If football weren't even a part of the equation, Cal Poly might very well have been a perfect collegiate landing spot for Zion Hall.
Hall, a speedy wide receiver who transferred from Ridgeview to Garces Memorial High School for his senior season, had his eyes on the school for some time. An aspiring civil engineer, he figured he'd thrive academically at Poly, which has been ranked as a top-10 engineering school by US News.
But Hall, who exploded for 70 catches, 893 yards and eight touchdowns in his junior season at Ridgeview in 2019, was also looking for an opportunity to continue his football career, and quickly found Poly to be an ideal athletic fit as well. And just five weeks after receiving an offer, he verbally committed to the Mustangs on Wednesday.
The quick turnaround was sparked by a strong relationship with Mustang offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Nick Edwards, one forged almost immediately after the two first met.
“(Coach Edwards and I) texted all the time," Hall said. "We just talked on the phone, we built a relationship, we talked about Call of Duty. We just really had a regular, genuine relationship between a player and a coach which is something that stood out to me."
There was also a strong local component pushing Hall to San Luis Obispo. Having spent years training at California Recruits, a Bakersfield-based organization run by Dejon Jernagin, Hall has been long-time friends with Dejon's son Isaiah Jernagin, a defensive back who committed to Poly prior to the 2019 season.
“I’ve been playing with or against him since I was eight," Hall said of Isaiah. "I know that when I get on campus, he’s going to be somebody that’s going to guide me through the college program.”
All these elements ultimately made the final decision for Hall, who also had an offer from FBS Nevada, an easy one.
"It just all clicked," he said. "They made me feel like family instantly."