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BYU Backup Quarterback Joins Baseball Team

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – BYU’s backup quarterback, Jaren Hall, has joined the list of athletes playing multiple sports in college, having joined the Cougar baseball team. It’s something former Utah quarterback Scott Mitchell did, and regrets.

Dual-sport athletes have been in the news lately, with the University of Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray deciding his future. The 2018 Heisman Trophy winner also played on the outfield for the Sooners.

The Oakland A’s selected Murray in the 2018 MLB Draft, but was expected to enter the 2019 NFL Draft. Several mock drafts project him in the first round, possibly as the top selection.

Why Jaren Hall May Have Gone Dual-Sport

Hall backed up freshman quarterback Zach Wilson during the 2018 season.

Rivals Podcast co-host Scott Mitchell said Hall likely added baseball to his schedule because of the success Wilson had during his freshman year. Hall has been pegged as the “backup” to a player many have deemed the Cougar’s quarterback of the future.

If Wilson does what many expect, he’ll have another three years helming the BYU offense, meaning a low probability Hall would get a lot of playing time.

“It’s very clear Zach Wilson is the future at BYU,” said Mitchell.

Left: Steve Griffin, Deseret News. Right: Jaren Wilkey, BYU.


Former Utah QB’s Dual-Sport Experience

Before his 10-year career in the NFL, Mitchell played both baseball and football at the University of Utah when he was a freshman in 1987.

“It was the hardest thing in the world,” Mitchell said, but it was part of how he was recruited.

One of Mitchell’s requirements when he was being recruited was that he could play baseball and football, but it only lasted that one year.

🔊LISTEN: Scott Mitchell’s experience as a dual-sport athlete

“I couldn’t do it, it was just so time-consuming. Baseball was brutally hard, even in the offseason,” said Mitchell.

The Utah baseball coach at the time expressed fear that Mitchell would get hurt playing. After all, football was the main reason he was there.

Mitchell eventually gave up baseball and stuck to football after his freshman year.

He talked about the experience on the Rivals Podcast.

Is Dual-Sport Harmful? It Depends.

Rivals co-host Jason Buck knew a few athletes who played football and baseball when he was a Cougar in the 1980s. Leon White, a linebacker, was the example Buck gave, calling him a “physical specimen” and an amazing athlete.

“If it doesn’t distract from football, I’d allow it,” answered Buck when Scott asked if being a dual-sport athlete is good or if it carries potential harm.

Mitchell explained why it would be much harder for a quarterback to be a dual-sport athlete. He stressed that quarterbacks have to get every possible rep in practice and spring football.

Buck agreed with him adding that if he were the head coach he would not allow a quarterback to play both baseball and football but would consider it for other non-first string positions.

As the backup quarterback, Hall may not get as much playing time, but he also has to be ready should something happen to Wilson. Over the last several years at BYU, multiple backup QBs have had significant playing time do to playing results or injury.

Taysom Hill, Tanner Mangum and Zack Wilson all got their first starts after serving as the backup. They may have all become consistent starters. However, other backups have also been given their chance: including Joe Critchlow, Beau Hoge, and Koy Detmer Jr. Backup QB Austin Kafentzis also saw playing time, although as a situational runner.

While Hall may be hedging hit bets by looking into other options, Mitchell believes he may find his experience to be similar to his – too much.

Listen to the full Rivals Podcast:

  • BYU Cougars Scoreboard

  • BYU Cougars Team Leaders

  • BYU Cougars Standings