A straight path is hard to follow in life, regardless what you choose to do.
There always seems to be detours and changes of direction.
But not many young men who select college football as an avenue of developing as an adult have traversed a more convoluted road than senior Ole Miss Tailback Bruce Hall.
Upon reflection, it's been a highway he never imagined he'd take as a bright-eyed 18-year old out of Milton, FL.
"Oh, man," he sighed, "I have been around the world. It's been a journey, a very emotional journey. As an 18-year old, you feel like you have it all figured out, then you are thrown a curve and you are faced making life-altering decisions at a young age."
A brief recap shows Bruce darted and ducked and plowed ahead a few times before settling in Oxford, MS, the past two years.
Bruce inked with Wake Forest out of high school as a combo quarterback, capable of running or throwing.
Wake was not a fit for him, so he transferred to Troy State. Ditto on the size being right.
Northeast Mississippi Community College was next on The Bruce Hall Express, where he had moderate success as a dual-purpose QB.
"To be honest, we were heading into spring training without a quarterback on campus two years ago," noted Ole Miss Coach Ed Orgeron. "We went to the Mississippi JUCO All-Star Game and saw Bruce. We felt he could get us through spring training and was a good enough athlete to warrant a scholarship."
Bruce's tenure at QB at Ole Miss did not last very long. Seth Adams walked on the same time Bruce came on board and sort of took over spring training before the arrival of highly-touted JUCO QB Brent Schaeffer.
Bruce was moved to tailback and seemed to have a natural ability and knack for running the ball.
"I guess all those years of being a running QB paid off," the mild-mannered Hall says.
Back to the journey. . . .
"My experience at Northeast was very good for me. One, the coaching staff there was great and I made a lot of good friends," he explains, "but it was also a humbling experience. After you have been on the Division 1 level to go back down a level to JUCO, well, you've been spoiled."
The last two years have been settling for Bruce - this is the longest he's ever been anywhere since leaving the warmth and comfort of his Milton home.
"Ole Miss has given me a chance to slow down and sink in somewhere. I've had a chance to develop some relationships with people I believe will be my friends for a lifetime," Hall notes.
Hall has been BenJarvus Green-Ellis' backup the past two seasons. He was expected to get a lot more carries this year, but an early shoulder injury dampered those hot plans.
He has no complaints, however.
"It's been great competing against BenJarvus and learning from him. He's a tough competitor who never lets up and that has taught me a lot," Hall explains. "Last week, when he was sick and injured, he could have sat out the Northwestern State game, but that's not his nature. Someguys milk injuries. Ben goes to another level when he's hurt or sick."
Coach O mentioned in Monday's press conference he believes Bruce has NFL potential. Hall did not disagree.
"I'm honored he'd say that. I have those dreams. I have only been playing running back for a year and a half and haven't scratched the surface on learning the position yet. I think I'm athletic enough to help some team somewhere on the pro level, but we'll see," he assessed.
With Hall and Green-Ellis leaving the program in two weeks, there appears to be a major gap at running back. Bruce doesn't feel that way.
"I think Cordera (Eason) will be a great back. He has shown flashes of being a tremendous player with a good mix of speed and power. He can run over you or run around you, kind of mix between Ben and me," Bruce stated. "Give him one more spring and he will be ready to roll. He could have helped this year, but it's just been a matter of not enough footballs to go around."
Bruce says he has not thought a lot about his college football career ending. In fact, it's kind of taken him by surprise.
"It seems like yesterday we were starting August practice and now it's almost over," he closed. "It's gone by too fast."
Life will throw you a curveball now and again.
Bruce Hall has swung and missed at a couple in the dirt, but he finally got a hanging curve and knocked it out of the park.