ASHBURN, Va. -- It didn't take long for Washington Redskins corner DeAngelo Hall to figure out one thing the first time he saw Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor: The kid could play. Even if Taylor was only in high school at the time, Hall just knew.
Like Hall, Taylor grew up in the Tidewater area of Virginia. It's a fraternity of sorts so when Next Big Thing comes around, they all know.
"Down in that area you always know the next hot, hot star," said Hall, who, like Taylor, played collegiately at Virginia Tech. "Whether it was Ty, Percy [Harvin], E.J. Manuel, any of those guys who kinda came out a couple of years after all of us. You always know those guys."
Hall said. "There's only a handful of high schools that really produce these guys, these athletes.
"Somebody introduced me to [Taylor] and told me how good he was and I got a chance to watch him play and I was like, 'Man, this kid is good.' He ended up going to Virginia Tech and I kept following him, kept talking to him and he just became one of the fellas."
They'll face one another for the first time on a football field Sunday when the Redskins host the Bills, something they've been texting about this week. They're also at different points of their career: Taylor, in his fifth season, is starting for the first time. Hall, in his 12th season, moved from corner to safety where he's now a reserve. Taylor is having a breakout season, with 18 touchdowns and five interceptions and owning the NFL's fifth best passer rating. Hall has dealt with several injuries -- a sprained toe this season and an Achilles' tear last year.
"He was like, 'Man, it's crazy, I'm about to play against you.' I was like, 'Yeah, it's kinda crazy.' He was like, ‘I can remember watching you in high school.' And I was like, 'I can remember rooting for you at Virginia Tech, and now I get a chance to go against you.' But that's the game, man."
And the game also is about playing against people you know and like.
"He is a great, great kid. I love him to death. He's like a little brother to me," Hall said. "I'm probably one of his biggest fans. But I'm going to be out there trying to pick him off and knock his head off, too. It's going to be fun."
For what it's worth, the guy who played the big brother role for Hall was former NBA star Allen Iverson, who also was a high school football standout in the Tidewater area.
"He was a beast," Hall said. "I met him at a camp when I was in middle school and continued the relationship. He kept in touch with me, would send me stuff; shoes. He was supposed to come to the team hotel in Charlotte, but he couldn't make it and we chopped it up after the game and hung around a little."