For the first time in its nearly 100 years of participation in college football, BYU will start a black quarterback. Jaren Hall, a redshirt freshman, will start Saturday at USF in place of Zach Wilson, who is out with a thumb injury.
“I am very proud of my ancestors, very proud of my ethnicity and all the things that come with that,” Hall said this week. “So it is an honor and a privilege to be here and to be playing this sport at this wonderful university.”
BYU is a private university owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The school began playing football in 1922 and did not have an African American player until 1970. Until 1978, the church did not allow black people to enter temples for specific ordinances, and black men were not eligible for the priesthood.
Hall, whose father, Kalin, also played at BYU, is a member of the church, as are 99% of the students at BYU.
BYU is coached by Kalani Sitake, who is of Tongan descent.
“He’s extremely confident, and I think he’s ready for this moment,” Sitake said of Hall. “I’m really excited for him — I know he’s excited. The players are responding to him well.”
Hall is also an outfielder on the baseball team.