The good news keeps flowing, as Darrin Hall received an invite to the Senior Bowl this week.  The Senior Bowl is widely considered the premier showcase for college football’s best senior NFL draft prospects, and the invite is  a well-deserved accolade for the former four-star recruit from Youngstown, Ohio.

While Hall didn’t make much of a mark during his first two years at Pitt (just 100 attempts for 417 yards), he flashed some potential in 2017, rushing for 628 yards on 128 carries (4.9 avg).  Darrin really flourished in 2018 behind coach Dave Borbley’s zone blocking scheme, where his decisive one-cut running style and above-average speed helped him break some big runs at key times during the season.  Hall also displayed a nice bit of power, as you can see from his UVA game highlights.  (Check out his second TD where he completely trucks the Safety James Conner-style to get into the endzone.)

Hall finished the 2018 season with 1,144 yards and 10 touchdowns on 153 attempts.  That was good for seventh nationally in rushing yards per carry, at 7.48.  That 7.48 YPC is also tops in the Pitt record books, as Hall broke Tony Dorsett’s YPC record of 6.6 set in 1975 (min 1000 yds rushing).  His prolific production earned Hall third-team ACC honors and a spot in the East-West Shrine Game, where he led all rushers with 77 yards on 12 carries (6.4 avg.)

Hall currently projects as 34th (ish) best Running Back in the 2019 draft, which would put him into 7th round / Free Agent territory (Editor’s Note:  I believe this evaluation is based on his junior year), but with a good Senior Bowl and a good combine he could certainly improve that.  Even if he goes undrafted Hall is likely to get a legitimate shot to catch on with an NFL team, especially one that runs a zone scheme.  Other successful free agent running backs of note include Philadelphia’s Cory Clement (you may remember his as former Pitt commit who followed Paul Chryst to Wisconsin) and Denver’s Philip Lindsay, a Colorado product who rushed for over 1000 yards this year (his rookie season).

If you want to watch Darrin Hall one last time before he tries to go pro, the Senior Bowl will be televised this Saturday (Jan 26th) on the NFL Network at 2:30 p.m.

Congratulations Darrin and Hail to Pitt!

 

 

 

113 thoughts on “Going Bowling One Last Time

  1. I am happy to report that I was able to touch base with UPitt. All is well, just a real hectic schedule keeping him away. We should hopefully hear from him soon.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Great? Haha just kidding. It will be good to have a yang to all the positive yin that’s going on

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  2. Hall could be another Willie Parker. Remember Willie was a backup RB at UNC and signed with the Steelers as a free agent.

    Willie’s long TD run in that Super Bowl was similar to some of Darren’s long runs.

    Yeah, picking up blitzers is not a strength, but many backs struggle with that…

    Go Pitt.

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  3. Can’t help seeing similarities with Lethal Offense 3 and the Lethal Weapon movies…Coach Duzz (Joe Pesci) asks to be able to sit in on the OC meetings and Whipple / Beatty (Gibson / Glover) shout back “Stay in the car, Leo”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Hall and Ollison IMO both owe a great deal to Coach Borbely’s zone blocking scheme instituted last season. The “great deal” should result in both picking up some NFL money even if it is only practice squad money for one or both.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. BTW. if you look at the link MM provided in his article about the projected RBs in the NFL draft, you will note Qadree Ollison at 27th …. but also, an RB from Slippery Rock at 9th.

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  6. Both Ollie and Hall have the size for the NFL, we’ll see if they have the skills, a big jump.
    Sorry Majors but Parker had world class speed, Hall is pretty fast but just average in the NFL.

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    1. You’re right – I take it back.

      I like Hall and Ollison, but I much prefer a quick RB with some zig ang zag.

      And l never expected James C. to do as well in the NFL as he has – so what do I know…

      Go Pitt.

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  7. Didn’t Curtis Martin blossom in the NFL after a promising but not Heisman worthy college career? BTW, I checked, he was a 3rd round pick to New England, 74th overall pick.

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    1. I remember Majors advising him not to declare for the draft and sticking around for one more year. Who knows? He may have been a first rounder had he stayed .. or maybe he would have been injured, or not have a good senior year because Pitt was not very good at all back then

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    2. Curtis Martin did an interview, where he said he did not like football and only played for the money.
      He was one of those guys that coasted through college ball and then played hard for the money in the NFL. He always had the talent.
      You never know who is going to up their game when they go to the next level, who has hit their peak in college, who has the talent and desire to make a living at it. Look at Wannamaker, perfect example of a guy that just keeps working. Remember James Harrison, a guy that failed numerous times before becoming a superstar.
      A big part is desire and another is staying healthy and overcoming and managing pain.
      Conner obviously has the skills and a big heart, but will his body hold up? Especially as the featured back?

      Liked by 1 person

  8. wwb, I could very well have the story backwards here but I thought Majors gave Martin a gentle shove towards the door? Like I said, I could have it backwards?

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  9. Watch the “A Football Life” episode on Curtis Martin, and you’ll get a feel for why he might have left early. I too thought at the time that he made a mistake.

    I met him at an airport in West Palm Beach when he was 19 or 20 years old. He struck me as being very sharp and just a super nice guy. He clearly is both.

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  10. Gordon discussed late bloomers. I think that it is often the case with 2 and 3 stars that they may have some talent, but something held them back or they didn’t develop in high school. Some are injured, some are late in starting to play the game, such as when linemen are recruited by their high school coach to come out for football, and some are still growing their bodies. In such cases, they may not get enough snaps in HS or in their early college years to really learn the game, and in HS often got the lower or no rating. Sometimes even highly ranked kids such as Ford need more time to develop.

    I watched Aaron Donald play as a Freshman at Pitt. He had the motor, but made a lot of mistakes. So it is not surprising that many skilled players are late bloomers (although Donald did develop rapidly at Pitt), often as NFL players if they can make a roster and really concentrate on their game. Curtis Martin is another good example. Coaches like PN use these same arguments when their recruiting classes are not highly ranked.

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  11. McCoy is 25th on the list of all time NFL rushers (10,606) and is a 1,000 yards of moving up to No. 17. Most of the top 15 are in the HOF .. Frank Gore,(4) and Adrian Petersen (8) are not yet eligible. 2,000 more yards would put him at 11th, ahead of Jim Brown and right behind Dorsett.

    IMO, he will need to get close to 2,000 yards to make it to the Hall … if for nothing else, his off-the-field issues. Warranted or not, they probably do count with the voters

    Like

    1. Another blunder by the Pitt Athletic Department/Administration. Pitt had enough on-line classes to accomplish the same thing…..Now he is …a Phoenix, as his commercial states academically, but a Pitt guy athletically.

      I wonder if the University of Phoenix could ever field a college football team with high school recruits that want to go to college completely on-line.

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      1. Well u of phenix (a for profit university) had a whole marketing campaign around Fitzgerald and finishing your degree blah blah blah, which was petty clever and something that an actual university would probably never do. Also the naming rights to cardinals stadiums etc…

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      1. Pitt should consider it with those other infommercials it does on gamedays. We can show our Rhoades Scholars, inventors, the Zoo, and of course the faces of the Pitt franchise (Fitz, Marino, Dorsett, Ditka and AD) at the end of the clip, stating “Hail 2 Pitt”

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  12. Pat Narduzzi’s personality change. Did anyone notice the change in PN today in taking with the press this morning? Maybe it’s just that there is no immediate pressure on him today with the season not starting for another 8 months. But it seem like he was much more relaxed talking with the press today than he has ever been in the past.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I love it when we talk about taking away a RB’s long runs to determine their true impact. I don’t ever recall someone suggesting that we take away a QB’s long throws to determine their impact…I think Revis is in the “for sure” category. He played 11 seasons, of which 9 were full seasons. In those 9 seasons he made the pro bowl 7 times.

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    1. Ruben Brown made the pro bowl nine times.
      But Revis recognized as the best at his position for a long time.
      He doesn’t show up in the stats, ints etc.
      Still should get in.

      Like

  14. Take away Pickett’s long 8 yard pass and he would have had 0 yards in the Clemson game. 🙂

    I’ve notice a lot more pleasant personality from Narduzzi this whole past season. Of course relatively speaking that may not be saying much. Never the less, I think he’s starting to grow into the job of being a head coach. Pat and Jerry seems to have a very good relationship between each other?

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    1. Pat picks on Jerry mercilessly and I don’t think Jerry likes it very much but he’s started to tolerate it. Just my view from down here in Atlanta

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    2. But honestly my opinion is that that’s how Pat shows he likes you. He’s a ball buster but if he’s not busting your balls it means he doesn’t care

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it’s just the Duzz trying to be funny, or clever, or sometimes just trying to avoid a question or issue.

        Doesn’t always work.

        “No doubt about it!”

        I think ike made a good point — that people do improve in their job with experience. Seems to me that too many sports’ fans expect a new coach to come in and be an infallible miracle worker from day one.

        Go Pitt.

        Like

        1. Yea I think that’s part of it too. I find it entertaining but I also sometimes wince because you can tell a reporter (usually Jerry) isn’t taking it well. Still id rather have a hc with personality than a bellicheck or Paul Chryst type (all else ie winning % being equal)

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          1. I’m curious. What indication is there that DiPaola isn’t taking it well? All I ever heard is pure speculation from people on this site, but not anything from him or anyone that really knows him. Fact is that he has worked the Pitt beat much longer than anyone, and I’m sure he can get another assignment (Pirates, Pens, Steelers) if he really wanted it

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            1. I’m just observing how he reacts. The nuance of it / tone of voice / what he says. I’d love to be able to see his facial expressions. I’m not saying I’m right, but I am saying that’s what I perceive

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  15. That’s how I see it MM. I think it’s a Dego thingie. << Remember… I’m part Dego even though I don’t have a drop of Italian blood in me. It’s ingrained in my membrane. . . …

    No offense intended and all apologies………… ike

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  16. Did not know that about R Brown, don’t see how he does not get in someday…I seem to recall the standard for the HOF is how the player performed relative to other players of the same era at the same position (vice against all players ever)… I agree that Revis was the top corner in the NFL for several years. Can’t intercept or break up passes that are not thrown to your coverage area/man. I guess time will tell.

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  17. Revis played in NYC for most of his career; Reuben Brown played in Buffalo .. the wrong coast in NY. Plus he is an OL. Both deserve HOF selection IMO but Revis goes in before Brown, if he (RB) goes in at all

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    1. Good points, I think Revis also got a ring with NE. Doesn’t hurt.
      All Superbowl fails at Buffalo doesn’t help.
      I don’t see Brown getting in at this point either.

      Like

    2. Brown deserves a spot in Canton solely for sticking with Pitt and its crapping administration in the early 90s. Oh, yeah, and his NFL career doesn’t hurt his case either. My first sentence was sarcasm.

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  18. Hall had nice senior season and is possibly showing up big in post season games, but still think his best chance at the NFL will be as a free agent. If in high enough demand, maybe he finds a team that fits his running style. Wish him the best.

    Personally, if it was my choice, Hall or a healthy Ollison, I’d take QO as long as his ankle is fully healed. Better in short yardage situations.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Okay Mike here are 3 (4) sets of Pitt College Stats for comparison….

    Curtis Martin: 2643 Rushing Yds (5.1 yards/rush)
    759 Receiving Yds (8.4 yds/catch)
    17 TDS

    Qadree Ollison: 2859 Rushing Yds (5.4 Yds/rush)
    375 Receiving Yds (7.5 Yds/catch)
    32 TDS

    Darrin Hall: 2189 Rushing Yds (5.7 yds/rush)
    267 Receiving Yds (7.0 yds/catch)
    22 TDS

    Oh heck, let’s do one more….

    Craig Ironhead Hayward: 3086 Rushing yards (4.5 yds/rush)
    638 Receiving yds (10.5 yds/catch)
    26 TDS.

    I’d say our graduating RBs are in some pretty good company!

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Pitt just offered a 3 star CB from Georgia Erwin Byrd for their 2019 class. Maybe they aren’t too sure about Devonshire committing to us in the next couple weeks.

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    1. here is the 2019 commitment list, and see that it has just one DB. Devonshire is certainly not a shoo-in but I don’t think this new offer means he’s off the board.

      BTW, note that there are only 19 commits so far … thus, this may be a reason that the class is ranked as low as it is, and there may be room for more recruits than what is being posted here the last few days (but I really don’t know)

      https://pittsburgh.rivals.com/commitments/football/2019

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      1. Agree wwb – Pitt has 5 or 6 scholarship players that could be shown the door, IMO.

        I prefer not to name them. As for NLI day, 25 signed commitments should be the target, with select 4* recruits as the first choices. Get the best who want to be Pitt men, no matter what position.

        Fill needs Lyke OL and TE, sprinkled with a few 4* guys and this class looks much better.

        But please, do not hold your breath. Life is too short.

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      2. Odd that Liam Dick rated significantly lower than Nick Malone and yet here sits Malone without a commutable offer…

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    2. You can never have enough dB commits… maybe Devonshire commits and moves to WR? I am speculating here…

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  21. Yeah and that too pmd. lol… I can always go for some good gabagool! Their ready made sandwiches are the best! They actually put in an extra lane on rt 30 to make it easier to cross 30 to get in there.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Perhaps this is bad taste on my part but according to the Channel 2 News, the girl who was wounded at State College last night is now in an (unspecified) Pittsburgh area hospital after being life-lighted from Mt Nittany Med Center in State College.

    PSU’s Hershey Medical Center is a 45 minute drive from there, probably a 15 minute flight. I was at Hershey Med for a meeting and tour just 3 years ago (November 2015), and it is a very large facility with a trauma/emergency operation as well as a large surgical center. Makes little sense to me

    Like

    1. lastrow, Do you have a Cozi channel? It’s a WTAE back-up channel. That’s where today’s game is being shown on Armstrong Cable ,,, Ch 90.

      Like

    1. I’d never play anything other than a zone defense against the Pitt BB team. And if Pitt is not hitting the outside shot I’d pack the zone in even tighter and force them to attempt more long range shots.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. lastrow,

    Andrew Stockey@astockeyWTAE

    Saturday’s 2pm game between #Pitt and #Louisville can be seen in Pittsburgh on @COZITV on free, over-the-air channel 4.2 and cable TV Comcast channel 204/188, Verizon FIOS channel 461, Armstrong channel 90, Consolidated channel 15 and Atlantic Broadband channel 110

    Liked by 1 person

  24. If you guys have cable, (I have Comcast) just call or go to a local store the and ask for the new remote you speak into. << It’s free. When you get it… Turn the TV on and say. PITT basketball game and wala… It shows you where the game can be reviewed and will remind you when it comes on.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. If you speak Dago/Dego go ahead and try it. I only know ciao and buona notte. Hello and goodnite. Sundays when Patsy’s friend would come over they only spoke in Italian.

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  26. 3 of my 4 grandparents were born in Italy. But the only words that were said to me when I was young (and not sure of the spelling) were:

    aspett = wait; mangaire or Mange = eat; stutta zitto = shut up; fanabe (derived from va Napoli) = go to hell (from ‘go to Naples’ which is like telling an Italian to go to hell

    and of course there was the F word, which sound a bit like the bat used to hit fly balls in fielding practice

    Like

  27. I get it wwb…. didn’t take me long to figure out that I was only supposed to learn a few words so I couldn’t understand what he was saying I wasn’t supposed to hear or understand. The hello and goodnite came out of Patsy’s rules of the house. You had to say hello when you walked into a room already occupied and say goodnite when you left the room. If I brought a friend home I had to give them a pre-entry lesson on how they should act. If they didn’t say hi and goodby my ass was grass. Wasn’t long before my friends started to decline to come over. If I could write I’d write a book….

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      1. 66 wwb, What that meant was…….. Patsy wanted to me to know how to say hello and goodby but never tried to teach more Italian because he didn’t want me to know what he was saying when he was talking to his boss…

        Like

  28. Pitt is a 10 point dog to a team they beat earlier in the season.

    Do you think zone D is a factor in that line?

    Revenge and home court for the cards definitely is factored in as well.

    H2P!

    Liked by 1 person

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