Eye on the Y: The Jaren Hall story and pre-draft test that won over the Vikings

Plus: The Tribune’s weekly roundup of news and notes from around the Big 12.

(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) BYU quarterback Jaren Hall, talks to the media after day 1 of BYU football Fall Camp, on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022.

Jaren Hall’s first meeting at the NFL Combine was with the Minnesota Vikings.

In the end, it might have been the only meeting Hall really needed to take.

What happened in that meeting ultimately convinced the Vikings to take the former BYU quarterback in the fifth round of the NFL draft last weekend.

When Hall walked in, Vikings director of college scouting Mike Sholiton had a few plays loaded on film waiting for Hall’s review. Sholiton had purposefully picked the clips where he knew BYU’s receivers had run the wrong route and Hall’s incompletion was a byproduct of his teammates’ mistake.

When he played the clips, he asked Hall what went wrong during those plays.

“We were trying to give him a chance to say, ‘This player was wrong,’” Sholiton told reporters on a Zoom call after Hall was drafted. “And all he was willing to say was, ‘I got to make it right.’”

Impressed by the answer, Sholiton changed topics later in the meeting to put Hall through another test. He asked Hall about his ability to change plays and make pre-snap line checks. Some players, in Sholiton’s experience, tend to lie and say they can do it — thinking it will make them look good. Sholiton largely knew that BYU’s offense never asked Hall to make those pre-snap decisions and wanted to see which way he would go.

“With our staff of experts, they have a radar for [when people are lying],” Sholiton said. “Jaren never tried to pull that off. Just the fact that he was authentic and genuine” was impressive.

Sholiton left the meeting thinking the Vikings could draft Hall. He went to BYU’s Pro Day and confirmed it. But it was those two stories that stuck with him as the Vikings drafted the potential backup to Kirk Cousins.

Quick Hits

Around the Big 12

Baylor — Played in plenty of close games last year. Why were the Bears so bad down the stretch?

UCF — Are the Knights poised to become the best newcomer next year?

Cincinnati — Is Deion Sanders hurting UC on the recruiting trail?

Houston — A game in Mexico? UH could have one next year.

Iowa State — A new offensive line approach is coming.

Kansas — Is in the race for a wide receiver transfer from Arizona.

Kansas State — A new national relevancy is coming to the Little Apple.

Oklahoma — Jackson Arnold speaks on OU’s quarterback room.

Oklahoma State — Is trying to add to its defense.

TCU — Chargers coach Brandon Staley’s comments about TCU are making the rounds.

Texas — Former QB Casey Thompson is now out at Nebraska.

Texas Tech — An incoming recruit just broke track records.

West Virginia — QB Jake Robbins just hit the transfer portal.