It may have been hard to find Rannell Hall for much of the season.
For a player who hadn't missed a game in his career, Hall has missed three games this season with lingering injuries. However, locating Hall wasn't difficult in Saturday's win against USF.
Officially a wide receiver on the team's depth chart, Hall additionally lined up as a slot receiver and in the backfield next to Justin Holman. In all, Hall tallied a career-high 16 touches, and scored his first touchdown of the season — a 21-yard rushing touchdown.
"[I was] just being very versatile and trying to get the ball in my hands," Hall said. "With the whole receiving corps, everyone can pretty much do anything."
Moving forward, the versatility of Hall and his wide receiver comrades will be needed. With the team's leading receiver — at the time of his injury — J.J. Worton out for the rest of the season with a knee injury, Hall, Breshad Perriman and Josh Reese will need to shoulder heavier loads.
The increased workload will continue Thursday when the Knights travel to face East Carolina at 7:30 p.m., with a share of the American Athletic Conference title on the line.
Video: J. J. Worton, teammates react to injury Arnold Godoy & Ryan Gillespie, Central Florida Future
Much of Worton's role was working out of the slot, and as a third-down target. On Saturday, it was Perriman who was crucial in moving the chains, and with a backfield that was hobbled, Hall received 10 carries on his signature "Speed Sweep" and as a traditional tailback.
"Rannell is used to playing outside most of the time. It's different when you come inside to the slot," offensive coordinator Charlie Taaffe said. "That's been a little bit of a process, but again he's obviously a great playmaker. He really stepped up and we tried to put him in some positions where we knew we could put the ball in his hands. We did that and he certainly delivered both rushing and catching the ball."
Despite playing three fewer games than Perriman and two fewer than Worton, Hall trails Perriman, the team's leader in receptions, by just one catch.
With first-year starter Holman trending upward over the past month, Hall's presence has been crucial. While Perriman has spent much of the season running past defenders, or going over them, for long touchdowns, it has been Hall who has been the X-factor.
Take his touchdown run for example. Hall took a handoff out of the backfield to the right side. He cut back across the field to the left, gave a defender a juke at the 5-yard line and dove across the goal line for a touchdown.
With the top two running backs on the depth chart, sophomores William Stanback and Dontravious Wilson, sidelined with injuries, Hall provided a lift to a running game that has begun to hit stride in the past month.
He'll be easy to find moving forward — he'll probably have the ball in his hands.