PROVO — When a player as athletic as Jaren Hall takes the reins at quarterback, one might think he would bring a run-first-pass-later approach to the position, resembling the style of Michael Vick or Lamar Jackson. But according to those who know him best, the former Maple Mountain High signal-caller has worked hard to emulate the style of Peyton Manning and other top pocket passers since a young age.
Hall is set to start for BYU in the wake of Zach Wilson’s thumb injury and many are curious to see what he’ll bring to the most visible spot on the field. There have been glimpses of what type of quarterback he’ll be since he arrived in Provo, but the attention is set to start in earnest when the Cougars take on South Florida a week from Saturday.
So what can fans expect from the young freshman who also excels on the BYU baseball team and started at point guard for his high school basketball squad?
“Jaren has played the position since he was 8 years old and he’s always been a pass-first quarterback from the perspective of anyone who knows him,” described Jaren’s father, Kalin Hall. “He’s a pocket quarterback. He’s never been a runner, as indicated by his career rushing yards while in high school.”
That’s not to say Jaren can’t run it when the need arises.
“He can run, no question. He’s big, strong, fast and quick, but that’s never been what he does, because he hasn’t had to,” Kalin said. “When he started playing quarterback, Peyton Manning was Jaren’s guy — the consummate pocket guy. It’s easy to run around and make plays for a guy like Jaren, but the great ones know how to make plays from the pocket and that’s what he’s worked hard on to master since he was a young age.”
Jaren dedicated offseasons to honing his craft at camps and with quarterback specialists, which prepared him to earn the starting nod at Maple Mountain as a sophomore. During his three years as starter, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound quarterback helped the overall play of his team immensely, according to Maple Mountain coach Brad Burtenshaw.
“He’s the total package,” Burtenshaw said. “He’s athletic. He’s a hard worker and a big-time student of the game. He really has everything you want in a quarterback and he showed that throughout the three years he played for us here. He’s also a fantastic leader.”
Jaren Hall elected to serve a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Roseville, California, before enrolling at BYU, and immediately made waves upon his return. His first practice session was in fall 2018 when he beat out Joe Critchlow for the third-string quarterback spot, a somewhat surprising development given Critchlow’s experience coupled with Hall being only three months removed from his mission.
Heading into spring practices the following year, Hall received a lot of reps as Wilson sat out while recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, and he made the most of it. Fans remember the young redshirt freshman putting on a show during the spring game, where he led his team to four touchdown drives.
Hall has also played a significant role for the BYU baseball team, and his dad asserts his baseball prowess has and will aid him when starting at quarterback.
“When you’re staring down the barrel of a 95-mile-per-hour fastball ... and you park one. You put it over the fence. There’s no time to be rattled, and in that way, baseball has helped him a lot,” Kalin said. “He’s very stoic and calm in his approach, and that comes from learning how to be disciplined. It doesn’t matter the situation. It matters what you bring to that situation.”