Dual-Threat Jaren Hall Prepared From Young Age To Be Starting QB
PROVO, Utah – After a 28-21 loss to the Toledo Rockets, BYU is searching for answers.
The Cougars are looking to get answers in a hurry to prevent this once-promising season from spiraling out of control.
One of the big questions that need an answer in a hurry is, what can BYU expect from Jaren Hall as their quarterback?
With sophomore starting quarterback Zach Wilson suffering a thumb injury while attempting to prevent a Toledo defender from running in an intercepted ball for a touchdown, Hall now takes the spotlight as BYU’s top signal-caller.
But what do we know about the redshirt freshman as he begins preparations for what will likely be the first start of his BYU career in two weeks against South Florida?
Who is Jaren Hall?
Checking in at 6-1, 205-pounds, Hall was a dual-sport high school star at Maple Mountain High School in Spanish Fork. While at Maple Mountain, Hall excelled as an all-state athlete in football, baseball, and baseball.
The son to former BYU running back Kalin Hall and mother Hollie, Jaren has always had his sights set on playing college football at a young age. It wasn’t until his junior year of high school that Hall realized he could play both football and baseball at the collegiate level.
Hall committed to BYU in 2014 when Bronco Mendenhall was the head coach of the Cougars.
One of the top quarterbacks out west, Hall competed at the Nike Opening and was also an award-winning quarterback from the Rivals Los Angeles and Las Vegas camps in 2015 for his accuracy and passing ability.
After Mendenhall left for Virginia in December of 2015, Hall needed to be re-recruited to BYU as Hall had offers from a handful of Pac-12 programs including the University of Utah.
BYU head coach Kalani Sitake and former offensive coordinator Ty Detmer were instrumental in securing Hall’s commitment in the 2016 recruiting class.
After graduating from Maple Mountain High School, Hall left to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the Sacramento, California area. Hall returned home from his mission in May of 2018.
Climbed up Depth Chart in Year One
When Hall returned home from his two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in the summer of 2018, BYU was in the middle of a quarterback controversy. Months prior, the Cougars went through spring practices with Zach Wilson as the quarterback who saw the most first-team reps due to Tanner Mangum recovering from an Achilles injury.
Hall was significantly behind the senior Mangum, fellow freshman Wilson, and even Joe Critchlow who had starting experience the year prior.
Through one week of fall camp practices, Critchlow was eliminated from the starting quarterback race and he was believed to be losing his status as the third-string spot as the coaches turned to Hall at that spot.
Then during the season when BYU made a change from Mangum to Wilson as the starter, Hall was neck-and-neck with Mangum to be the second-string QB. In the final month of the regular season, he was believed to be the backup quarterback.
Shined in Spring while juggling two sports
This past March, Hall had a unique opportunity to receive the majority of BYU’s first-team reps due to Wilson being sidelined while recovering from shoulder surgery.
Hall established himself as the second-string quarterback to Wilson with his play in spring practices. He did that while also juggling time as an outfielder on BYU’s baseball team.
The two-sport athlete sacrificed a BYU baseball game to perform in the football team’s spring scrimmage at the old Provo High and he impressed. Hall led four touchdown drives and passed for 205 yards and ran for 56 in the open practice for fans.
Don’t get it twisted, Hall’s a quarterback
We’ve seen Hall play in different positions this season ranging from quarterback to wide receiver and even a little bit of running back. But rest assured, Hall is a quarterback. He made that clear during fall camp last year.
Hall was willing to embrace any role to help this BYU team and to get on the field, but since Hall was a young kid he’s always been a quarterback. For all of the football teams, he’s been part of, the quarterback position has been the spot Hall has excelled at. It’s the area he knows the most.
What type of quarterback is Hall?
Because of Hall’s ability to play multiple positions, people are quick to think Hall is a run-first quarterback. He’s a dual-threat. Hall can run and pass and during his career at Maple Mountain, Hall excelled as a pocket passer.
Hall was asked to do a lot for Maple Mountain’s offense, but Hall would let the pocket develop, go through his reads, and use his arm to make plays through the air.
Hall’s one drive against Toledo on Saturday was a tough situation to be thrown into with the game on the line and less than a minute left on the game clock. But Hall performed well given the circumstances.
From the NFL, Hall looks up to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson because of his ability to make plays with his arm and his legs.
What impact will Hall make on BYU’s offense?
BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes could dial-up more designed runs, but that could pose a lot of risks as the Cougars can’t afford to lose Hall to an injury.
Look for a lot of BYU’s offense to remain the same, but some elements could definitely change because of Hall’s versatility. Sitake said in the postgame at Toledo that there are some things Hall does that can give BYU advantages, but there’s a lot of unknowns right now.
Lucky for the Cougars, they have an extra week to get that all figured out as they prepare to take on the South Florida Bulls on Saturday, October 12th.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.