Becoming A Father Drove Mike Hall’s Decision to Leave Ohio State Early for 2024 NFL Draft

By Dan Hope on February 28, 2024 at 4:21 pm
Mike Hall

Mike Hall was only one of only two members of his recruiting class who left Ohio State early for the 2024 NFL draft, but he had good reason to do so.

Just one day before Ohio State’s third game of last season against Western Kentucky, Hall became a father when his son Michael Hall III was born. From that moment, Hall knew he was likely to turn pro after his third year as a Buckeye.

While all of the other stars from his class except Marvin Harrison Jr. decided to stay at Ohio State for a fourth year, Hall felt like he had to do what was best for his son.

“It definitely weighed, but just got to do what's best for my family and feed my family first,” Hall said Wednesday at the NFL Scouting Combine.

On the field, Hall believes he is ready to play at the next level after three years at Ohio State. While Hall missed some time with injuries over the past two seasons that may have prevented him from playing to his full potential after redshirting as a true freshman, he still demonstrated plenty of ability across his two playing seasons, recording 43 total tackles with 9.5 tackles for loss and six sacks and earning third-team All-Big Ten honors in 2023.

“I would say just having (Ohio State defensive line coach) Larry Johnson as a coach and (Ryan) Day as my head coach just developed me greatly as a player and just helped me on and off the field,” Hall said. “I knew I was ready for sure.”

Hall leaves Ohio State feeling grateful for the career he had as a Buckeye.

“I'll say it went very well,” Hall said when asked how he thought his Ohio State career went. “Dealing with injuries here and there, but just to look past that, I really appreciated my time at The Ohio State, for sure. Just coming from Cleveland, Ohio, it was my dream school.”

Hall said he didn’t know that so many of his classmates, including fellow defensive linemen Jack Sawyer, JT Tuimoloau and Tyleik Williams, would stay at OSU for their senior seasons when he announced his decision to enter the draft just hours after Ohio State’s Cotton Bowl loss to Missouri. But Hall remains confident he made the best decision for him.

“I wish those guys the best, love my brothers to death, but I had to do what’s best for Mike Hall,” Hall said.

“Just got to do what's best for my family and feed my family first.” – Mike Hall on his decision to enter the 2024 NFL draft

That said, Hall is excited to watch Williams, Sawyer and Tuimoloau play for the Buckeyes again this year.

“That was my class I came in with. Those are my brothers for life. So definitely always talk to them, even to this day,” Hall said. “Still hitting the group chat, asking how guys are doing.”

He says they helped him get to where he is now.

“I feel like they pushed me a lot,” Hall said. “We were the greatest D-line just in our class, just getting recruited. So we push each other to the limits every day, whether that's on the field or even getting extra work.”

Entering the combine, Hall is widely projected to be a second- or third-round draft pick. He bolstered his draft stock at the Senior Bowl, taking advantage of a rule change this year allowing early draft entrants to play in the Senior Bowl, by earning practice player of the week honors for the defensive linemen on his team.

Hall won’t be working out at the combine because he recently tweaked his hamstring, but he plans to do a full workout for NFL scouts at Ohio State’s March 20 pro day.

Regardless of where he gets drafted, Hall is confident he can be a “great asset” to whichever team selects him.

“I'm one of those guys who's gonna come in and be hungry to play,” Hall said. “I'm not one of those guys who’s just gonna sit around and be comfortable. I'm always working, and I'm always willing to do whatever it takes to be on the field.”

Hall’s biggest source of motivation as he begins his NFL career is to provide the best life he can for his son.

“That was the day I really became a man,” Hall said of becoming a father. “It's not about Mike Hall anymore, it's about my son.”

Hall also wants to give back to his mother, Lynda, to repay her for everything she’s done for him.

“I think of filling out my FAFSA (financial aid) form and whatever and my mom was just only making about $20,000 a year,” Hall said. “So just having her sacrifice so much for me and my brother, it’s just a true blessing. It gives me that motivation, that passion to play how I play.”

View 18 Comments