Ohio State will likely begin the football season without its top running back after Jordan Hall suffered a foot injury outside his Columbus residence earlier this week.
Hall, a senior from Jeannette, Pa., tweeted Saturday morning he had successful surgery on the foot, and the university confirmed the news with an announcement later in the day.
In a news release, a school spokesman said Hall was walking in grass when he suffered a cut that required surgery at the Ohio State University Medical Center.
“This is an unfortunate accident to a really fine young man,” Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said. “He’s handling things well, though. He’ll be in a non-weight bearing cast for about six weeks and then he’ll rehabilitate the injury for at least four weeks after that.”
The 10-week estimate would keep Hall out until the middle of September, in which case he would miss at least two games.
The blow could be a big one for the Buckeyes, who will be in their first year in Meyer’s spread option offense.
Meyer listed Hall as his starting running back in a post-spring depth chart, and the coach said the 5-9, 198-pounder could be used in multiple roles, including slot receiver.
In April, OSU running backs coach Stan Drayton praised Hall's growth during the offseason.
“Any time a kid goes from a 2.0 to a 3.4 in a quarter to me that represents change in a positive way," Drayton said. "You see the leadership and the toughness both in the weight room and on the field, that was already there but he’s taken it to another level. there’s change all around. I see him embracing teammates, I see him encouraging freshmen. I didn’t see Jordan Hall doing that last year. He’s very unselfish right now and feels accountable to his teammates. I guarantee that is going to show up in his play.”
Drayton also called Hall's first step as good as he has ever seen while confirming plans to use him in a variety of ways.
"He’s tough to tackle. He’s so quick, so to not get him in space, we’ve got to be dumb coaches, right?" Drayton said. "We’re going to do the best we can to showcase that ability.”
Four scholarship tailbacks are left in his wake – senior Carlos Hyde, sophomore Rod Smith and freshmen Brionte Dunn and Warren Ball – but all of them are bigger, power-oriented backs, unlike Hall.
Hyde likely becomes the starter with Hall sidelined.
Hall enters his senior season with 817 career rushing yards with five rushing touchdowns along with 21 receptions for 202 yards and four more scores.
The Buckeyes open the season Sept. 1 when they play host to Miami (Ohio).
Preseason camp will being the first week of August.
Follow this writer on Twitter and find Buckeye Sports Bulletin on Facebook.