Former Vanderbilt cornerback makes big impression with big plays in preseason

As a seventh-round pick, Andre Hal’s spot on an NFL roster hardly was guaranteed when the preseason started.

Having accomplished something no Houston Texans player – rookie or otherwise – ever had has to help, though.

Hal, a cornerback out of Vanderbilt, returned an interception 77 yards for a touchdown in the Texans’ preseason finale Thursday (a 40-13 loss to San Francisco), which made him the first player in franchise history with two interception returns for touchdowns in a single preseason. He also took one back 61 yards against Atlanta.

He is the only Houston player and one of just 11 players throughout the NFL with multiple interceptions this preseason and the only player in the league with multiple returns for touchdowns.

 “It’s exciting,” Hal said. “You know, you just have to take advantage of all your opportunities.”

All NFL teams must reduce their rosters to the regular-season limit of 53 players by Saturday afternoon. As of Friday morning, Hal was one of eight cornerbacks still on the Texans’ roster. Six of the eight were veterans.

“Man, since day one I was trying to make the team,” he said. “I tried to come in, compete with the other guys, learn from other guys, learn the defense as fast as I can so I can get on the field and compete.”