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Former Iowa State star Breece Hall recovering well from ACL tear sustained in rookie NFL season
Hall expects the ISU offense to shine under new coordinator Nate Scheelhaase
AMES — Breece Hall called it.
When asked what he expected to happen in No. 13 Iowa State’s matchup with eighth-ranked Kansas on Saturday at Hilton Coliseum, the former Cyclone star running back and current New York Jet didn’t equivocate.
“The Cyclones don’t lose at home,” Hall said. “So I’m expecting a win, for sure.”
He got it — and ISU won its 12th straight home game, 68-53, over the Jayhawks. Hall watched the action courtside. He’s still recovering from an ACL tear suffered in week 7 of his promising rookie season, but remains on schedule to be ready for training camp this summer.
“It just let me know how strong I really was,” said Hall, who averaged 5.8 yards per carry and scored five touchdowns as a rookie. “After I got hurt, you go through those early phases of you know, ‘Why me? Why did this have to happen to me?’ But it got to a point where I was like, no, being sad about it ain’t gonna do nothing for me. You’ve just gotta deal with it. Suck it up. Attack the rehab.”
Despite playing in only six-plus games, Hall totaled 463 rushing yards, which ranked ninth among NFL rookies this season. He also ranked third in receiving yards with 218 while emerging from a crowded Jets backfield to become the clear-cut No. 1 back before the injury.
“I’m doing really good,” Hall said. “I’m starting to run. Doing more running, stuff in the pool. We’re just starting to do more movement stuff (like) single-leg balance and just taking it one day at a time. It gets really frustrating because I can’t do the same things I used to do yet, but it’s just a process.”
Just like at ISU, where Hall expects the offense to shine this season under first-year offensive coordinator Nate Scheelhaase.
“I think he’s gonna be great,” Hall said. “It sucks losing (former offensive coordinator Tom) Manning, me and him had a really good relationship, but it’s also a great move for coach Scheelhaase. I know how dedicated he is to making this offense as explosive as possible.”
Hall also was asked about the success his former quarterback, Brock Purdy, cultivated with the San Francisco 49ers before a UCL injury sustained in the NFC Championship Game loss to Philadelphia forced Purdy into rehab mode, as well.
“I felt so bad for Brock,” Hall said of Purdy, who won his first seven career starts. “(We’ve) texted a few times during the season. … I know he’s feeling the same way I was, for sure. I always wish him the best, but it was a bummer for sure. I wanted to see him take them to the promised land and everything.”
There’s plenty of time for that — for Hall, Purdy and several other Cyclone standouts in the league, including tight end Charlie Kolar and defensive tackle Enyi Uwazurike, who also attended Saturday’s game.
In less than there months, a pair of other former teammates — wide receiver Xavier Hutchinson and defensive end Will McDonald — will almost certainly hear their names called in the draft, all of which prompted Hall to make another prediction.
“I’m excited for them, for sure,” he said. “I think they showed a lot (this week) in the Senior Bowl practices and I think they’re gonna surprise a lot of people with how much they jump in the draft.”