Is Michigan running back Benjamin Hall the real deal?

On3 imageby:Chris Balas04/02/23


Several Michigan players had the opportunity to make an improve their standing in the annual spring game. As Maize team coach Mike Hart said before the game, many players can do it on State Street (at the practice facility), but the April 1 scrimmage is the first opportunity to show you can do it on Main Street — at Michigan Stadium.

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Running back Benjamin Hall appears to have taken it to heart. The Michigan frosh has been performing well in practice, and he kept it up with 96 yards and a touchdown in the best showing for the running backs, by far.

Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards didn’t play, of course, still recovering from injuries, but that gave others a chance to step up. Hall responded in a big way.

“Ben, obviously … he got here in January. He’s going to be special,” Michigan running backs coach Hart said. “Cole [Cabana] didn’t play. He’s banged up a little bit. But all those young guys — Leon Franklin, Tavi Dunlap — are doing a great job, competing every day. So, I’m just really, really excited about where we are as a group. 

“I feel really good going into next year if guys get banged up. If guys get hurt, we’ve got a lot of depth this year.”

Michigan sophomore CJ Stokes didn’t play, but he had a great spring too, Hart added.

His absence created another opportunity for Hall. He had a 31-yard run on which he showed great patience and bounced outside before stepping out at the one-yard line. He had another run up the middle on which he got tripped up at the 5.

Hart gave him a hard time in the postgame.

“I told him today he should have had two touchdowns. He stepped out of bounds once, tripped on the other one,” Hart said with a grin.

But then he got serious, understanding like everyone else that what he’d seen didn’t appear to be a fluke.

“I just think … his maturity, it’s pretty amazing,” Hart said. “You wouldn’t guess he just turned 18 a few weeks ago. He acts like he’s been here a long time. He works hard, studies, understands the offense.

“He’s just getting better and better every day, and he’s just built like a grown man. He’s 225 pounds. His legs are huge; he runs hard. I’m excited about his future here.”

Hart was asked who he thought he ran like. He hesitated for a minute before keeping it in the Michigan family.

“Good question,” Hart said “He’s Hassan [Haskins]-like, hard to tackle and bring down. But his legs are just so big. Waist down, he’s a big guy. Go back to Kevin Grady if you want … back in the day, 2005, 2006.”

Grady was a former 5-star, but he didn’t show this much promise this early. Hall, “only” a three-star, is exceeding expectations.

It’s way early, though, to say he’s proved critics wrong. He hasn’t played in a game, and that’s when we’ll know.

But he is off and running — literally — as a man to watch at his position. And there’s no question he has some talent and the ability to make an impact at Michigan.

We’ll know in time just how much, but we wouldn’t bet against it being a big one.

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