Jeremiah Hall has turned into one of Oklahoma Sooners’ ‘bell cows’

·6 min read

Fresh off a 35-23 victory over Kansas that left something to be desired for No. 4 Oklahoma, the Sooners are searching for leadership, maybe more so now than at any other point this season.

Redshirt senior Jeremiah Hall hopes to be one of the voices his teammates can turn to and trust. The H-back was voted one of OU’s team captains before this 2021 season commenced and his message in the locker room is paramount at this juncture.

Yes, Oklahoma is 8-0 and still, the odds-on favorite to repeat as Big 12 champions for a seventh consecutive year. Still, part of Sooner Nation can’t shake that sense of impending doom if the Sooners don’t more closely resemble what many expected this team to be.

Hall even confessed that the thought of this team not achieving its goals, if Oklahoma keeps playing the way it has lately, does at times creep in.

“I would say that’s definitely a thought. That’s not something that you can say that it’s easy to ignore. At the same time, it’s just a thought,” Hall said.

The Charlotte, N.C., native was quick to point out that if he had told his teammates in week three or four that winning close wasn’t a sustainable way to do business, then he’d look pretty silly right now with Oklahoma still perfect.

However, as one of the elder statesmen and captains on this team, Hall knows he needs to convey the message that the play across the board just hasn’t been good enough for OU.

“I know that this isn’t the type of football I want to continue to play. This isn’t something I want to take into the Big 12 Championship, or the College Football Playoffs, or bowl season, or the rest of the season. All I know is that we just got to be better. At the end of the day, we’re finding ways to win games, and that’s what I’m hanging my hat on right now,” Hall said.

That’s an interesting balancing act for the leaders on this OU football team to manage as they get geared up to host Texas Tech on Saturday afternoon in Norman. It’s the best start to a season in Hall’s career on campus and, yet, it feels Oklahoma is nevertheless just scratching the surface of its potential.

“I always like to keep things in perspective. I’ve never been 8-0 and I said that last week, so I can smile, I can keep my head up about that. But, like Alex [Grinch] and like coach Riley said, we don’t have much time to continue to say that we have time, that we’re going to be able to fix these things,” Hall said.

“It’s not that I’m pressuring my guys to hurry up and act right and be perfect, but, at the same time, we do have a little bit more urgency, especially from the older guys because the older guys can understand. The younger guys are still figuring stuff out.”

Hall mentioned redshirt senior left guard Marquis Hayes, redshirt senior right tackle Tyrese Robinson and senior H-back Brayden Willis as players he’s talked to about helping impart the gravity of Oklahoma’s situation to younger teammates.

“They understand the urgency that I’m talking about because they’ve been through it with me. Those are the older guys that I’m talking to about making sure that we lead and get everybody to have that same urgency. I’m a little bit in the middle. I’m not changing anything drastically. I’m not making excuses for anybody or anything like that, but I do understand what’s at hand and I know that we have to play better,” Hall said.

If it’s not listening to his voice and digesting what Hall has to say, his teammates can simply look to mirror Hall’s growth as a player during his time at OU.

“I know we’ve talked about it over the last few years. He’s really improved as a receiver. I think made himself a more versatile player than he was when he walked in the door, and there’s just a lot of trust with the guy. I mean, the guy… you know what you’re going to get every day at practice, you know what you’re going to get every single game,” Oklahoma head football coach Lincoln Riley said of Hall.

“He rarely makes mental mistakes. He’s always into it. No matter if the job’s catching the ball and scoring a touchdown or it’s making a tough, gritty block in the box. Whatever it is, you just, you know that typically he’s going to get his job done and he’s going to come to compete and be ready every day,” Riley continued. “He’s definitely one of our bell cows, one of our big leaders. He’s always been a good presence in this program, but his leadership is at as high a level right now as it’s been throughout his career.”

Hall is one of the greater development success stories in recent Oklahoma football history. The 6-foot-2, 248 pound captain entered OU’s program as a three-star recruit according to 247Sports.

Before this season started, Hall reflected on his recruitment to Oklahoma in the inaugural episode of his podcast alongside Willis titled “The Podcast on the Prairie.”

“How he got in contact with me, I guess that’s just the Lord’s work,” Hall said of Riley’s recruitment.

Hall said he remembers the day Oklahoma came to see him workout alongside his high school quarterback.

“I’ll never forget the day where East Carolina came to look at me, Appalachian State, Syracuse, OU, and I think about four other schools were all lined up watching me and my quarterback throw routes. It was like a dream come true at that time. I had all these coaches lined up and all these colors,” Hall said.

It didn’t take long for then-OU assistant coach Jay Boulware to call back and offer Hall.

“He called me one day, and he said they were going to offer another H-back, and I was just like, ‘You know what, I don’t like that.’ So, I think I committed a couple days later. I was like, I’m going to hold my spot. I committed before I even took a visit to OU,” Hall said.

Now, he’s one of the most important offensive pieces for Oklahoma. Hall has four touchdowns in OU’s past four games, including a receiving score in each of the past two against TCU and Kansas.

Hall’s lasting contribution on this season and program will be measured in more than his individual production the rest of the way.

“So far this week we’ve been emphasizing competition. You know, just straight out there going to compete, trying to bring back that fall camp mindset as if we’re 0-0 again. I think we’ve done a good job of that, especially today. We’ll get some more of that competition tomorrow and we’re looking to make sure that carries over into Saturday and that we make sure that we play to our standard of football,” Hall said.

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