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Breece for it: Hall's Heisman hopes ahead of 2021 season

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Breece Hall

ARLINGTON, Texas一The Big 12 conference is no stranger to Heisman trophies.

Six players in the conference have won the award since the decade began, but all have been quarterbacks. Only two Big 12 running backs have won the award since the conference formed in 1994. Colorado’s Rashaan Salaam in 1994 and Texas’ Ricky Williams in 1998. 

Iowa State Cyclone running back Breece Hall has a chance to join the select group of Big 12 running backs to lift the trophy. As a sophomore last season, he was handed the keys to the Cyclone backfield and did not disappoint. Hall averaged 146 scrimmage yards per game and scored 23 touchdowns over only 12 games.

The last running back to win the Heisman Trophy was Alabama’s Derrick Henry in 2015, who broke a 5-year quarterback Heisman streak. Alabama’s Devonta Smith became the first wide receiver to win the trophy since 1991. 

“I feel like the Heisman is almost a quarterback award, but I feel like last year the best player in college football did win the Heisman,” Hall said. “I’d say it is somewhat of an uphill battle (for a skill position player to win).”

In 2021, Hall was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year, a First Team All-American and finished sixth in Heisman Trophy voting. 

Iowa State coach Matt Campbell said conversations about college football’s highest honor are great conversations for the media to have, but not his primary focus. 

“I think all we're trying to do is…get these guys to reach their full potential and be the best they can be, and certainly, Breece has done that for us,” Campbell said.

Hall said he got leaner this offseason, added 10 pounds of muscle and is up to 235 pounds.

“I feel like I still haven’t reached my full potential,” Hall said.

Hall is a running back trying to win a quarterback’s award but has a tremendous season behind him and the makings of another one ahead of him. 

“Of course, I would like to win it and I know the guys would want me to win it, but if we’re winning games then I don’t want the Heisman. Team success matters more to me because I know that all the individual stuff will come with that,” Hall said.

sports.ed@ocolly.com