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The connection between a 49ers HOFer and one of the best college running backs

Iowa State’s Breece Hall just shattered a 51-year-old NCAA record previously owned by a star player from Arkansas. But that’s far from Hall’s only connection to football royalty.

NCAA Football: Texas Christian at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State running back Breece Hall has taken the college football world by storm. He burst onto the scene for the Cyclones in 2019 but really captured attention in 2020 when he rushed for more than 1500 yards and 21 touchdowns.

Add another nearly 200 yards receiving, two more touchdowns, and you’ve got the recipe for a pretty special season that carried the Clones to the Fiesta Bowl and a win over Oregon.

Most recently, Hall shattered a 51-year-old NCAA record notching his 24th straight game with a rushing touchdown, a record previously owned by former Arkansas RB Bill Burnett, who rushed for a touchdown in 23 consecutive games between 1968-1970. Hall did so in a routing of Texas Christian, 48-14, where he tallied 18 carries for 242 yards and four touchdowns (three rushing). Hall closed the regular season with more than 1400 yards and 23 TDs.

But that’s not Hall’s closest relation to all-time greats. No, Hall is actually related to NFL royalty and one of the greatest to don a 49ers jersey: Roger Craig. Craig is Hall’s cousin, and clearly tough running and strength on the ground run — literally — in the family.

The connection makes sense. Craig lived out his childhood and high school years in Davenport, Iowa, where he attended Davenport Central High School (where former NFL RB Jim Jensen also played before Roger and his brother Curtis assumed duties at back for the Blue Devils).

Davenport is about 2.5 hours from Ames, where the Cyclones play. Craig then took his talents to Nebraska, not too far from where Hall would spend his childhood in Wichita, Kansas. Hall attended Wichita Northwest, located about for hours from Lincoln and the home of the Big Red. While the 6-foot-1, 220-pounder garnered an offer from cousin Craig’s Huskers, the four-star recruit chose Iowa State over Iowa, Baylor, Kansas State, Michigan, and Tennessee.

Craig capped off a successful collegiate career by being picked up by the 49ers, with who he’d, of course, go on to win three Super Bowls between 1983-1990. Hall, a junior, is poised to captivate the league in his own way when he enters the Draft. Craig isn’t Hall’s only connection to the league: his stepdad, Jeff Smith, also played running back for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs.

While Craig and Hall’s personal relationship hasn’t been widely discussed, it’s clear to see the similarities between the two and a pretty cool connection when you think about it. Clearly, skill at running back is in their blood.