Earlier this summer, an NFL scout suggested to ESPN’s Matt Miller that Utah quarterback Cam Rising could be this year’s Zach Wilson.
That was in reference to when Wilson, the former BYU quarterback, saw his NFL draft stock skyrocket in large part to a standout 2020 junior season.
Rising is coming off leading the Utes to a Rose Bowl appearance and the program’s first Pac-12 championship. Utah is ranked No. 8 in the USA Today coaches preseason poll released Monday, and for Rising and the Utes, there are plenty of high expectations in 2022.
Now, though, there’s a comparison between Wilson, the second-year New York Jets QB who was the No. 2 overall pick in the 2021 draft, and the Cougars’ current quarterback, Jaren Hall.
With the 2022 college football season quickly approaching, CBS Sports’ Chris Trapasso identified five under-the-radar candidates who could make a Wilson or Joe Burrow climb up the draft stock boards with a phenomenal season, and Hall was among them.
“OK, so you’re not supposed to scout the helmet, but in Hall’s case, go ahead, draw your Wilson comparisons,” Trapasso wrote. “He’s a smaller, creative BYU quarterback with springy athletic traits and a snappy release. The play style is uncanny between Hall and the passer he followed in the Cougars program who went No. 2 overall in the 2021 draft.”
Hall is coming off his first season as BYU’s starter, going 8-2 in his 10 starts after he replaced Wilson.
Despite missing three games due to injury, Hall completed 63.8% of his passes last season for 2,582 yards, 20 touchdowns and five interceptions while also adding 307 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns.
Trapasso concedes there is one big difference between Hall and Wilson — their age — while suggesting it may not matter after what Hall showed last season.
“Now, the big — and I mean, HUGE — difference between the two: Hall is already 24 years old. He’ll be 25 when he’s drafted. That matters. Wilson played his final season in Provo, Utah as a just-turned 21-year-old,” Trapasso wrote.
He continued: “If you want to dismiss Hall being close to being legally allowed to rent a car, his 2021 film was a thrill ride. The ball routinely jumped out of his hand, his scrambles were calculated and efficient, and he rarely put the ball in harm’s way.
“Hall went over 300 yards passing on four occasions and absolutely held his own ... against USC with two touchdowns, a pair of picks — his first since October 9 — while completing nearly 63% of his throws and amassing 276 yards through the air.”
The other four quarterbacks Trapasso identified as under-the-radar draft prospects included a bevy from the western United States, among them Fresno State’s Jake Haener, Washington State’s Cameron Ward, Tulane’s Michael Pratt and UCLA’s Dorian Thompson-Robinson.
Trapasso’s final thought on BYU’s quarterback gave him a strong endorsement.
“Hall is going to have a big 2022. He’s going to be on the radar. If teams — or, really, only one team — can ignore his age, it’s conceivable he lands high in the first round,” Trapasso wrote.