September 23, 2009

Jordan Hall turning heads early

COLUMBUS - When people think of Ohio State freshman running back Jordan Hall, the thoughts of his lack of size may come to mind. After all, he stands just 5-foot-10 and weighs just 190 pounds.

He also has been referred to as the kid that went to high school with Ohio State star quarterback Terrelle Pryor in Jeanette, Pa.

One thing he may start hearing, however, are the rumblings of his debut performance for the Buckeyes in their 38-0 thrashing of Toledo in Cleveland Browns Stadium last Saturday.

He may be all the aforementioned things, but soon he may be more than just a guy that went to high school with Pryor.

In fact, he could be possibly be a feature halfback for the Buckeyes in the future, which says quite a bit given the Buckeyes boast a bevy of young and veteran talent at that specific position.

"You know, Jordan's been impressive since he's been here. He's a hard-nosed kid, studies the game, has done well running the football every chance he's gotten," said Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel Tuesday in his weekly press conference. "So now that we've seen him in a game, obviously it makes it easier to put him into a game. He's going to be a good player. He's a tough kid."

Hall was somewhat of an afterthought coming in this season, especially because he joined the Buckeyes with star high school running back Jaamal Berry out of Miami, Fla.

Tressel has maintained that Berry has been injured so far this season, which may have come into play when placing Hall above him on the depth chart, but the rumblings seem to point that Hall has just been better during fall camp and into the young season.

On Saturday, Hall made his college debut for the Buckeyes, rushing seven times late in the game for 44 yards. Though the numbers aren't necessarily fantastic, he blend of elusiveness and toughness was certainly noticeable from the coaching staff.

There was just something about him that makes people feel that his future is going to be bright.

"He's done well," Tressel said, "and the beautiful thing about football is every opportunity you get, if you can -- if you can take advantage of it, who knows where that ends."

Hall's carries came late in the game against the Rockets once the game had already been decided, but Tressel said he felt the coaching staff had seen enough out of the freshman to consider putting him in at any point in the game.

"I think the fact that he's been in there and demonstrated that he can go," Tressel said, "I'm not sure our guys would be concerned at all (by putting him in) at any point in time."

Despite Hall's impressive showing Saturday, Tressel has maintained that both Dan Herron and Brandon Saine will be the feature backs for the Buckeyes as the team continues the season.

Herron has drawn some early criticism, but Tressel has been comfortable with what he has seen out of the running back this season. After all, Herron has scored at least one rushing touchdown in each of Ohio State's last seven games.

"I think Boom had a couple chances last week where he just got shoestringed and you could see where he might pop it and all you need is to pop it and all your yards per carry is totally skewed," Tressel said. "I haven't seen his grade and so forth as being anything less than excellent. He's where he is supposed to be."

For now, Hall may continue to get into games late but it doesn't look as if he will be getting a ton of carries in the beginning of games unless the situation warrants it.

"Well, there's only one tailback and Boom's going to play and B-Saine is going to play, so he's going to get his opportunities but to say all of a sudden you get 30 carries or whatever, I don't know that he's warranted that at this point," Tressel said. "He has no learning issues as far as pass protection or how we're blocking things or, shoot, he's anxious to get on special teams. He's out there working on trying to break into the lineup on the kickoff cover team. He's a football player.

And it looks like he may be a key player in the future.

Ari Wasserman is a staff writer for BuckeyeGrove.com. He can be reached at Ari@BuckeyeGrove.com.


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