Provo • When Spanish Fork product Jaren Hall first came to BYU in 2018, he became a dual sport athlete — playing football in the fall and baseball in the spring. But that’s behind him now.
Hall is now focusing solely on football, and is in the middle of arguably the biggest position battle in spring football: the quarterback competition.
However, Hall isn’t fully closing the door on the possibly of playing baseball again.
“Baseball has been great to me all my life,” Hall said. “I love the game; I’ve thrived in it. I’m not ready to put anything away and put a halt to it because you never know down the road. For now, I’ll focus on football and we’ll see where that goes.”
The main reason Hall chose to stick to football, though, was health.
During the 2019 football season, Hall took over starting quarterback duties after season-starter Zach Wilson suffered a fractured thumb on his right (throwing) hand. But in both of his starts that season, Hall left the game early due to concussions.
Last year, as the Cougars put up the best season in a decade, Hall sat out on the action with a lower body injury (hip).
With multiple injuries over the last couple of years, Hall wanted to make sure to get his body right before getting back into action.
“It’s a long offseason when you don’t have an offseason,” Hall said.
Hall redshirted the 2018 season, playing in only two games, and threw for 420 yards and one touchdown while completing 67% of his passes in 2019. He also added 139 rushing yards and three rushing scores.
Due to redshirting the 2018 season and medically redshirting last season, Hall is heading into the 2021 season with three years of eligibility left.
Although Hall was removed from the 2020 roster, it was important for both Hall and the coaching staff to make sure the quarterback stayed connected with the team.
“My main goal was just to stay involved, not disconnect myself from the team and be able to help out wherever I can — whether it’s on the sideline, in practice, whatever I got to do,” Hall said. “And then second, continue to get mental reps, get better, learn from some of the guys on the field who do their job very well.”
And even though Hall didn’t see any game action last year, BYU coach Kalani Sitake said he still saw improvement from the quarterback.
In general, Sitake has been impressed with the work offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick (who served as the quarterbacks coach 2018-2020) has had with the entire quarterback group. Roderick was instrumental in making sure the Cougars didn’t skip a beat two years ago, when Wilson was out with his injury and Hall and Baylor Romney stepped in.
Now, even though Roderick is the OC, he is still playing a heavy hand in developing the quarterbacks group, which, besides Hall and Romney, includes contenders like Jacob Conover and Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters.
Even when he was out last year, Sitake said he still saw improvement from Hall.
“Even though he wasn’t participating on the field, I saw a huge jump in his learning of the game,” Sitake said. “And he loves the game and he knows a lot. But maybe it’s just finding the little intricacies and learning from a different perspective like a coach looks at. I think that’s going to be really helpful for him. And I know he and Baylor have been able to benefit from that a lot, and look at what Conover was able to do in the offseason.”
Sitake doesn’t expect to make any decisions as to who will win the starting quarterback role by the end of the 15-practice spring football session, but should get an idea of who’s pulling ahead.
As far as Hall in concerned, he considers his fellow quarterbacks a “group of studs.” And now that he’s healthy once more, he’s excited for the fun competition.
“I’m just excited to be here with the good guys that we have, to push each other and get better and just enjoy the game we love so much,” Hall said.