When he arrived on the Alabama campus in 1965, Mike Hall’s ambition was clear: He wanted to be the next Lee Roy Jordan. A native of the Birmingham suburb of Tarrant, Hall was a ferocious tackler who became a three-year starter for the Crimson Tide—one of only five linebackers during the Bryant era to earn First Team All-America honors. He was one of the leading tacklers on the stingy 1966 defense, which gave up just 37 points as the Crimson Tide finished a perfect season but was denied a historic third consecutive national championship. As a senior in 1968, he was named co-captain of a team that finished 8-3, losing two regular season games by a total of three points.
CR: How did growing up in Tarrant shape you?
Hall: It was quite a nice place to grow up back then. It was a blue-collar community. Everybody looked after each other. If you were a kid and you did something on one end of town, something you wasn’t supposed to do, by the time you got home, your parents knew it. And you’d be lucky if somebody didn’t jerk you up and…stripe your legs. Then when you got home, you’d get another one. It was a real good community, real close-knit. Our junior high school [football] program was a feeder program for the high school. Ran the same offense. We were in the [Jefferson] county system, playing Fairfield, McAdory and teams like that, and the [Birmingham] city system kind of looked down their noses at the county system…We had a ballclub in junior high, when I was in the eighth grade, that went undefeated, except for a practice game with the high school B team. The core of that team, when we were seniors in high school, won the [Class 4A] state championship [awarded by The Birmingham News]
CR: How did you find a home at linebacker?
Hall: I started out playing fullback and linebacker. [Coming into my senior year] I gained a little weight and got a little slow [so the coaches] moved me to offensive guard. Then about the second or third game into the ’64 season, I intercepted a pass against Minor and ran over just about all of ’em and made a touchdown. Shortly thereafter, I was [moved to] fullback and finished the year out at fullback and linebacker.
CR: How big were you at that point?
Hall: Finished up high school at 6-foot, 210 pounds.
CR: That made you big by Alabama standards at the time.
Hall: Yes. Compared to what Coach Bryant was recruiting, I was pretty good size, ’cause he had a lot of folks who were 175 to 195 pounds.
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