By John P. Lopez
Dante Hall always was told he was too small. He’d never make it. He should try another sport.
But through determination, supportive family, and incredible talent, the 5-8, 190-pound Hall became a Texas A&M football great, a Kansas City Chiefs legend and a member of the NFL’s 2000-2010 All-Decade Team.
“My number one challenge was my stature,” Hall said. “It was a challenge from the very start in junior high, all the way through my time in the NFL. My durability, meaning could I withstand the cumulative hits throughout a season, was also always in question because of my size.”
Hence, The Dante Hall Award – benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston – will recognize college football’s best all-around offensive contributor who literally beats long odds.
CBS Radio Houston and Hall announced the unique award Wednesday on the daily sports talk show Hall now does with John Lopez and Cody Stoots on SportsRadio 610.
“It’s an amazing feeling and I feel honored,” Hall said. “To have an award named in my honor means that all the hard work, the pain, the injuries, the sweat and the tears, were appreciated. That’s all any athlete can ask for.”
The “X-Factor Trophy” will be presented during bowl week in Houston. Candidates for The Dante Hall Award must take the majority of their snaps on the offensive side of the ball and also participate on special teams.
Most important, candidates must be listed in official depth charts as standing under 6-feet tall.
A selection committee comprised of former players and coaches, along with select media who cover college football will vote on the annual winner will vote on the award. Three finalists will be invited to Houston, Tx. in late-December, where an award ceremony hosted by CBS Radio Houston will reveal the winner.
“What is says about these particular candidates is that they possess a considerable amount of moxie and self-confidence,” Hall said. “I always tell young athletes to prepare as if you KNOW that your opportunity is coming, because eventually,it will. And when it does, you must take full advantage of that opportunity.”
Raised by his mother in Houston, Hall became known as the “X-Factor” and, “The Human Joystick” for his explosive playmaking abilities.
As a collegian, Hall was a four-year starter at Texas A&M University, accumulating 3,078-yards from scrimmage and 1,629-yards as a return man for the Aggies. For his career, Hall averaged 7.6-yards every time he touched the ball and was a member of the 1998 Big 12 Championship Team.
As a professional, Hall was named to the 2000-2010 NFL All-Decade Team, twice earning first-team All-Pro honors, and finishing his career with 14,386-yards and 24 touchdowns. Hall owns seven Kansas City Chiefs records and remains known as one of the NFL’s all-time greatest kick- and punt-returners despite his smallish stature.
Raised by a single-mother, Hall always recognized the challenges and obstacles facing single-parent families of meager means. Especially in an ultra-competitive era of youth sports and activities, Hall hopes the award named in his honor will inspire many more opportunities for children to claim their dreams.
“Having the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston involved aligns with my belief that the children of today are vital resources for our future,” Hall said. “We need to nurture these young kids in every way possible.”
For more than six decades, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston has been the region’s leading youth-development organization, empowering low-income young people in ways that positively impact their lives and improve their chances of achieving academic and economic success.
Long-renowned as the positive place for kids, the Clubs serve more than 10,000 children and teens aged 6- to 17-years-old, many of whom have few other positive relationships or dependable resources in their lives.
“The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston is honored to have been selected by the Dante Hall Award committee as the beneficiary of this first-ever recognition of College Football’s best all-around offensive player under six-feet tall,” said Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston President and CEO, Kevin R. Hattery. “In addition to the financial proceeds, which will benefit hundreds of kids and teens involved in Boys & Girls Clubs throughout greater Houston, the Dante Hall Award reflects the character and determination we strive to instill in our Club members every day and are proud to be associated with this unique award.“
CBS Radio Houston backs the award with an array of programming and community resources.
“We are proud to support Dante Hall and The X-Factor Award,” Sports Radio 610 program director Ryan McCredden said. “Dante’s performance on the field and his work off the field make this award and the beneficiary behind it a perfect fit. He always was a great teammate and the same is true here with our Sports Radio 610 team. Every year we all will be proud to recognize the ‘too small’ player, and celebrate someone who reflects Dante’s grit and determination.”