Hall gets to bigger yes after being drafted
Former Virginia star cornerback executes plan to seal engagement
Bryce Hall wanted to propose to Anzel Viljoen on Tuesday, April 28. The former Virginia cornerback planned the event with the help of Catesby Willis and, despite the anxiety of proposing, felt confident in the plan.
Viljoen and Willis, teammates on the Virginia field hockey team that made the Final Four this past season, were supposed to go on a run Tuesday which would end — in a way unknown to Viljoen — by meeting Hall at the Rotunda, where he would propose.
Mother Nature had other plans.
Chilly weather caused Viljoen to opt against going for a run. She told Hall she’d go Wednesday, when the forecast seemed better for running.
Hall, who was selected by the New York Jets in NFL draft several days earlier, used the extra day of planning to his advantage. Avery Mullaney, a mutual friend, photographer and UVA
cheerleader, wasn’t in town Tuesday but could photograph the event Wednesday.
An extra day also gave Hall a chance to tell his friends about his plan.
One of Hall’s friends, clearly a romantic, had extra rose petals available. Hall lined the path to where he waited for Viljoen with the petals.
As Viljoen finished her Wednesday jog, Hall bent down on one knee and proposed. Viljoen said yes as mutual friends popped out from hiding places and cheered.
“Man, it really just kind of came together, flowed together in a perfect setting without me really trying to, but it just worked out that way,” Hall said. “I think it was pretty cool, and it ended up being a really good proposal.”
The proposal wasn’t without hiccups, however.
Viljoen planned to run a slightly different route from the one she took to reach Hall. Willis, wanting to hold up her end of the bargain by bringing Viljoen to Hall, sternly told her friend they had to go a different way.
“She was like, really rude to me about it,” Viljoen laughed. “She’s never that rude, and I was like, ‘Oh my goodness, I wonder if something happened with her this morning?’”
The engagement came a couple of years after the two athletes met at UVA. They became acquaintances their sophomore years, with Hall appearing interested in a deeper relationship.
“Bryce was definitely into me, very clearly, but I would say it was probably more so the accent that he was into,” Viljoen, a New
Zealand native, said with a smile.
Acquaintances turned to friends after the two happened to be baptized on the same day the summer after their second years at UVA. The friendship grew from there, with their shared faith playing a central role in their relationship.
The friendship grew into a romantic relationship in the fall of 2019, after Hall’s season-ending injury against Miami. Viljoen stopped by to visit her friend in the hospital, staying with Hall into the night.
“I think, honestly, after that night, when I left the hospital we both kind of knew, ‘Yeah, this is going to be something,’” Viljoen said.
Hall’s engagement came four days after he was drafted by the Jets.
“It’s been a crazy week, honestly,” Hall said, grinning.
For those who interact with Hall, it’s not surprising to see him keep perspective through an exciting week. After he suffered his season-ending injury against Miami, Hall consoled some of his teammates and coaches who were distraught that his senior season was cut short.
Outside the limelight, Viljoen was among those ensuring that Hall was OK when she checked on him in the hospital after his injury.
“She’s very kind and she’s always servanthearted, and she just makes my life so much easier but adds a lot of joy and just fulfillment as well as so much support,” Hall said. “I really appreciate that. I haven’t necessarily had that because I’ve been so used to doing things on my own.”
Hall, who is used to lifting others up, seems to have met his match.
Former Virginia football player Bryce Hall proposes to his girlfriend, Anzel Viljoen, at the University of Virginia.