A tale as old as the pigskin itself, possessing a running back with game-breaking ability has remained synonymous with a collegiate offense's overall success—from the prowess of Jim Brown at Syracuse in the 1950s to Herschel Walker at Georgia in the 1980s and Adrian Peterson at Oklahoma in the 2000s. While Breece Hall shouldn’t be compared to the success of three of college football’s most dominant running backs ever, his featured role for the Iowa State Cyclones has introduced one of the country’s most enticing, draft-eligible ball-carriers.
A 6-foot-1 junior, Hall is now in his third year serving as the bell-cow back for the Cyclones offense. On the heels of what proved to be a spectacular sophomore campaign in which Hall, a 4-star recruit out of Wichita, Kansas, amassed 1,572 yards, the third-most for a single season in program history, his third year mastheading the Iowa State offense alongside senior quarterback Brock Purdy kicked off to a rough start. Expected by many to progress into college football’s RB1 for the upcoming draft, back-to-back weeks totaling 69 yards on the ground against Northern Iowa and the now No. 10-ranked Iowa Hawkeyes brought questions about Hall's ability to remain consistent when teams bring extra bodies into the box. And although the narrative toward positional value for running backs has fluctuated over the years, the importance to find a back that doesn’t just fit what you're trying to do schematically, but a player that has traits to ideally succeed in that said scheme has become of the utmost importance as teams diversify their offensive footprint.
Hall is a fun study, and his excellence since he arrived on campus for Matt Campbell has gone underappreciated by us national media, but it’s time to give the kid his due respect.
Following his underwhelming start to the season, Hall has been nothing short of the best back in all of college football alongside Texas’ sophomore standout Bijan Robinson—if you haven’t seen Robinson play yet, take the time to do so. Hall quickly put Weeks 1 and 2 in his rearview mirror, totaling 48 carries for 290 yards and four touchdowns in his next two games, using each performance as a springboard for the next. With sneaky but impressive speed, Hall can thrive in stretch zone concepts that quickly layer into the third level of a defense, but he will make his money in the crowded areas between the hashes. Behind average elusiveness, which allows him to create just enough in the open field to shake off wimpy tacklers or hit cutback lanes at a moment's notice, what Hall lacks in true superstar shake is made up by his instincts as a ball-carrier in congestion, where his powerful footwork and loose hips allow him to stay on his feet and continually analyze available space. He flashes best when confined to a phone booth, where his patience will continue to serve him well whether he declares this fall or exercises his fourth year of eligibility next autumn.
As quickly as the college football landscape can shift, especially when scoping potential first or second-day draft prospects, players can often find themselves lost within the shuffle of the chaos that is the intertwined college and NFL campaigns. For Hall, a skill set that calls the quaint town of Ames, Iowa home, it won’t be long before his talent is placed under the national spotlight. A three-year starter for a Big 12 program on the heels of a Fiesta Bowl-winning season and a 21-11 record since he stepped foot on campus, don’t helmet scout the high-profile talent that is Breece Hall.
- Aug 22, 2022
- Aug 22, 2022