Logan Hall headlines UH Pro Day, Marcus Jones has busy schedule

Logan Hall grabbed the bar and pumped out bench press after bench press, displaying strength, endurance, and explosiveness. The University of Houston standout defensive lineman and Senior Bowl all-star game selection didn’t stop until he had completed 25 repetitions at the Cougars’ Pro Day.

At 6-foot-6, 288 pounds, Hall represents an intriguing combination of size, speed, and pass-rushing skills. He recorded 6 sacks last season for the Coogs, and he put on a show with his change of direction and mobility in positional drills as every NFL team attended his campus pro day workout Friday except for the defending Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams.

Hall worked out in front of Texans general manager Nick Caserio and director of personnel James Liipfert, Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams, Buffalo Bills executive Lake Dawson, Las Vegas Raiders scout Calvin Branch, New Orleans Saints executive C.J. Leak, New York Giants senior personnel executive Kyle O’Brien, Tennessee Titans director of college scouting Jon Salge, Minnesota Vikings director of college scouting Mike Sholiton, longtime Pittsburgh Steelers scout Mark Gorscak and Washington Commanders executive vice president of player personnel Marty Hurney.

“Logan Hall when I first got here I tried to talk him into moving to tackle because he was so clumsy I thought was going to hurt people in practice because he was falling down all the time,” Houston coach Dana Holgorsen said. “He said, ‘No, I’m good.’ Then, he gained 60 pounds, matured, and turned into what I think is a first-round draft pick.

“Don’t be surprised if he isn’t drafted late in the first round like Payton Turner was. Logan did a good job today. Obviously, I was wrong. He was right. He’s going to be a first-round or second-round draft pick.”

Between Hall’s rare explosiveness for a big man, relentless pursuit, and growing repertoire of pass-rushing moves, he has emerged as a rising NFL draft prospect. He’s graded anywhere from a late first-round draft target by scouts to somewhere within the top 50 selections. Hall recorded 13 tackles for losses last season, including three for a loss against Tulane with a pair of sacks.

“Logan Hall is an excellent player, a potentially great defensive lineman,” an AFC scout said. “I think he could go in the first round depending on how players come off the board, but he’s very deserving and very disruptive. I like his game a lot, and I have gotten very good reports about his character, too.”

At the Senior Bowl all-star game,  Hall excelled after setting his ambitions on proving to NFL scouts that he’s deserving of following his former college defensive line teammates Ed Oliver and Turner as the latest first-round draft pick from UH.

Turner was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the first round last year. There have been some comparisons between Hall and his friend, with Turner more of an edge pass rusher. Oliver is an extremely athletic defensive tackle and Outland Trophy winner, who Buffalo selected ninth overall in 2019.

“Payton is like a big brother to me, and Ed is a little older, but we’re cool,” Hall said. “We’ve had a couple conversations when he comes back to town to train. He’s a great guy and my ears are always open and trying to learn when he comes around.

“Those guys put UH on the map. They give me a lot of motivation. It proves that guys from UH can do it and play at the highest level. I want to dominate like they did. That gives me a lot of confidence.”

Hall primarily lines up inside over the guard, manhandling linemen not capable of matching his violent charge. He also lined up at defensive end and nose tackle, displaying his trademark versatility.

Hall utilizes a jab and swat, a swim move, and is fluid and fast in pursuit. Furthermore, he has the requisite strength to shove people around at the line of scrimmage. He has the speed to chase down running backs on sweeps and outside-zone runs.

Hall finished his career with 19.5 tackles for losses (97 tackles) and 7 sacks.

“He’s one of the best defensive tackles I’ve ever coached,” Holgorsen said. “He’s going to play for a long time. That’s a special young man that has a bright future.”

Hall emulates NFL defensive linemen, including the San Francisco 49ers’ Arik Armstead and the Indianapolis Colts’ DeForest Buckner. In college, defensive coordinator Doug Belk coached Hall.

“I’m grateful for him because I feel he helped put me in this position, and I’m grateful for all of the coaches at UH,” Hall said. “They put me on the path to greatness.”

A first-team All-AAC selection, Hall was a lanky 6’5″, 218 pounds in high school. He has steadily gained weight and strength. Some NFL scouts view him as a hybrid defensive tackle and defensive end.

“Logan is a great young man with a ton of talent,” agent Drew Pittman said. “He’s worked extremely hard to reach this point."

Consensus All-American cornerback and kick returner Marcus Jones is making a sound recovery from surgeries on each shoulder. He expects to make a full recovery by training camp.

Jones returned 4 kickoffs for touchdowns last season and intercepted 5 passes. He tied the NCAA all-time record with 9 kickoff returns for touchdowns, including his two seasons at Troy.

Jones wasn’t able to work out Friday. However, he has upcoming top-30 visits with the Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Las Vegas Raiders, a medical recheck on April 13, the Carolina Panthers, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to a league source.

“It’s real tough, but I’m here for my teammates,” Jones said. “I want to see them progress. My shoulders are doing good. I’m six weeks out on the left one and three months out on the right one. I will be 100 percent healthy by training camp. That’s the main thing.”

Jones met with the Texans extensively after the workout along with the Falcons and Chicago Bears defensive coordinator Alan Williams.

“The Texans talked to me mainly about getting healthy and staying patient and staying on the path,” Jones said. “My son lives an hour away from here. It would be great to play in Houston. It definitely means a lot. I want to be a professional athlete, and that means staying on the path, staying consistent, and being healthy.”

Jones has also played wide receiver. He won the Paul Hornung Award as college football’s most versatile player. Jones was also named the American Athletic Conference’s Special Teams Player of the Year and was the school’s first consensus All-American since Ed Oliver.

“Marcus is Marcus,” Holgorsen said. “He’s arguably the best returner that’s played, and I’ve coached Tavon Austin and Wes Welker, two of the better ones. He’s arguably better at that, in addition to being able to play both offense and defense.

“We thought not being able to work out might hurt him, but you put the video on and you can see what he can do and you meet with him and that blows you away. After they meet him, they figure out he can do what he wants to do and be successful. The skill set speaks for itself.”

Pass rusher David Anenih had 4 sacks, 9 tackles for losses, and 10 quarterback hits last season. He has recorded 20.5 career sacks.

Anenih ran the 40-yard dash in 4.66 seconds at Houston’s Pro Day, bench pressed 225 pounds 25 times, and had a 37/5-inch vertical leap. Anenih said his best fit is in a 3-4 defense. Individually, he met with Vance Joseph and Atlanta Falcons outside linebackers coach Ted Monachino.

Anenih’s weight has gone up to 254 pounds at the East-West Shrine all-star game from 240 pounds during the season to 247 pounds at his pro day with a goal of playing at 250 pounds. He is set to attend the Texans’ local prospect day Monday and also has a top-30 visit with the Dallas Cowboys.

“I can move, I can move well,” Anenih said. “I showed I can move well for a guy my height and weight and my size. My movements, backpedaling and shuffling, aren’t an issue for me. This means a lot to me because ever since I was a kid I dreamed of this. Finally, it’s here. My dreams are about to finally come true.”

Meanwhile, center Kody Russey bench pressed 225 pounds 38 times, ran the 40-yard dash in 5.06 seconds, and had a 30-inch vertical leap.

Per NFL scouts, outside linebacker Deontay Anderson (6-foot-1, 218 pounds) ran 4.56 to 4.69 seconds. He had a 37-inch vertical leap, a 10-1 broad jump, and also performed safety drills. Anderson is drawing interest from the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks, Texans, Steelers, and Bills, per league sources.

McNeese State defensive end Isaiah Chambers, a UH transfer, wore a shirt with his career statistics: 27.5 sacks and 41.5 tackles for losses.

He’s a two-time Football Championship Subdivision first-team All-American who had 18 sacks at McNeese State.

“I had to dominate at that level,” Chambers said. “I did that, I accomplished my goal.”

Aaron Wilson is a Pro Football Network reporter and analyst and a contributor at Sports Talk 790.

Photo: Houston Cougars

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