116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — 800 days.
It’s a long time, from one perspective. A blip in history, from another.
By either measure, that round-number perfectly traces the arc of Iowa State junior tailback Breece Hall’s record-setting and tackle-breaking college career — which Monday he confirmed to be officially over.
But that won’t stop the Cyclones’ all-time leading rusher from cheering on his teammates in the Dec. 29 Cheez-It Bowl against No. 19 Clemson in Orlando, Fla.
“(It’s) bittersweet, because I’m going to be wishing I could be out there,” said Hall, who is currently projected by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. to be the 2022 NFL Draft’s top running back. “But it’s gonna be fun to get that perspective of being a fan again and just sitting back and enjoying the game.”
Hall consulted with ISU head coach Matt Campbell and his family before arriving at the decision to forgo his remaining eligibility.
He also said the possibility of being injured loomed as one of many mostly personal factors for choosing to sit out the bowl game.
“That’s always a big thing for running backs,” said Hall, who broke a 51-year-old NCAA FBS record this season by rushing for at least one touchdown in 24 consecutive games. “We don’t really have that long a life span in the NFL, so that was one of the factors, (but) we just felt like it was my time to go. That was the biggest thing.”
Hall — the Cyclones’ only two-time consensus All-American besides Troy Davis — concluded his ISU career atop the program’s record books in several areas. He’s scored the most points (336) in program history. He’s scored the most touchdowns overall (56) and on the ground (50).
But numbers don’t form the foundation for his pride.
“I’m proud I’m leaving (the program) in a better place than it was when I came here, just because of all the leadership and all the great people, players and coaches that have been here,” the Wichita, Kan., native said. “I’m proud of the teams I’ve been on, how we’ve been able to overcome adversity. We’re somehow always counted out and everything, and we’re always still in the game. We’re always there, we’re always a snap away from winning the football game. I’m just proud of the person I’ve been able to become. I’ve really matured since I was a 17-year-old early enrollee here and I’m just proud to be a Cyclone. That’s really it.”
Hall turned 18 before day one of that 800-day journey until now, but he was still an unproven player on an uncertain path.
He’d carried the ball 18 times for 84 yards in the first four games of the 2019 season. He was listed as the fourth running back on the depth chart heading into an Oct. 12, 2019 game at West Virginia that would serve as his breakthrough moment.
He rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns in the Cyclones’ 38-14 win in Morgantown.
“Pretty special,” Campbell told the Cyclone Radio Network after that triumph. “We’ll see if he can keep being that guy."
Hall did indeed seize and clamp down on the top spot in the Cyclones’ formerly crowded backfield. He’s been No. 1 for 799 days since, causing records to fall and defenders to flail as he cemented himself among the greatest ISU players in program history.
“Honestly, to think about it is kind of crazy,” Hall said. “I guess I’ll just say I’m a kid from Kansas that Coach Campbell believed in, his coaching staff believed in. I came here — I mean, the rest is history. Through God’s plan, he’s been able to keep me healthy. He’s blessed me with my talent. It’s just a lot to say. It’s kind of crazy how fast it went. I feel like it was a fast thee years and it was just a blessing.”