HONOLULU -- Ahmard Hall fought for his country, a football scholarship at Texas and the national championship. He's now competing for a job in the NFL.
The Texas fullback is one of the 104 college football all-stars trying to impress pro scouts this week before Saturday's Hula Bowl.
Years before the 5-foot-11, 235-pound Hall donned a Longhorns helmet, he wore a helmet for the Marines while serving in Afghanistan and Kosovo.
"I don't like to go into it too much," he said. "It's
something you want to forget, but you never can."
Hall, a sergeant, joined the Marine Corps after starring in
football, baseball and track and field at Angleton High in Texas.
Academic problems prevented him from joining a Division I football
"It was difficult. If I wanted to give up, I would've never
played football again," he said. "But I didn't want to give up.
My dreams were just shattered for the time being."
The 26-year-old Hall said the Marine Corps helped straighten him
out, teaching him discipline and "taking care of your business as
a man and not depending on someone else."
After four years of active duty, Hall attended Texas on the G.I.
Bill and joined the football team as a walk-on.
Hall didn't see much playing time his junior year, but was still chosen to lead the Longhorns out of the tunnel carrying the U.S. flag at Arkansas on the three-year anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
This season, which was capped with Texas' dramatic win over Southern California in the Rose Bowl for the national title, Hall had one rush for 10 yards and three receptions for 42 yards and a touchdown. He was primarily used as a blocker in Texas'
record-setting offense that racked up 3,574 yards on the ground.
Hall was also selected by the media as the Big 12 Sportsperson of the Year, an honor given to an athlete who displays an extraordinary degree of sportsmanship and community service. He
helped spearhead a drive to collect items for Marines serving in
Iraq. He's also active with helping veterans.
Hall, 26, is married and has 3-year-old son, and often served as a role model and big brother to many of his Texas teammates.
"Anybody that goes and serves this country, then comes back and fulfills his dream to play college football and gets a degree, of course I look up to him," Longhorns defensive tackle Larry Dibbles
said. "Football is a game. What's he done in the past is far from