Humbled Hall Honored to Serve as Captain
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — For the first two weeks of the season, Jordan Hall was a fan.
Photo by Jim Davidson
He has a much faster 40 time than the average armchair quarterback, but the only defender Hall had to worry about at home on his couch was Ohio State defensive back Corey Brown.
The two roommates may have wrestled over the remote during the week, but on game day there was no debating what to watch.
“I just wanted to see my teammates do well,” Hall said Tuesday.
“I was visualizing myself in the game. Carlos (Hyde) and Rod (Smith) did a good job running the ball and we won, that’s all that matters really.”
Hall, Brown and cornerback Travis Howard were all forced to miss the first two games of the 2011 season for receiving improper benefits at a Cleveland-area charity function during the off-season.
“It just let me know that you can’t take anything for granted. It can be taken away as fast as you got it,” said Hall, a third-year running back out of Jeannette, Pa.
“I just took it as a learning experience. You’re going to make mistakes sometimes but you have to learn from it and move on.”
The Buckeyes appear ready to move past those mistakes now that Hall and the other two have returned. The NCAA reinstated their eligibility before the Sept. 17 game at Miami (Fla.), and two weeks later Hall will serve as a captain for Ohio State in the Big Ten opener against Michigan State.
“It's definitely an honor,” said Hall, who will join seniors Nate Oliver and Nate Ebner as this week’s game captains.
“It'll be one of my greatest memories at Ohio State and it's definitely exciting.”
It seems appropriate considering Hall has been one of the most electrifying players on the field since his return two weeks ago. The 5-9 tailback has racked up 171 yards on the ground in just two games this season—including an 87-yard performance against the Hurricanes.
He also busted off a 90-yard kick return last week against Colorado that nearly went for a touchdown, but the role of captain is not just about Hall’s performance on the field.
“Jordan is a part of our team. He's a big leader in the locker room,” Ohio State Head Coach Luke Fickell said.
“He does a great job. He does everything we've asked him to handle with class and dignity. He has not batted an eye at it with all the situations.”
The Buckeyes are looking for leadership from all directions, which is one reason they decided not to have permanent captains for the 2011 season. There will be those who think Fickell is making his own mistake in allowing a suspended player to serve as captain this week—especially since it’s only two weeks removed.
“We understand we learn from our mistakes, but we're not going to throw guys away,” Fickell said.
“That's kind of the reason we wanted to have the game captains the whole season, so we could make sure we could bring everybody to be part of this team no matter what their situation. They learn from it, grow from it, have the right attitude, they continue to get better.”
That also applies to DeVier Posey, Boom Herron, Mike Adams and Solomon Thomas—all of whom are eligible to return from their five-game suspension next week.
“They are still full-fledged members of the team,” Hall said.
“We look at them as leaders.”
Posey and Herron in particular would have been at or near the top of the list of potential season-long captains if not for their involvement in the tattoos for benefits scandal that brought an end to the Ohio State careers of Jim Tressel and Terrelle Pryor.
“This team loves them,” Fickell said.
“Those guys are still doing what we've asked them to do. When they're able to go, we'll get them back into the mix. Put a lot on them to make sure they know what's going on, they're staying involved.”
Until then, the Buckeyes will keep moving forward.
“The past is the past and we learned from it,” Fickell added.
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