BYU QB Jaren Hall leaving program, declares for the 2023 NFL draft
The two-year starter forgoes remaining eligibility, leaving Provo after five seasons of college football
Provo • Jaren Hall’s BYU career is over.
The fifth-year quarterback will forgo his final year of college eligibility and enter the NFL draft, he announced on Friday evening.
His departure formally means BYU will enter the Big 12 with a new leader and ends one of the more successful quarterback eras in program history — where BYU produced back-to-back draftable quarterbacks in Zach Wilson and Hall.
“This has been an amazing ride. Words can’t explain the joy I had playing in LES for my hometown,” Hall said. “Looking forward to the next stage of my football career by officially declaring for the 2023 NFL Draft.”
Hall arrived in 2018 out of Maple Mountain High School as a two-way star in football and baseball. He eventually gave up baseball to become BYU’s starting quarterback the last two seasons.
He finished his career with 6,174 passing yards and 52 touchdowns to just 11 interceptions. He also ran for nine touchdowns and 798 yards. In picking up the mantle from Wilson, he led BYU to 10 wins in 2021 and eight this last season.
Between Wilson’s final year and Hall’s two-year run, the team won 29 games in three years—one of the winningest stretches for the Cougars in a decade. It was accented by Hall winning eight games against Power Five teams.
Hall finished 13th in school history in passing yards behind current New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill. He is projected as a mid- to late-round draft pick and ESPN currently ranks him the eighth-best player at his position behind Stanford quarterback Tanner McKee.
For the last year, the feeling in Provo was that this would be Hall’s final season in college football. He will turn 25 years old in March, a month before the draft. If he wanted a legitimate chance at playing in the NFL, the time to leave the program was now.
Also, given Hall’s injury history, coming back would have risked plenty. He played in 12 of 13 games this year, missing the bowl game due to an ankle injury. Previously, Hall dealt with concussions and a series of injuries that knocked him out in 2019 and 2021.
In November, there was some speculation that Hall could stay. Head coach Kalani Sitake, though, seemed to end that discussion in recent weeks when talking about protecting Hall for the next level.
“It is our responsibility to keep him safe knowing he has potential to play at the next level,” he said. “To make sure he does it the right way.”
Hall’s impact at BYU will go far beyond his football career. He was the first Black quarterback to start a game at the institution owned and operated by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
It was a significant step for a faith that held a priesthood ban for Black members until 1978.
“It absolutely does mean a lot to me [to be a role model],” Hall told The Tribune earlier this year. “In the world we live in today, there is a lot we can improve on and get better on. I hope we go in the right direction. I just hope that a person with different life experiences [like me] will let people know that BYU is a place for everyone.”
Hall is from a BYU family himself and a member of the faith. He served a two-year Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission in California before coming to BYU. His father, Kalin, played running back at BYU in the 1990s. His mother, Hollie Hamilton, was a gymnast.
“He is a perfect example of what it means to be a BYU football player,” Sitake said. “The quarterback position at BYU always gets a lot of public attention, and Jaren does a tremendous job handling both that spotlight on him from outside the program and the important role he plays within our program as a leader on our team. But he really settled into his role.”
With Hall’s departure, the search is formally on for his replacement. That will likely come by way of the transfer portal, as there is a quarterback on the current roster who is the heir apparent to Hall. Jacob Conover would have been the closest, but he transferred to Arizona State this month.
It will be a much different transition than when Wilson left the program in 2020, and Hall was a natural successor. BYU also had veteran Baylor Romney in the wings at the time.
BYU has hosted several quarterbacks on campus already in the transfer portal cycle. This included former USC and Pitt quarterback Kedon Slovis and Notre Dame quarterback Drew Pyne.
Pyne, however, recently committed to Arizona State and is off the market. The current transfer portal window ends on Jan. 18, and then will open back up after spring ball is completed.
The program will also add freshman quarterback Ryder Burton in January.
“Thank you for everything. I’ve grown in ways that I can’t describe,” Hall finished. “I can’t tell you enough how much my family and I have appreciated the support. … I’ll always carry this university with me in my heart.”
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