PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – BYU has a new starting quarterback for the foreseeable future.
Jaren Hall takes over for the injured Zach Wilson, and he says he has been ready for this moment all year long. Afterall, Hall took most of the first team reps in spring practice while Wilson was recovering from shoulder surgery.
“Getting increased reps in spring versus fall last year, was huge,” Hall said. “I was just catching up to the speed of the game. It’s a lot faster, so I feel like I got a little more comfortable with the offense and football in general at the college level. So, your mental focus, your preparation in practice when you’re on the field playing or off the field has got to be laser sharp. You have to be ready to go.”
“He’s extremely confident,” added head coach Kalani Sitake. “I think he’s ready for this moment and I’m really excited for him. I know he’s really excited and the players are responding to him.”
Wilson, who broke his thumb making a tackle against Toledo last week, could be out anywhere from 6-8 weeks, so his role now is to be a mentor to the redshirt freshman.
“Zach is on board,” Hall said. “He’s a great teammate. He’s still in the meeting rooms with us on the field, giving his eye of what he’s seeing. He’s a very intelligent football player and he knows the game. So, he’s been a big help and a great teammate through it.”
Not much will change in the BYU offense, even though Hall has thrown a grand total of 7 collegiate passes. But as he showed at Maple Mountain High School, Hall is extremely athletic.
“He’s quicker than Zach, and Zach is fast,” said defensive tackle Khyris Tonga. So it’s going to be fun watching him. We’ve gone against him a lot during practice and during spring while Zach was out, and we’re excited for him to play.”
Hall is about to become the first African-American quarterback ever to start for BYU. It’s an historic moment that Hall appreciates.
“I’m very proud of my ancestors and very proud of my ethnicity and all the things that come with that,” said Hall, whose father Kalin played at BYU in the early 90’s. “So, it’s an honor and a privilege to be here playing at this wonderful university.”
“I think it’s awesome that you’re seeing so many different types of quarterbacks,” said Sitake. “Whether it’s backgrounds or race or whatever is involved. I just like that the game of football, it’s been 150 years and we’ve seen a lot of cool things happen.”
Hall and the Cougars (2-3) will take on South Florida (2-3) Saturday at 1:30 p.m.