Hometown: London, Ont.
Statistics: 25 games, 68.5 total tackles, four tackles for loss, 15 pass breakups, seven interceptions, three sacks, one forced fumble
While the pattern of decals in the shape of a cross on the front of his helmet is a symbol of Noah Hallett’s devotion to faith and family, you might forgive his opponents for taking it as the mark of a fearsome crusader.
An instinctual player with a high football IQ, Hallett has gained a reputation for being one of the most productive ballhawks in the OUA. He excels in coverage, but has never shied away from the physical side of the sport.
“I can go up and get it, but I’m pretty physical as well. I don’t mind coming down into the box and making hits,” said Hallett.
Hallett is one of the most versatile defensive back prospects in the 2020 CFL Draft. The McMaster product is a full-field player who feels he can contribute anywhere a CFL team asks him to.
“I think I can play anywhere, depending on what defensive system they like to run. Even at nickel, if they needed me to put on some weight and play SAM,” said Hallett. “Any of the defensive back position, I think I can make it work.”
While CFL teams may debate where to slot Hallett into their depth chart, it wasn’t long ago that his university career — let alone a professional one — seemed uncertain.
The London, Ont. native fell in love with football at an early age, but that love was rarely reciprocated by teams.
“I was always told that I was too small, but it was something that I really wanted so I kept pursuing it,” said Hallett.
The high school receiver was made two scholarship offers from McMaster and Toronto, where his brother was already playing. Despite that lack of national acclaim, Hallett ingratiated himself to coaches south of the border through a series of recruiting camps.
Those connections led to a priority walk-on offer from Michigan State University, but the fifty thousand dollar price tag of playing Division 1 without a scholarship meant that simply wasn’t realistic.
That left McMaster as the top school available and he jumped at the opportunity to prove himself at a new position: defensive back. Being asked to switch sides of the ball didn’t phase Hallett, who has long prided himself in being a team-first guy.
“I’ve always just wanted to play wherever I can play, wherever I can help the team,” said Hallett.
The transition paid off quickly and the former pass catcher grew into a fluid cover-man with quick feet and reliable eyes. Hallett believes that has come in large part due to a Marauders’ program that emphasizes film study and dedication to preparation.
“Mac is definitely up there as far as preparation for game time, the amount of time we actually spend in film or at practice. [Greg] Knox was a really good coach for the first couple years, then we got [Scott] Brady as well,” said Hallett.
“Its pretty much professional when you’re there as far as schedule goes.”
While high-level coaching has prepared Hallett for the CFL, he also has an inside source to lean on to for information about making the transition from U Sports to the professional ranks.
Noah’s older brother, Nick, was selected in the seventh round of the 2019 CFL draft by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and contributed 13 special teams tackles en route to a Grey Cup.
Nick’s experience has been a source of comfort for Noah and with COVID-19 forcing the Halletts into isolation, the brothers are prepping each other for whatever form of season emerges.
“I’ve moved back home now, so I’m with Nick. We can work out together and push each other,” said Hallett.
Even with a pro athlete training him, Hallett doesn’t need much help in the athleticism department. While he lacks ideal height at five-foot-11, Hallett could be classified as a true athletic freak.
At last year’s East-West Bowl, Hallett put up some gaudy testing numbers, including a 44-inch vertical and a ten-foot, five-inch broad jump. The prospect would have been one of the standouts of the cancelled national CFL combine and was expecting to improve on his already eye-popping measurables.
“I was ready to go out and put up some big numbers. I was looking to run between 4.4 and 4.5. My fastest shuttle was 4.11 and my fastest 3-cone was 6.73,” Hallett said.
While his athleticism may be what stands out most, Hallett believes it’s his drive that will ensure his success in the CFL.
“I think my want-to is really high,” said Hallett. “I’m a guy who’s willing to do anything to get to where I want to be and I want to be as successful as I can at the next level.”
Anonymous quote from a scout: “That kid is super athletic and looks the part in coverage. He could sneak into the second round.”
Projected Round: 2-3