There’s a cool about Bowie State’s redshirt freshman quarterback Amir Hall, who waited patiently on the sidelines last season as his team played to within a game of the CIAA Championship.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Amir Hall is the CIAA’s top passer as the conference race starts. (Courtesy Photo – Bowie State/Lawrence Johnson)

Hall now calmly leads the high-octane Bulldogs offense that is on a record setting pace as they enter the heart of their conference schedule.

“He’s like J.J. from ‘Good Times,’” said Bowie State offensive coordinator Moses Ware. “He’s a calm leader who is becoming a better leader day to day.”

Bowie State’s offense is dynamite with the former Riverdale Baptist prospect at its helm.  The Bulldogs lead the CIAA with an average of 532 yards per game of total offense. Hall leads the conference in passing and is third in the nation with an average of 364.5 passing yards per contest heading into the second month of the season.

He is benefitting from the tested policy of grooming first-year student-athletes by keeping them on the sidelines. Bowie State has built depth through its entire roster by redshirting freshman players—especially quarterbacks. That practice helped Hall assume the reins of a championship contender without missing a beat.

“We felt we had two quarterbacks we could win a championship with when we started camp,” said head coach Damon Wilson.  “Through injury he earned the starting role and when you’ve got veteran leaders around you it takes some of the pressure off.”

Hall is fortunate that many of the key players that made the run to the 2015 CIAA North division championship are still in place. As he matures into the leader and personality of the team, his upper class offensive line is playing at an extremely high level. Their protection gives him a chance to spread the ball around to a group of talented explosive weapons.

“He’s still a work in progress,” Wilson said.  “Our offensive line is a veteran group who has put the time in and they are who we take our marching orders from.  They are doing a great job of protecting him so he can spread the ball around.”

His early success has not caught the Bulldogs staff by surprise.  From watching the team on the sideline last year, and through spring and preseason camp, Hall has grasped the nuances of playing quarterback at the college level. Wilson and Ware said they have watched Hall’s decision-making and discipline in the pocket improve as he masters their entire offensive package.

In addition to the maturity of his offensive line, Hall’s primary target has been wide receiver Nyme Manns. Manns, a redshirt senior, is a Division II all-America and Black College Hall of Fame Player of the Year candidate who leads the CIAA with an average of 120 yards per game. They’ve already connected for 28 receptions and 482 yards with four touchdowns, which ranks 11th nationally despite Mans catching only two passes in last week’s win over Shaw.

“He’s like a big Megatron out there,” Hall said, referring to recently-retired Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson. “He just goes up a makes all the tough catches.”

Hall may prove to be a transcendent, program-changing talent by the end of his career. He was not highly recruited while in high school despite playing for winning teams during his junior and senior years at Riverdale Baptist in Largo, Md. At 6 feet, 4 inches and 190 pounds with tremendous arm strength—and having met NCAA academic qualifying standards—he had Division I measurables that normally make recruiters salivate. However, they missed on this one, to the benefit of the Bulldogs.

“When I saw the video I couldn’t believe this kid was still available,” said Ware.  “Some coaches rely on magazines and scouting services to recruit their players. The experts missed on this one.”