Sep 25, 2021; Waco, Texas, USA; Iowa State Cyclones running back Breece Hall (28) shows his excitement after scoring a touchdown in the first half of the game against the Baylor Bears at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports
Breece Hall leaned back in his chair and pondered the question.
“What are you most proud of from your time at Iowa State?”
The All-American tailback thought for a moment, looking back across a tremendous three-year career in Ames in which he broke records, earned numerous individual accolades and helped the Iowa State football program reach heights most fans had never even dreamed to be possible.
There is plenty for the Wichita, Kan. native to be proud of from his time as a Cyclone. He’s in the process of turning the page from that chapter of his life since he announced on Saturday he’ll forego his senior season of eligibility and enter the 2022 NFL Draft.
It was the right choice for a player that has accomplished everything in an Iowa State uniform. He’s finished in the top-10 of Heisman Trophy voting — twice. He’s been a consensus All-American — twice. He’s been the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year — twice.
He’s done things no other Iowa State football player ever has, like being the program’s first unanimous All-American after the 2020 season.
Surely, those are the things he’s most proud to have done in Ames, right?
Wrong, because, after all, this is the young man who popularized the phrase “five-star culture.”
“I’m proud that I’m leaving it 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,” Hall said during a Zoom call with reporters on Monday. “I’m proud of the teams I’ve been on, how we’ve been able to overcome adversity. We’ve always been counted out and everything. We’re always still in the game. We’re always there. We’re always one 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.”
It is hard to believe it has been three years since Hall arrived on Iowa State’s campus as an early enrollee in Iowa State’s 2019 recruiting class. The former four-star recruit walked into a perfect situation with David Montgomery headed to the NFL after the 2018 season and plenty of carries to be allocated.
It took four games before those carries started being heavily allocated his way. He toted the rock just 18 times in the Cyclones’ first four games on the 2019 schedule, and there were even discussions of potentially redshirting.
That all changed Oct. 12, 2019, in Morgantown, W. Va., when Hall carried the ball 26 times for 132 yards and three touchdowns.
From that day forward, there weren’t many carries left to go around in Ames, because 674 of them had Breece Hall’s name on them.
“Honestly, to think about it is kind of crazy,” Hall said. “I’m a kid from Kansas that Coach (Matt) Campbell believed in, this coaching staff believed in. I came here and the rest is history. Through God’s plan, he’s been able to keep me healthy. He’s blessed me with my talents and it’s a lot to say. It’s kind of crazy how fast it went, felt like it was a fast three years. It was just a blessing.”
Hall took those 718 carries in an Iowa State and ran them for 3,941 yards, the second-most in Cyclone history. He scored 50 rushing touchdowns, more than any Cyclone ever. He added six more touchdowns on receptions.
Nobody in cardinal and gold has ever crossed the goal line with the football in their hands more than Breece Hall.
And that’s saying something when you consider Hall was far from the only great Iowa State football player he shared the field with.
He shared the backfield his entire career with the most-accomplished quarterback in school history, Brock Purdy. He shared touches with Charlie Kolar, Chase Allen and Dylan Soehner, the trio that made up the best tight end room in college football.
Yet, no matter the talent surrounding him, it was Hall who stood out and drew the headlines. He continued to try and put the spotlight back onto the heads of his teammates that helped him get there.
“I don’t think there will be a teammate I’ll miss the most,” Hall said. “I’ll miss everybody. I’ll miss Brock, Charlie, Chase. I still miss some of the older guys from when I was a freshman, Marcel Spears, Lawrence White, Dylan Soehner. There’s a lot of guys that I’ll miss. It’s more the memories that I’ve made and you know the relationships that I’ve built. Not even so much with the guys in my class, but with the guys younger than me, guys older than me. I built a lot of bonds that I won’t ever forget, bonds with guys I’ll always be friends with, I’ll always have a relationship with. It just sucks I’m not always gonna be able to be here to keep creating those memories, but I’m always gonna keep in contact with those guys, show those guys love and everything like that.”
He’ll always show love to the head coach who gave the kid from Kansas a chance in Ames, Iowa. All you have to do is watch the video after his NCAA-record-breaking touchdown run against TCU to know the love there is mutual.
“He’s been a coach, best friend, a father figure, like a big brother,” Hall said. “Our relationship’s been really tight, and I can come to him for anything. I know he’s always gonna be in my corner, he’s always gonna support me, he’s always a call away. For me to know that he cares about me for more than me being a football player, that made our relationship that most stronger. That’s just my guy. He’s cool, chill. He’s crazy competitive, all those things. I just really appreciate him for everything.”
Those are the relationships Hall will be making sure to cherish in the coming weeks. The moments he’ll be making sure to stop and let himself enjoy.
He’ll get plenty of chances when he travels with the team to Orlando for the Cheez-It Bowl on Dec. 29.
Then, it will be onto the next phase of life, starting with pre-draft workouts, the NFL Combine, and, finally, the realized dream of reaching the next level.
Oh, and there was one last thing he had to say after those few moments of thought and reflection on his time at Iowa State.
“I’m just proud to be a Cyclone,” Hall said. “That’s really it.”
We’re proud you are, too, Breece. Believe me.