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Morgan State football unsure when starting cornerback Delonta Hall will return to camp

Delonta Hall is Morgan State's lone representative on the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's preseason first-team defense, but there is some uncertainty about when the redshirt junior cornerback will return to practice.

The 5-foot-8, 165-pound Hall pulled his right hamstring earlier in the week, coach Lee Hull said after Wednesday's morning session at Hughes Stadium in Baltimore. Hall, who registered 56 tackles and two interceptions in 10 starts last season, was relegated to riding a stationary bike during practice, but Hull said he expects Hall to play in the team's season opener at Air Force on Sept. 5.

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"We don't have a lot of numbers, and we're telling people not to rush back," he said. "So he'll be ready for the first game. It's just that the hamstring can be one of those lingering things, and if you rush him back too early, that's not good. So I just told the trainers to make sure that when he comes back, he's ready. But he'll be back for the first game."

Hall's absence on the first defense was filled by junior Deadrick Jones, who joined senior DeShaun Summers as the starting cornerbacks. Jones was beaten by redshirt junior Thomas Martin for a long touchdown during a full-team exercise, but bounced back on the ensuing play by breaking up a pass from senior quarterback Moses Skillon to Martin.

The offensive line lost sophomore Ehijele Ubuane, who opened practice as the starting right tackle, to a sprained right ankle. Hull said Ubuane could have returned if needed, but the trainers recommended waiting until the team's second practice later Wednesday night.

"They were just taking precautions because we're low on linemen," Hull said. "So we just gave him some rest, and he'll be back practicing tonight."

Without Ubuane, sophomore Matthew Thompson (Perry Hall) shifted from right guard to right tackle. Freshman Adrien Allen replaced Thompson, joining redshirt freshman left tackle Joshua Miles (Western Tech), freshman left guard Cooper Clarkin and junior center Dominique Woods as the first offensive line.

Other notes and observations:

**Despite strong breeze and low humidity, practice was interrupted by three fights. Redshirt sophomore running back Orlando Johnson took umbrage with a tackle and scuffled with a defensive player or two. Redshirt sophomore fullback Godfrey Durham Jr. and redshirt freshman linebacker Chris Fatogoma (New Town) tussled, and Summers and junior wide receiver Ricky Fisk went to the turf in a scrum. After practice, Hull reminded the players that their common enemy is their opponents, not their teammates.

"You still have to compete and still keep your emotions intact," he said. "They're going hard, and we don't have a lot of depth. So I'm trying to keep them healthy and guys fighting and all that extracurricular activity is not good because all you do is you're wasting your energy and time in practice. So they've just got to learn to control their emotions and stuff. I know how it is. It's Day Six and you're just beating up on each other the whole time and something might have happened two practices ago and that guy remembers it. It's just one of those things where it's a part of training camp. But they love each other. After practice, they'll probably all sit together and laugh about it. I just don't want practice to get disrupted."

**Skillon had that long touchdown pass to Martin, and the offense scored its only touchdown during a goal-line exercise when Skillon flipped a pitch to Johnson around the right side. Redshirt senior Seth Higgins completed 5-of-8 pass during a 7-on-7 exercise, and redshirt sophomore Chris Clack Jr. showed improvement from last season. Hull was encouraged by the quarterbacks' play, especially Skillon's.

"The quarterbacks are doing well," the former University of Maryland wide receivers coach said. "We're a lot further ahead than we were last year. You can tell that all three of them did a great job this summer of studying and watching film and getting better and throwing the ball and working on their mechanics. Moses has a better command of the offense right now. He's feeling very comfortable. He makes some throws that make you go, 'Wow, there were quarterbacks at the University of Maryland who didn't make those throws when I was there.' So he has the potential to be special."

**Redshirt sophomore cornerback Eric Alvis Jr. intercepted a Higgins pass at the goal line and returned it untouched for a touchdown, and redshirt senior linebacker Bill Hill and sophomore Ayodeji Agbelese each had would-be sacks. But freshman linebacker Mike Gaynor Jr. stood out for getting a would-be sack of Clack and then stopping Clack in the backfield on third-and-1.

"He had a couple [Mid-American Conference] offers, but he qualified late, and that's how he fell into our laps," Hull said of Gaynor. "We didn't sign him until two months ago. So he's a big pickup. He's a kid who, when I was at the University of Maryland, we were recruiting for Maryland. So he's got some big-time ability. He's a kid we're looking forward to help us this year on special teams and defense."

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