will be highlighting those players who came and developed so much hype, but never seemed to do anything with it.
So without wasting anymore of your time, I bring you the tail of Arkelon Hall.
After three straight 10 win seasons from 2000-2003, the Cougs failed to even make it to a bowl game in 2004, going 5-6 (3-5 in the Pac-10). Despite the lousy season, cutting their win total in half, Bill Doba somehow convinced the 8th best prep QB in the land, Arkelon Hall, (according to ESPN) to come to Ol’Wazzu.
Hall was a highly touted recruit coming out of California’s Edison High School, where as a two year started he threw for 56 touchdowns, and nearly 5,000 yards. He claimed many accolades throughout his high school career, most notably joining the likes of Mark Sanchez at the 2004 EA sports Elite 11.
With all those accolades coming his way, so did the all the schools hoping to land his talents. Doba and company had to fend off some of the top coaches in the country, including Nick Saban and his then defending National Champion, LSU Tigers. In fact he was so committed to being a Coug, he even wrote a letter to all the schools pursuing him, stating that he wasn’t interested in their programs, and he was firm on his commitment to WSU.
The guy won the hearts of Coug Nation before he even took a snap of his final season as a high schooler!
2005 Season: Hall came in to a crowded QB room his first year on campus. With Alex Brink, Josh Swogger, Gary Rogers, and Cole Morgan all trying to become the latest and greatest WSU QB, Arkelon had his work cut out for him.
It ended up being the red shirt sophomore, Brink, who won the starting job over the elder Swogger, who would later transfer to Montana. Hall wound up red shirting his first year on campus and would try to take the starting gig from Mr.Brink the next season.
2006 Season: Hall ended up being a long shot to start heading into fall camp, and found himself competing with Cole Morgan for 3rd string behind starter Alex Brink, and back up Gary Rogers.
Before the season could even get started, Hall suffered a broken fibula on the first scrimmage of fall camp.
Finding himself in a boot most of the year, Hall seemed quite positive heading into the 2007 season. You can read more about in this cougfan.com interview he did back in 2006.
The Breakup: The breakup makes this story sound way worst than it really was. Arkelon just fell victim to this horrid thing called school and bad grades. Weather it was the broken fibula distracting him, or maybe it was a girlfriend hogging all the attention; Hall just couldn’t make the grade, and was forced to take the Junior College route.
What could have turned into an All American career at QB U, turned into a rather disappointing one for him and the Cougar faithful.
After a year at junior college, Hall found himself at Memphis for the final two years of his eligibility, and got sporadic playing time, battling a thumb injury throughout it. However, despite the injury he still wound up ranking 10th in passing yards in Memphis history.
These days you can find Hall jumping from team to team, and even league to league; going from the Arena Football League, to the Indoor Football league (yeah, I know….same thing). Any rate, from the little information available on these leagues and teams, it seems like he’s having a pretty successful career there in the small confines of the AFL/IFL.
In my many day dreams about Cougar football over the years, the Arkelon Hall story runs through my mind quite often. What if he could have stayed healthy, made the grades, and came in to lead this team after Brink graduated? He certainly had the talent, and most certainly could’ve won the starting job from Kevin Lopina and Gary Rogers. I know Paul Wulff would’ve appreciated a healthy Arkelon Hall!