With James Conner to be spotlighted in 2015 and Chris James and Rachid Ibrahim backing him up, a Darrin Hall redshirt seemed possible. Factor in that the Panthers also have redshirt freshman Qadree Ollison and chances of Hall playing seemed sparse.
But recent comments from head coach Pat Narduzzi make it seem like Hall could indeed get on the field this year. In discussing his top four backs, Narduzzi says that Hall is fitting right in there.
"Rachid [Ibrahim] has had a great camp so far," said Narduzzi. Chris James has had a good camp and Darrin Hall has had a good camp so far, so it will be interesting. Darrin Hall, as a rookie, he's come in here and not backed down from anything."
Narduzzi says the team prefers to take four backs with them on road trips and that all four could play. "All four of those guys are going to get their shot to get in there," added Narduzzi. We'd like to travel with four tailbacks. We've got four right now that I can see being on that bus every week."
Hall was a somewhat unexpected get for Pitt when he committed. His addition made a deep running back group even deeper.
As a four-star recruit, it's not entirely surprising that Hall finds himself in the mix for carries. But with the three guys ahead of him, a redshirt is possible as well. And just because he travels with the team doesn't automatically mean he will play. With injuries, however, his role could change in an instant.
It sounds like, for now, too, that Hall may have passed Ollison up on the depth chart. If that's the case, it makes you wonder a little about Ollison's long-term role. Consider that even beyond this year, he could still find it difficult to pick up carries. Chris James will have two more years of eligibility left after 2015, Ibrahim will have one, and Hall will have at least three, depending on what happens with him this year.
Still, we are too far away to speculate too much. Who knows what happens with players leaving early for the pros, injuries, etc. Few could have imagined the kind of season Conner had last season that will likely mean an early exit to the NFL after this year. Who knows - James or Hall themselves could themselves be in for a monster year and an early departure down the road. A lot can happen in four years and that's how long Ollison still has.