Many years ago the late great Dean Smith was coaching basketball at North Carolina, and doling out life lessons to his players. One of his on the court lessons was that after a made basket, the player who put the ball in the hoop was to give a point of recognition to the player who threw him the pass. Even today, you can see this tradition continue to take place on basketball courts across the country. A brief 270 miles from UNC, a group of orange and purple clad men have been pointing a particular passer for the last four years.
Rod Hall spent his high school days in Augusta Georgia as a standout basketball and football player. In 2010, he earned All-State honors at receiver when he put up over 1200 yards receiving and 13 touchdowns. Despite his impressive statistics, no major Division 1 football teams offered him a scholarship. He decided to commit to Clemson University on a full ride basketball scholarship that same year.
The 6’1’’ 205 pound point guard averaged 9.2 points per game this past season and was looking to continue his basketball career overseas before NFL teams started to call. Around 10 teams picked up the phone and cited that his highlight video on YouTube peaked their interest. Surprised, Hall began training for his audition to the six NFL teams scheduled to visit Clemson’s indoor practice facility. These teams included the wide receiver needy: New Orleans Saints, Cleveland Browns, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs, and our very own Carolina Panthers.
The workout supposedly went well, it is said he caught passes cleanly, ran well (until he suffered a hamstring injury), and sprinted for a 4.55 40 yard dash. These remarks are quite impressive considering he hasn't caught a meaningful football since high school. Still a long shot to be drafted, Hall now has a plethora of options for his future. He can still chose basketball and fly over to Europe for a pro career, enter a graduate program and play a year of football at the college level, or try to stick to a rookie camp/practice squad.
The Panthers are in need of some help at receiver, and Gettleman is not leaving a single stone unturned. Before the questions of whether he could make it on our practice squad, or if he could develop to a solid role player within the next few seasons are answered. He must answer the question: basketball or football? If he does decide to focus on football, it’ll be worth monitoring his name post NFL draft. Because if Gettleman feels he can contribute to the team, it’ll be enough for me to get a little excited, and hopefully the rest of Panther Nation will feel the same way.
Check out the highlight video that sparked NFL interest below.