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AMES — Iowa State tailback Breece Hall considered the question.
Shortly after the two-time first-team All-American helped the Cyclones dispatch TCU, 48-14, in the regular season finale at Jack Trice Stadium, Hall was asked if he would choose to go pro rather than return his senior year.
“Sometime in the next week or so we’ll probably see, but for right now, I’m just trying to enjoy tonight,” Hall said three weeks ago. “Enjoy the rest of the season with my teammates and enjoy the last month of the semester. Really just be around my team and enjoy everybody.”
Presumably, then, Hall has made a decision about his future — which may or may not include playing in ISU’s Dec. 29 Cheez-It Bowl game against No. 19 Clemson.
The Cyclones (7-5) will face the Tigers (9-3) 17 days from now and its unclear at this point if anyone will opt out of the game to protect their bodies for potential professional careers.
So that’s a “stay tuned” situation for ISU as the team continues to prepare for its school-record fifth-straight bowl appearance.
“My expectation is if there is anybody that chooses not to play, we'll probably find that out here in the next five or six days,” Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell said six days ago during a call with reporters. “I would say the bulk or majority of our team will be prepared to go to this ballgame and play.”
Iowa State is poised to have a larger than usual impact on the 2022 NFL Draft. Hall — who broke a 50-year-old NCAA FBS record by rushing for at least one touchdown in 24 consecutive games — ranks as one of the nation’s top running back prospects. Edge rusher Will McDonald, quarterback Brock Purdy, tight end Charlie Kolar and linebacker Mike Rose are among several other Cyclones who retain high hopes an NFL career may loom on the horizon.
Purdy said early last week there’s been no talk among players of anyone choosing to forgo the bowl game.
“To be honest, we haven’t even gotten that far,” said Purdy, who owns 32 records as a Cyclone. “No one has said anything. There’s no rumors or anything going around. It’s been all about who are we playing in the bowl game and we’ve been excited about that. So there hasn’t been anything said about who’s doing what yet. We don’t know that.
“That’s just something that I guess we’ll find out as we go along in this process of getting closer to the bowl game.”
Kolar, a two-time first-team All-American like Hall, said Thursday he plans on playing in the bowl game.
“As of right now I think I am,” Kolar said. “Obviously if there’s an injury or something, I won’t, but I plan on it. I just want to keep getting healthy.”
Kolar has battled injuries all season, but still set single-season benchmarks for his position at Iowa State with 58 receptions for 723 yards.
He opted to return for his senior season rather than go pro a year ago.
Hall and McDonald face that same decision — and both have left lasting legacies at Iowa State.
McDonald, who Friday was named a first-team All-American by the Football Writers Association of America, led the Big 12 in sacks the past two seasons. He’s ISU’s career leader in sacks with 29 and 27 of those have come in the past 28 games.
Hall is the Cyclones’ all-time leader in touchdowns (56), scoring (336 points) and rushing touchdowns (56).
So if he decides his body of work at ISU is complete, it’s one of the finest compilations to ever be assembled.
“He’s as special as they come and if this is it for Breece Hall (at Iowa State), then this is one heck of a way to go out,” Campbell said after the TCU win. “I’m really proud of him.”