I am old enough to remember when Antonio Hall was hitting opposing defensive linemen as well as he was hitting the piano keys. Hall anchored the Kentucky offensive line at right tackle for four years, protecting Jared Lorenzen's blindside. He is still the highest rated signee that Kentucky has ever signed, being a five-star prospect with a .9946 rating as a high school senior. Antonio was a mountain of a man, standing 6'5" tall and weighing 305 pounds. Thankfully, he passed those excellent genetics down to his son, Nikolas.
When Nikolas Hall signed with Kentucky last year, his addition was overshadowed by what was thought of at the time as the giant recruiting victory in signing Kiyaunta Goodwin. However, Goodwin is no longer on the roster and Nikolas Hall could very well be the starting right tackle when we play football against Ball State. He's got the physical gifts that were handed down genetically from his parents. Nikolas Hall stands 6'6" and weighs 310 pounds, a virtual carbon copy of his father. He is also very athletic, throwing discus and shot put for his high school track and field team. This athleticism likely comes from his mother, former Kentucky Track and Field athlete, Candace Shipp.
The former four-star recruit also has one huge advantage: a father who played the position at the highest level. The elder Hall was an All-American honorable mention in 2002 and first team All-SEC in 2002 and 2003. He started 45 consecutive games for the Wildcats. He has also coached football at Canton (OH) McKinley High School. All of these things make Antonio a great mentor for Nikolas. Nikolas redshirted at Kentucky last season and has the physical and mental tools to make a push for the starting position at right tackle this spring.
There is no expected starter at the right tackle position for Kentucky, as Jeremy Flax and Deondre Buford both started games there, with mixed results. Several others on the roster who were expected to contribute at that position did not come through. While there are several incoming recruits who can play that position, Nikolas has the advantage. He has been in the weight room and film room for over a year. He knows the offense and knows the coaching staff. He is physically gifted and has a head for the game. Most importantly, he has a father who played the exact position he plays, at a high level, at the same school. This gives him a great chance to see the field a lot in 2023.