MAPLETON — It’s been a quarter of a century since Dixie College All-American running back Kalin Hall was averaging 5.4 yards per carry in a BYU uniform. An explosive, strong, stout bulldog of a runner, Hall now joins legacy Cougars Lance Reynolds and Steve Kaufusi, who have had multiple sons on BYU’s football roster.
KJ Hall is a running back recovering from ACL surgery, one of the fastest backs the Cougars have on the roster. His younger brother Jaren Hall, an elite athlete just off an LDS mission, has thrown his helmet into the QB derby this fall.
Kalin is as invested as he can be.
Kalin, a positive-minded entrepreneur, just started another business, Momentus Health Global, where he is CEO. He married a BYU gymnast, and, after 26 years, they have five children. KJ has their first grandchild, Kingston. Jaren is the second son. Dawson is the third child, a son planning to be the Hall’s third LDS missionary sometime this summer, and he plans to play baseball at BYU upon his return. Kyson will begin high school this year, and his father says he is the best athlete in the family “by far.” Mateya, 10, is the youngest, a daughter who Kalin says is into soccer big time.
Hall spends his spare time coaching kids both individually and in team settings. He and wife Hollie’s life are spent going from one game, camp or tournament after another. He says being around kids and helping them has given him the most joy in his life.
“I don’t golf, no, not at all. We just go from one field to another.”
Hall loves working with kids, especially those who find themselves in a bad place. “I like doing all I can to help. Kids these days have a society telling them all kinds of things, and some do not take them to a good place. That’s where I find my peace.”
Hall has been a mainstay in the community wherever he’s gone and has remained tied into his alma mater. He’s respected and he’s remained loyal.
As KJ heals and rehabs his knee, Kalin says his goal is to be all the way back by the time BYU opens up at Arizona.
As for Jaren, an athlete who QB Elite founder Dustin Smith claims could play for any school in the country, Kalin says he is in the battle to win it, even if he’s admittedly behind the others in competition without the benefit of spring practice due to mission service.
“BYU trainers are doing a fantastic job getting KJ back, and they tell me he’s about 70 to 80 percent right now. He’s looking strong. He’s put on about 20 pounds of muscle mass from a year ago, so he’s where he should have been all along. He looks like a tank. Mentally, he’s in a good place, although he got a little depressed thinking he was breaking in o a role he earned when he got hurt. Ultimately, he’s in a good place emotionally working out and trying to get back.
“KJ knows all the plays, he’s like another coach in the running back room. I really don’t know a timeline for him but it wouldn’t shock me if he makes it back early. But I’m not a doctor.”
It’s hard for Kalin to evaluate his own kids. He knows his bias as a father but also doesn’t want to cheat KJ from the praise he deserves.
“He’s worked his butt off. He’s very explosive. With modern medicine these days, I think athletes who come back do so stronger. Your hamstrings, quads, and knees get stronger. That is how it was when I made a comeback.”
Speaking of Jaren, back only two months from missionary service, Kalin said, “He’s about a month and a half back. He’s strong as an ox. He’s about 215 pounds and looks really good. His legs are coming back. His arm doesn’t have the pop he had before he left, but it is coming back and he’s working on it. He’s working hard with coach Aaron Roderick.
“Jaren has an elite arm, and he can use his legs. He’s very fast but he doesn’t use his speed just to be a runner but to make plays and extend plays like Russell Wilson. He does the Wilson thing where he uses his quickness to move around to make plays for the receivers. He’s in a good place. He personally likes where he’s at as far as his physique. His big thing is picking up the offense after being gone two years concentrating on those important things.
“Jaren is an analytical guy with a high IQ-guy. He likes to learn it before he tries it. He likes studying things and figuring things out. Thing is, he is a competitor. He’s a three-sport guy who loves to compete and is a draftable baseball player who is now primarily focusing on football. We’ll see where he fits in. He’s learning from professional coaches right now. I know he will come out swinging.”
As much pride as Hall has for his sons, as much as he can build them up, express his dreams and hopes for their future, there is one thing you have to admire in Hall. He gets it. As a father, he understands football and the way things work. He is not so enamored with his own blood that he can’t dish out praise for others.
This is the case with Hall’s view of the QB race and guys putting it all on the line. He has a genuine appreciation for the comeback being waged by the most experienced guy on the totem pole, Tanner Mangum.
Seeing injuries up close, knowing the personalities in-depth, Hall has high praise for Mangum and only wishes him the best, doing his best.
“I do want to make this one reference. Things being said about my son are great but I hope the best for Tanner Mangum personally. I hope that young man gets the opportunity. He’s been busting his butt. Jaren and the others have the opportunity to learn from a high, very high character guy, a guy with resolve who speaks the way you are supposed to speak and lives the lifestyle you should.
“This is just my opinion and you can take it or leave it. I love that kid even if competing against my son. He is one fantastic person, a guy you can cheer for.”
Hall believes this coming season his Cougars are in for many challenges with a schedule that will include two top ten teams in Washington and Wisconsin. When all is said and done, he worries about injuries and how everyone will handle adversity, which will surely come.
“It’s going to be a tough year. It’s going to be tough. I live in a space where I love my university but they’ve really got a tough schedule. I think they’ll be better than people think they’ll be, but it will still be very tough.”