Texas Longhorns freshman safety Jason Hall has been spending time working with the first team over the last week, senior cornerback Quandre Diggs confirmed on Saturday morning in a media availability.
Head coach Charlie Strong has questioned his senior leadership multiple times since the start of fall camp, but Diggs said that he's spending time coaching up Hall, who just arrived on campus during the summer.
"I'm telling him, you have got to stay focused," Diggs said. "You can't settle. I started since I got here, so I am able to talk to him and tell him things like that."
Diggs and defensive coordinator Vance Bedford traded nicknames once the Texas alum arrived on campus with Strong in January and the freshmen defensive backs have acquired some of their own.
At 6'2 and 207 pounds, Hall is one of the biggest safeties on the Texas roster, so it's no surprise that he's earned the moniker "Big Horse."
A Big Horse in the secondary may be exactly what the Horns need.
With the suspension of senior safety Josh Turner and the graduation of Adrian Phillips, the Horns have been looking for a player to step up at the position.
Sophomore Adrian Colbert hasn't answered the bell, a disappointing development given the massive talent the Mineral Wells product possesses, leaving walk-on sophomore Dylan Haines starting with the second team in the Orange-White game during the spring and with the ones at times during the fall.
And while the story of Haines is a potentially incredible one that will likely play out with snaps this fall, the lack of a scholarship player stepping up into that role is an indictment of development under the previous staff and recruiting at the position -- consider that former Texas target Jamal Adams is contending for a starting role at LSU at the moment.
So even though senior Mykkele Thompson has spent some time at cornerback this fall, he's the prospective starter at one safety position, leaving Hall, Haines, and others battling for the other spot when Texas kicks off against North Texas in less than two weeks.
Or perhaps Hall and Haines could earn the starting nod if Thompson ends up playing at one of the cornerback positions in the nickel personnel packages.
In high school, Hall ran a 4.73 40, turned in a 4.31 shuttle time, and posted a 31.4-inch vertical at a Nike NFTC -- not exactly astounding testing times, though there are plenty of reasons why he might not have turned in his best effort on that day.
But what those numbers indicate is an athlete whose athleticism may not transfer particularly well to a testing environment, but who can cover ground in the open field and make plays in man coverage. Combined with his long arms, size, and mass, those attributes can translate to production on the field, especially since he can finish plays with physicality and a penchant for attacking the football and knocking it loose.
A consensus three-star prospect rated on the low end of the three-star spectrum, Hall didn't manage to crack the top 100 safeties rated by 247Sports in his class.
So just a few months ago, he was viewed as a long-term prospect at the best and a non-contributor at worst.
Now, he's in position to see the field this fall and could even come out with the starting unit when the defense takes the field for the first time this season.