"How did Alabama get Prince Hall?" West Head Coach John Barnes asked Wednesday following his team's practice for the game, which will kick off at noon CST Saturday from the Alamodome with national television coverage by NBC. "Are they doing more national recruiting now?"
Actually, Barnes is in a good position to know because his son, quarterback Jimmy Barnes, who is playing in the All-American Bowl, is also committed to the Crimson Tide.
Coach Barnes said he is very familiar with Hall. "He is a fine player," the coach said.
One of the offensive linemen for the West squad is also from Moreno Valley, but did not play with Hall. While Hall attends Moreno Valley High School, Rodney Picou, a 6-4, 300-pound lineman who is headed to Nebraska, attended Canyon Springs High School in Moreno Valley.
"I met Prince when I first moved there," Picou said. "We've been friends a long time. We grew up playing basketball together. And we played in the California-Florida all-star game together. We still talk and try to stay close. He is a real good player and he did real well in the California-Florida game."
Picou said Canyon Springs and Moreno Valley tied 10-10 last season. The left guard said he and Hall tangled a few times in the game. "I got him real good one time," Picou said. Picou then added, "But he got me real good a couple of times."
Picou said it didn't surprise him that Hall would leave California to play for Alabama.