‘Ups and downs’: Year one is in the books for Breece Hall


Tyler Coe

Former Cyclone and current Jets star Breece Hall returns to Ames to watch Iowa State play Kansas on Feb. 4, 2023.

Christian Royston, Sports Reporter

As the No. 13 Cyclones cruised past yet another top-10-ranked opponent, one special Cyclone was in the crowd, contributing to the abundance of Hilton Magic on Saturday.

Former Iowa State running back and current New York Jets running back Breece Hall came home to watch the Iowa State men’s basketball team dominate No. 8 Kansas. With former teammates Charlie Kolar and Eyioma Uwazurike also in attendance, the NFL star was in for quite a show.

Hall talked with the media before Saturday’s game to talk about the ups and downs of his rookie season in the NFL.

From the moment he got to the Jets facility, it was clear that the NFL was nothing like college football. Hall participated in the rookie minicamp and training camps as well as OTAs (organized team activities) before earning his spot in the starting lineup.

One thing was clear from the jump. The NFL was fast. Faster than anything he had seen in all his time playing football.

“It definitely had its ups and downs, but it was fun for sure,” Hall said.

To say Hall’s rookie season was successful would be an understatement. Although it didn’t end as expected, his production early in the season bodes well for the coming years.

It took Hall a few games to get his bearings, as he carried the ball less than 10 times in the Jets’ first three games. But once he got going, he was hard to stop.

The college touchdown machine did what he does best, as Hall rushed for a touchdown in four straight games. With Hall on the field, the Jets surged to a 5-2 start to the season.

Hall’s early production put him as a clear-cut favorite to win the offensive rookie of the year award. With Hall in the backfield, it looked as though the Jets found the man who would carry them to the playoffs.

Then everything came to a screeching halt. 

Hall went down early in the Jets’ matchup with the Broncos in week seven and didn’t touch the field for the rest of the season. After rushing for 72 yards on just four attempts, Hall took an awkward tackle and tore his ACL.

“It was frustrating, but I felt blessed that I was able to show everybody what I could do before I got hurt,” Hall said. 

Just like that, Hall’s rookie season came to an end. Hall finished the year with 463 rushing yards and four touchdowns. He also had 218 yards receiving.

However, time moves forward, and Hall is already looking toward the future. 

ACLs take a good chunk of time to heal, but Hall is already showing good signs. He’s starting to run and has been doing work in the pool to get back on his feet.

Although Hall is slowly getting back up to speed, he’s still a ways away from 100%.

“It gets really frustrating because I can’t do the same things I used to do yet,” Hall said, “but it’s just a process.”

While Hall has been healing, his former teammate Brock Purdy has been balling. When asked what he thought about Purdy’s success, a smile came across Hall’s face.

Hall’s former quarterback got the opportunity to go from the final pick in the NFL draft, deemed Mr. Irrelevant, to taking the 49ers to the NFC Championship game. The two Cyclones kept in touch throughout the season, constantly texting each other congratulations whenever they saw success.

However, just like Hall, Purdy’s season came to an abrupt end. In the early moments of the NFC Championship, Purdy suffered a torn UCL in his throwing elbow, sidelining him for the remainder of the season and possibly sometime next season.

Charlie Kolar (left) and Breece Hall (right) celebrate after Hall’s touchdown vs. Iowa on Sept. 11, 2021. (Collin Maguire)

“I know he’s feeling the same way I was feeling right now for sure. It was a bummer for sure. I wanted to see him take them to the promised land,” Hall said. “This whole season, it really didn’t surprise me. I knew he was built for it the whole time.”

When it came down to it, Hall saw the potential in Purdy. Hall even said that he was happier for Purdy’s success than his own.

Lastly, Hall talked about the future of the Iowa State football team, specifically the offense.

The major story following the lackluster season was the passing of the torch from offensive coordinator Tom Manning to Nate Scheelhaase. Scheelhaase was the running backs coach during Hall’s time with the team, and Hall had nothing but good things to say about him.

“I know how dedicated he is to making this offense be as explosive as possible and the best it can be,” Hall said.

Only time will tell, but Hall is confident the offense could be set up for success.

As the questions ran dry, Hall was ready to get to the main event. He came back to Ames to see his school dominate the defending national champions in front of a packed Hilton crowd.

Hall made it clear in his words and the way his face lit up throughout the night that Ames holds a special place in his heart. No matter what Hall’s future holds, he will always have a place to call home.

“It’s always good to come back and know that everybody shows you love and know that you’re always gonna be welcomed back here,” Hall said. “This is like a second home to me.”