It has been an interesting career for running back Jordan Hall. A 4-star recruit coming out of the 2009 class, big things were expected from this young man. Instead, four years later, he is still trying to live up to those exceptions.
It must be frustrating knowing that you have all the talent, but can't catch that one break you need to get the ball rolling. With this being his final season of eligibility in Columbus, this year’s spring practice may be his last chance to win the coaching staff over. It will also be his last chance to prove that he did, in fact, deserve all of those stars next to his name coming out of high school.
Hall will be the breakout star of spring practice for the Ohio State Buckeyes and will be on the tip of college football’s tongue soon enough.
The experienced runner was off to a great start last season. Earning 40 carries in the first five games, Hall averaged 5.5 yards a touch and scored an important touchdown in the game against Michigan State. That was when he injured his knee and was ruled out for the remainder of the season. Luckily, he was granted a medical redshirt and received a fifth year of eligibility to give it one final attempt at running back for the Buckeyes.
With questions surrounding how well he will be able to move around and if he will ever be the same again, Hall does have a lot to prove this spring. Although, it shouldn't be long before he wins everybody over and becomes the playmaker head coach Urban Meyer is looking for.
Even with the depth at the running back position for Ohio State, Hall is the guy who brings the most to the table. Built low to the ground at 5'9", he runs with incredible balance and is shifty in the open field that allows him to make plays in space. His ability to hit the home run is impressive, but it is his receiving skills that make him stand out even with runners like Carlos Hyde and Bri'onte Dunn still on the roster.
In Meyer's spread offense, he uses what are called "Pivot" players. These are typically guys who line up in both the backfield and the slot receiver position. This is where Percy Harvin made his living playing for the Florida Gators, and it is a position that is critical to the overall success of the offense.
Players who are assigned to this position are required to move around a lot, confusing the defense's personnel and creating the mismatch that the offense is built around.
Hall fits this mold almost perfectly. While he shouldn't be written off as being a productive runner, it is his soft hands and route running that separates himself from the pack. While he hasn't been on the field very much throughout his time at Ohio State, he still has managed to pick up 24 receptions throughout his career. This includes catching three passes last year in only the three games he played in.
This is the type of back Meyer has been looking for at Ohio State and will take full advantage of his abilities now that he is healthy. Whether it is slipping out on bubble screens, taking advantage of his quickness in the slot, or just running between the tackles, Hall can do a little bit of everything for this offense.
Last season Meyer told Andrew Holleran of The Lantern that the versatility of Hall is really what gets him excited.
“That’s hard to find that guy,” Meyer said. “I’m finding out it’s really hard to find a guy who can do this and do this.”
Unfortunately, Buckeyes fans weren't able to see this relationship turn into something special due to Hall's season being cut short by injury.
However, this is a new year, and you are sure to see a new star running back leading the way for Ohio State.
Hall will finally be able to prove himself.