Breaking Down BYU Football’s Quarterback Position Entering Fall Camp
PROVO, Utah – The famed quarterback factory for BYU football appears to be back under Kalani Sitake and Aaron Roderick.
Zach Wilson became a national sensation in 2020. Last season, Jaren Hall led BYU to a double-digit win season that included a perfect record against Pac-12 teams.
Slingin' it 🎯🎯 pic.twitter.com/tih9BNcqeu
— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) March 5, 2022
Like Wilson, Hall could be another first-round NFL draft pick in the future. That hasn’t happened for BYU in 40 years to produce back-to-back first-round starting quarterbacks. It would be a nice selling point to future signal-callers as BYU enters the Big 12 Conference in 2023.
But that’s in the future. The present-day is pretty exciting as well and it all centers around Hall. In this era of the transfer portal being a hotbed for quarterbacks who don’t see immediate success, Hall has stayed patient throughout his BYU career. His patience could be rewarded with a 2022 season that puts him in the conversation among the best quarterbacks nationally this fall.
Quarterback personnel for BYU football in 2022
Returning Starter: Jaren Hall (RS-Jr.)
Departed from last season: Baylor Romney, Rhett Reilly
Returning players: Jacob Conover (RS-Fr.), Cade Fennegan (RS-Fr.), Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters (RS-Fr.), Nick Billoups (RS-Fr.)
Summer arrivals: None
Outlook entering Camp Kalani
BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick told KSL Sports this summer that there isn’t a quarterback he would trade Jaren Hall for in the country. CJ Stroud from Ohio State? Thanks, but no thanks. Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young at Alabama, nope. Roderick is bullish on what Hall can achieve in 2022, leading his offense.
BYU Offensive Coordinator Aaron Roderick has high praise and high expectations for quarterback Jaren Hall #BYUFootball #GoCougs pic.twitter.com/IG1cGAXIlO
— KSL NewsRadio (@kslnewsradio) July 16, 2022
The second-year OC (play-caller since 2019) flew under the radar last year with his play. But, in his first full year as a starter, Hall passed for 2,583 yards and tossed 20 touchdowns to only five interceptions. But, the essential stat is that he was 8-2 as a starter, and many around BYU believe the best is to come for the homegrown talent who dreamed of playing for the Cougars.
It’s unclear if this will be Hall’s final year at BYU. Thanks to the COVID year in 2020, he has the opportunity to return in 2023 for year one of the Big 12. Instead, he’s focusing on the task at hand and that’s the season opener against USF on September 3. A game he would love to get revenge for as the Bulls handed him a loss in his first career start as BYU’s quarterback.
But if Hall performs the way many expect him to this year, there’s no reason to think this wouldn’t be his last with BYU. He’s already drawing some buzz as a potential first-round NFL draft pick for next year.
Accuracy on his deep passes is an area where he wants to see personal improvement from last season. Hall works with QB trainers John Beck (3DQB) and Dustin Smith (QB Elite) when he’s not getting hands-on work with Roderick.
Having an entire offseason where he knows he’s the starting quarterback allowed Hall to blossom into the program’s leader.
Knowing that Hall has been QB1 all along is a strange dynamic for BYU. The last time Kalani Sitake’s program had zero debate or, in the case of the 2020 season, a manufactured debate, at quarterback entering a season since Tanner Mangum held the reigns in 2017. That season bottomed out to an abysmal 4-9 year due to numerous injuries and an offensive scheme that made Sitake swear he would never give a position to anyone again. Nevertheless, it speaks to Hall’s talent and the trust coaches have in him as he enters his second full year at the command of the BYU offense.
If Hall can stay healthy for an entire season, something he has yet to do in his BYU career, Cougar fans can hold onto the hope of a double-digit win season this fall.
Competition To Watch
The battle for the backup spot is locked up with Jacob Conover as the clear-cut number two on BYU’s offseason depth chart.
But what’s significant for BYU’s reserves in this camp is the opportunity to show they are ready to be the next QB1 in the program.
The Breakdown comes before the Breakthrough. Year 2 ✔️ pic.twitter.com/lexRFbiHjh
— Jacob Conover (@JacobConover17) December 20, 2021
If Hall is gone after this season, who out of Conover and Cade Fennegan is best suited to take the reigns when BYU kicks off the Big 12 era in 2023?
Since the turn of the century, in 2000, BYU has only had seven seasons where the same quarterback started an entire season. Three of those years were led by Max Hall. So it’s not often to navigate an entire season with the same signal-caller.
The guys behind Hall have to be ready at a moment’s notice.
Conover has all the talent to become the next starting quarterback for the BYU football program. After spring practices this past April, Conover admitted that he dealt with anxiety last season. However, he felt that he conquered that in spring ball.
Aaron Roderick had nothing but high praise for the work Conover put in during spring practices.
2022 BYU football fall camp position previews
After Conover is Boise State transfer Cade Fennegan, there was some quiet buzz about him entering spring practices because he was a standout on the scout team in 2021. However, Fennegan wasn’t fully healthy in spring, so the read on his potential feels incomplete heading into camp.
Roderick has given praise to the growth of Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters. During spring, Roderick pointed out Maiava as one of the most improved quarterbacks.
Nick Billoups, a former Utah transfer who became employee number one of the popular Built Bar NIL deal, is a dual-threat prospect who has put in some work with South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler down in Arizona this off-season.
Outside the box storyline for BYU football QBs
What changes to the offensive scheme will Roderick incorporate this year with an experienced QB?
Roderick’s system is quarterback-friendly, and Jaren Hall knows all the ins and outs of his offensive coordinator’s expectations from QB1. So keeping tabs in camp on the potential wrinkles they throw into the playbook will be fun to monitor.
Roderick loves studying the latest trends and what other teams or NFL franchises are doing offensively. Pair that with a seasoned quarterback; A-Rod could have endless possibilities.
Projected Depth Chart entering Fall Camp
Jaren Hall (6-1, 205)
Jacob Conover (6-1, 205)
Cade Fennegan (6-2, 188)
Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters (6-1, 200)
Nick Billoups (6-2, 193)
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.
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