Trae Hall’s biggest play as a wide receiver for the University of New Mexico came on his final snap of the season last year against UNLV.
It was a sensational 21-yard reception that featured a broken tackle – but included, unfortunately, a broken left ankle in the first quarter of a 31-17 home loss to the Rebels on Nov. 6.
Shortly after the season-ending injury, Hall attempted to hop on one leg off the field. He remembered how coach Danny Gonzales has told players to do their best to always come off the field without assistance.
Fast forward to now. Hall has regained his speed, the ability to cut and has shown he’ll be able to contribute consistently among a deep group of wide receivers.
“Overall the healing process, it was a success,” said Hall, who was idle for six months during this offseason. “I just want to thank the trainers and doctors, and for the players and coaches motivating me to still be here, Coach G keeping me here.”
Coach Danny Gonzales has been impressed with Hall’s determination.
“If you would’ve seen him in May compared to now you wouldn’t believe it’s the same guy or the same injury,” Gonzales said. “In May he was limping like it was a week old. … He’s further than we’ve expected right now. He’s done some really good things. I’m happy with his progress and where’s he’s at.”
Hall’s comeback hasn’t been easy. He said he experienced great pain. After the ankle came out of a cast, he still had to use crutches to get around.
“That was terrible,” he said. “But I had to fight through anything I had to do.”
Hall, recruited to UNM by then-coach Bob Davie because of his triple-option skills, spent his first three seasons (one year as a redshirt) as a quarterback out of Henderson High in Texas. He opened last year as the backup to then-starter Terry Wilson, but was converted to wide receiver after the first month. He caught a 21-yard touchdown pass from Wilson in a 38-10 loss to Air Force on Oct. 2.
Among the Lobos’ current receivers is freshman Jah’Mar Sanders, who is similar to Hall. Sanders, from Port Arthur, Texas, likewise was recruited by UNM as a quarterback but has moved to receiver.
Hall did not hesitate when he was asked what advice he had for Sanders.
“Always push through,” Hall said. “Don’t let anything try to keep you down or hold you back. Just keep moving forward, do your job and fight through the adversity. There’s going to be times when you feel down, but you gotta pick yourself up and keep moving.”