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Scholar athlete: Older brother helps Hall excel

LAUREN WOOD | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Karl Hall, right, is a sophomore at Ferriday High School who runs track and plays football. His brother, Levon Brooks, left, said he tries to make it to every game he can if he’s not working. Brooks tries to stay on top of his younger brother about doing well with his studies. (Lauren Wood \ The Natchez Democrat)

 

NATCHEZ — When Karl Hall first expressed interest in playing football beyond high school, his older brother, Lavon Brooks, took it upon himself to help Hall out.

Now a sophomore at Ferriday High School, Hall is working toward fulfilling his dream of playing at the next level. And Hall said he has Brooks to thank for his academic success.

Hall, a safety and running back for the Trojans, said he is an A-B student, and thanks to Brooks keeping him in check about his grades, Hall said he’s been able to stay focused on sports.

“He keeps on top of me and keeps me out of trouble,” Hall said of his older brother. “He makes sure I am where I’m supposed to be.”

Brooks said he knew there would be a lot of hard work in the classroom for Hall if Hall really wanted to play college football.

“In order to get that done, he has to keep his grades up,” Brooks said. “I’m just trying to look out for him in that way.”

Although he mostly provides positive reinforcement, Brooks admitted there was one episode where Hall simply did not want to listen to Brooks at first.

“We got into a little argument about him not wanting to do his work,” Brooks said, “but ever since then, everything has been good.”

Hall said he doesn’t mind having his brother constantly on his back about doing homework because he knows it’s going to pay off down the road.

“I’m grateful I have someone older than me telling me what to do and what not to do,” Hall said.

Brooks said he knows he has to be strict with Hall in order for Hall to realize his potential in the classroom.

“(He may think) I’m coming down hard on him, but there are things you have to do in order to play ball, and making good grades is one of those things,” Brooks said.

Hall said playing sports and maintaining grades means less “down time,” but that’s something he’s willing to sacrifice.

“I know I have to do these things to get to college,” Hall said. “I have big dreams. I want to finish with a master’s degree.”

Hall said he might want to coach when he gets done with college, just because he enjoys the game of football so much. He also said he wants to be a lawyer, and the reason for that is simple.

“The money’s good,” Hall said.

Hall is currently participating in offseason workouts with the Trojans’ team, and he’s also running track, competing in the 200-meter dash and the 4X400-meter relay.

“Track is sort of an extension for football,” Hall said. “It helps me keep up my speed and stay in shape (during the offseason).”

Hall said he’s also focusing on getting stronger and more physical in the weight room, something that he hopes carries over onto the field this fall.

“Coach (Richard Oliver) always tells us, the game is won in the weight room,” Hall said. “There’s always a team that’s going to be physically better than you, so you just have to get stronger.”

Whatever he’s doing, Hall said he knows he has Brooks’ watchful eye keeping tabs on him, and Brooks said he always tries to encourage Hall to give 100 percent.

“I just tell him to work hard at what he does,” Brooks said. “If you have your mindset right, you can accomplish your goals. You just have to work hard at it.”