Maurice Hall played the unsung hero in Ohio State’s national championship season.
As an aspiring actor a decade later, he is typecast in a different way.
“The main things I’ve gone out for is the young dad on TV shows, the news reporter, and the police officer,” he said.
Hall, 29, is in his third year trying to make it in Hollywood, where his days are filled with auditions and the uncertainty of life as a young artist. The former OSU running back has played bit roles on the TV shows Grey’s Anatomy and The Mentalist, performed on stage, and written an online web series. For now, he pays his bills by working the desk at a gym.
“I feel like it’s just a matter of time until you’ll see me on the big screen,” he said.
One advantage: He has experience on the big stage.
Cast in the background for much of his career — Hall rushed for 974 yards over four seasons — he played an outsized role as a sophomore in 2002. The Columbus native is remembered for his game-winning touchdowns in the final two weeks of the regular season: An eight-yard overtime dash against Illinois, and a two-yard run on an option pitch against Michigan.
Hall said the pressure of his old job helped prepare him for his new one — a bug spurred by a theater class he took at Ohio State. If auditions admittedly inspire more nerves than playing before 105,000 fans, the man who burst into OSU lore enjoys the challenge of being someone else.
Like, say, a cop or a doctor or a … fanatical peewee football coach. In one audition tape, he forcefully tells a team of 8-year-olds, “Hitting ain’t about how much you weigh, it’s about how bad you want to put your man on a stretcher. … So are you here to have fun and drink juice boxes, or are you here to kill, destroy, and win?”
Said Hall: “I decided if this was what I wanted to do, it’s definitely not going to happen in Columbus.
“I said, ‘I’m going to make this happen.’ ”