The Hurry-Up is your nightly dose of updates from the Ohio State football recruiting trail, keeping tabs on the latest from commits and targets from around the country.
Hall says he protects the QB like his mom when he plays tackle
When Mike Hall entered his senior season, the final year he will play before he gets his shot at becoming one of the next great Ohio State defensive tackles, he was intent on playing only on the defensive side of the ball.
It was supposed to be a switch up for the 6-foot-3, 290-pound Hall, a player who is ranked as the No. 4 defensive tackle in America but one who had played center and right tackle – the latter of which he had been recruited to play by a number of teams, including Iowa State – for his whole high school career. His play on the offensive line was in addition to his exploits as a 3-tech, a position he made a transition into heading into his junior season.
But when Hall’s coaching staff at Streetsboro (Ohio) High School asked him if he would once again play on both sides of the trenches, there wasn’t much of a question of what he would do.
“You've got to do what the team needs. You've just got to step up as a leader,” Hall told Eleven Warriors after helping Streetsboro get out to a then-2-0 start in Week 2 as both an offensive and defensive lineman. “Coming in, coach told me. Really, I came in my senior year just talking about just playing one side of the ball. But my coach had a sit-down talk with me, and he was just telling me, 'We kind of need you to play both sides,' and I took that leadership and I got it done tonight.”
For Hall, playing as a tackle has provided some benefits for when he flips back to a guy looking to take a quarterback’s head off instead of being the one to protect it.
“It was kind of weird,” Hall said. “I usually, back in my younger days, I played fullback or right tackle, so it was just kind of weird. Going to defense, I started training with my personal trainer, Mark Harris, and he was just getting me ready to play defense. I'm not really a tall guy, so I'm not really tall enough to play right tackle. Just decided to go to the defensive side of the ball and just blow stuff up.”
It’s not too hard for Hall to transition mentalities on a dime, either. In fact, after making it his mission to throw a quarterback into the ground, he can easily turn around and treat him like family.
“It was just a crazy feeling because, you know, you've got to treat your quarterback like your mom,” Hall said. “You would never want anybody to hit your mom. So I treat my quarterback like my mother. I would never let anybody do nothing. You've just got to treat it as that. You've just got to take that leadership.”
Hall took that leadership role in Week 2 in a big way. When one of Field High School’s defensive lineman took an unnecessary and egregious late shot at his quarterback, Hall got in the defender’s face and let him know that wouldn’t fly.
And he showed leadership again later in the game, as he had to sit out for a bit when he caught a charley horse. But as soon as he was able to essentially walk it off, Hall was back in there going hard. That’s the sort of edge that Hall has adopted and an edge that he believes his teammates feed off of.
“You've just got to keep going,” Hall said. “You've really got to keep going to give effort. It makes you a better player to see I'm giving full effort on both sides of the ball. It really makes you a dog.”
Hell play DT for the Buckeyes, but heres a look at Michael Hall (No. 76) at right tackle. Records a pancake while pass protecting then gets in somebodys face after an egregious late hit. pic.twitter.com/XjFkruTVGZ— Colin Hass-Hill (@chasshill) September 4, 2020
Really, ever since he committed on February 1, that’s the mentality Hall has had in order to make sure the success he’s had – and the reputation with comes from being an Ohio State commit – doesn’t go to his head.
“When I committed it made me work even harder because it's a lot of people out here that want your spot,” Hall said. “You've just got to work 10 times harder than you did before. So it's definitely like a pushing moment. At the same time, it's a great accomplishment in my life.”
Hall, Johnson still communicating
The recruiting dead period has ensured that nobody’s recruitment – not even a commit’s – is normal.
But Hall says that Larry Johnson’s consistent communication has been impressive and has created an atmosphere where he still feels just as part of the Buckeyes’ program even though he hasn’t been able to get back to see the coaching staff since he made his official commitment.
“It's the same as before,” Hall said. “Since you're committed, you're just still having those talks. We have Zoom calls every once in a while just to check on guys and just see how you're doing, really. The communication is great. You've got to love the culture out there. Columbus is different. You've got to love the coaching staff. It's definitely a great feeling out there.”
Already knew Michael Hall was good, but man, he was tremendous today (even if the competition level wasnt super high).— Colin Hass-Hill (@chasshill) September 5, 2020
Also, hes a fun guy to talk to. Heres the Streetsboro senior speaking about his relationships with the other 2021 Ohio State commits. pic.twitter.com/zVGvLPdG6P
That culture-building includes some time spent with a guy he is going to be going up against for the next few years at Ohio State – offensive line commit Ben Christman, who he created a strong bond with during his visit to The Shoe for November’s win over Penn State and who is only about 30 minutes away from in northeast Ohio.
“Ben Christman, Jack Sawyer, Jayden (Ballard). Everyone, really, just in the Ohio area. That's who I'm really tight with right now,” Hall said. “The players I go against, it's just Ben right now. Just doing one-on-ones or training with him. Just getting a great look.
“We just did a little on-the-field stuff by ourselves, just one-on-ones and stuff like that. Or just doing some drill work. But other than that, it's been great, though.”
Day says communication still consistent during dead period
On Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Council is set to meet once again, and one of the items on the agenda is the expected extension of the dead period through October.
On the Ohio State IMG Sports Network’s Buckeye Roundtable show, Ryan Day was asked about how that dead period and the canceled fall football season has affected or changed how Ohio State has been able to recruit.
“Well, we’re able to stay in contact with a lot of the recruits,” Day said. “Some of the recruits don’t have a season either. So they’re able to share in some of the things that they’re doing. Some of them do. And so, we’re just continuing with the Zoom calls and the communication. We’re not allowed to have them on campus yet, it’s still dead. And I know that they’re very anxious to get on campus. But until that opens up in terms of recruiting, we’re just gonna continue to use phone calls and Zoom calls and teleconferences to keep the communication open and continue to build those relationships even though it’s virtually.”
Hancock to be honored by All-American Bowl
Jordan Hancock is one of nine Ohio State commits in the 2021 class slated to play in the All-American Bowl. (That number is expected to soon bump to 10, assuming that Tyleik Williams accepts his invitation.)
The Buckeyes’ four-star cornerback pledge will be one of the featured players on NBC Sports’ Road to the Dome digital series, as he will be virtually presented with his All-American Bowl jersey at 8 p.m. on the NBC Sports YouTube channel.