Out of transfer portal, Hassan Hall finds ‘perfect situation’ at Georgia Tech

Louisville running back Hassan Hall (19) runs from the pursuit of Boston College linebacker Isaiah Graham-Mobley (19), and defensive lineman Izaiah Henderson (92) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Louisville, Ky., Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

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Louisville running back Hassan Hall (19) runs from the pursuit of Boston College linebacker Isaiah Graham-Mobley (19), and defensive lineman Izaiah Henderson (92) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Louisville, Ky., Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

Credit: AP

Hassan Hall said he feared the unknown when he went into the transfer portal in November near the end of his fourth season at Louisville. And, due to the attention he received and the compressed timeline, the experience turned out to be “100 times more complicated” than his recruitment out of Maynard Jackson High, he said.

But it ended up with a decision to enroll at Georgia Tech and replenish the Yellow Jackets’ running-back depth. Hall, who graduated from Louisville in December with a communications degree and has one year of eligibility remaining, brings experience, productivity and versatility. He’s arguably the most accomplished of the seven transfers who’ve arrived at Tech through the portal this offseason.

“To me, it was just the perfect situation,” Hall told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Hall made his decision last Tuesday after hearing from a number of power-five schools, he said, and selecting Tech over Michigan State. In getting to know coach Geoff Collins and his staff, particularly new running-backs coach Mike Daniels, Hall said he was won over by the enthusiasm and authenticity he felt.

“Everything they said, the dominoes fell just exactly like how they were going to fall,” Hall said. “They were upfront with a lot of things, and the energy was just amazing.”

Hall was impressed by Daniels, hired in December to replace Tashard Choice. Hall described Daniels as “very detailed” and said he particularly appreciated his approach. When other coaches who broke down his game video sought to flatter him, Daniels went the other way.

“He stayed on the good for, like, two seconds and went straight to the bad,” Hall said. “O.K., this is what we need to work on. I think that was different.”

Hall played in 42 games for the Cardinals over four seasons, gaining 3,841 all-purpose yards. He rushed for 1,299 yards, caught 175 yards’ worth of passes and returned kickoffs for 2,367 yards. He was named to the All-ACC team in 2019, on the second team as an all-purpose player and the third team as a specialist.

He didn’t see as much playing time in the 2021 season. He went in the portal with three games remaining in the regular season.

“The opportunity at Louisville just wasn’t there anymore,” Hall said. “You could see it. My time had expired there. It was time for me to find new scenery, a new everything. It was time to go up and get out of there.”

Among other factors, Hall, who has one year of eligibility remaining, said he was looking for a place where he was wanted and where he would feel comfortable. He received that vibe on his two visits to Tech.

“I’ve got one more ride, so it was just coming into a place that I can be me, first and foremost,” he said. “Because if I can’t be me, then I can’t do all the things I need to do.”

Hall liked how coaches envisioned his role in the scheme of new offensive coordinator Chip Long.

“Just all around, No. 1 what I liked the most was getting me involved in the pass game, whether that was backfield, using me one-on-one with a linebacker, screen game,” he said. “They’ll put me in the slot in space, using me on the perimeter. Using all my strengths. Putting me in a situation to succeed and win.”

He sees himself as an every-down back.

“Space is the name of the game,” Hall said. “You just put me out there, I’m going to win. I’m going to run pasts you, run over you. However you want to put it, I’m going to win.”

He also wants to continue returning kicks. At Louisville, out of 95 returns, he brought back 14 at least 30 yards. Two went all the way for touchdowns.

“That’s as package deal,” Hall said. “That’s a two-for-one for (Tech).”

Hall said he’ll be comfortable sharing playing time in the backfield. Dontae Smith and Jamious Griffin both return, and two freshmen – Jamie Felix and Antonio Martin – are on their way in.

“I like the two-back system,” he said. “It’s cool, very cool – a partner in crime.”

Hall joins a growing list of transfers to Tech who are from metro Atlanta and left the state for college before deciding to return. Hall said it wasn’t a factor in his decision.

“I didn’t pick it just because it was home,” he said. “I picked it because it was the best decision. But to do it at home, though – man, high school all over again.”

Hall, who said he’ll wear No. 3, was fully aware of the Jackets’ record in recent seasons, said he welcomes the challenge of lifting the Jackets.

“I’m no Lamar Jackson, but I think I can contribute a lot to helping turning it around,” said Hall, referring to Louisville’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback. “I can’t wait.”

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