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Uprooted transfer Isaiah Hall making a new home in MSU’s backfield

Minot State running back Isaiah Hall, right, takes a handoff from quarterback Ben Bolinske, left, during a practice this fall at Herb Parker Stadium in Minot. Alex Eisen/MDN

Isaiah Hall’s journey to Minot was unorthodox. Likewise, so was the Minot State’s running back situation last season.

When Hall needed a new home, the Beavers brought him in.

Call it destiny or an extraordinary circumstance; the unlikely pairing has been a win-win situation for both sides.

“Bringing in Isaiah (Hall) was huge,” MSU football head coach Mike Aldrich said. “We needed a guy with experience and maturity (at the running back position). Isaiah has been awesome, and he’s thankful to have the opportunity. Obviously, his story is pretty special anyways.”

Hall, a native of Temecula, California, stayed in-state and played his first two seasons of collegiate football at Division II Humboldt State in Arcata, California.

In those 17 games, Hall rushed for 487 yards and seven touchdowns with an average of 5.4 yards per carry.

Then came the news everyone feared. In July 2018, Humboldt State announced that the football program would be discontinued after the 2018 season.

After 89 seasons and 11 conference titles, this was the end.

“I was kind of in a bind,” Hall said. “I didn’t really know where my next place was going to be.”

Hall entered the 2018 season with soon-to-be disbanded Humboldt State, strapping up the pads with the hope of drawing enough interest to join a new team for the following season.

With the pressure on to perform, Hall’s season only lasted three games due to an undisclosed injury. He carried the ball 41 times for 165 yards and didn’t find the end zone.

But, Hall received a do-over — another year of eligibility.

The hunt was on to find a new place to play.

That’s when senior Minot State tight end Devon Owens, a California native, came swooping in.

“Luckily, Devon Owens reached out to me,” Hall said. “He saw my film, and he was like, ‘Wow, this kid is amazing. We got to get him here. We got to get him here.’ So, a big shoutout to Devon Owens, he brought me here.”

Hall transferred out of Humboldt State after the fall semester and joined Minot State in January. He took part in the Beavers’ spring camp and is eligible to play right away because Humboldt State’s football program folded — the one-year transfer waiting policy was nullified.

Gaining weight and recovering from his injury over the offseason, Hall solidified himself as the frontrunner in the backfield and an admirable leader.

“(Hall) has almost been as much of a coach than he has been a player,” Aldrich said. “I think that’s pretty special. If you ask any of our running backs, I think they can see the value of his experience and how he imparts that. Trying to help them be the best they can be.”

The Beavers’ leading rusher from last season was Lane Torgerson, who was a wide receiver converted into running back because MSU ran out of viable tailbacks due to injuries and players departing the team.

Torgerson rushed for 524 yards on 105 carries. He happily returns to being a wide receiver for his senior season.

MSU has seven running backs listed on the roster entering the new season: Hall, redshirt freshman Brett Davis and five true freshmen. Hall is prepared to carry the load, describing himself as an every-down type of running back.

“(I want) my impact to be a leader on this team. That’s my No. 1 goal,” he said. “Also, my second goal is to be a 1,000-yard rusher or more because I came here to win. That’s the main thing I want to do. I want to showcase my talents, and I believe we are going to do that as a team.”

Getting to Minot was complicated, but Hall is embracing his second chance to play collegiate football.

“It was a hard place for me to go, but I’m glad I’m here. God always has a plan for me,” Hall said. “I came here to Minot State because I was truly in love with the place when I first came here. The players and coaches were very welcoming. They immediately showed me love and affection, so that’s the place I want to be at.”

Alex Eisen covers Minot State athletics, the Minot Minotauros and high school sports. Follow him on Twitter @AEisen13.

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