Eyes up see more: BYU junior quarterback Jaren Hall finding balance through giving back
BYU junior quarterback Jaren Hall moved through Wednesday’s football media day at the BYU Broadcasting Building in Provo with the confidence of someone who has been there and knows what he’s doing.
He fielded questions both on camera and off with his customary directness and even-keel approach, regardless of the topic.
For example, when he was asked about what it is like to see his name mentioned on draft boards, Hall was quick to point out that those things don’t really make any difference.
“I just tune it out,” he said. “Nothing is promised. Those people don’t make any decisions, so why let it impact you? For me, it’s about quieting the noise, staying focused on the things I need to focus on. We’ll let our games in the fall decide everything that comes afterwards.”
But there was definitely a topic that made Hall light up.
It’s not really surprising, since he carries it around on his wristband.
“Especially For Athletes is something every athlete should be a part of,” Hall said. “I think it helps you stay focused on what’s most important off the field, It’s about life value and using your sports life or the influence you have as an athlete to make a difference. I think it just teaches you responsibility and it teaches you to make the most of the years that you are an athlete. At the same time, it reminds you to be the best athlete you can be, to work your hardest and put in the work you need to.”
He looked down at the grey wristband he was wearing at that moment, the one that said, “Eyes up, do the work.”
“‘Eyes up, do the work’ kind of goes through everything in your life and the football field, and every sport you play,” Hall said. “That’s the main slogan. Keep your eyes up if you are a person of faith. Keep you eyes up when you are at school in the hallway. Stay off your phone and see opportunities to do good. Keep your eyes up and see the opportunities in your sport that you need to focus on. Then the last part is do the work. Don’t just think about it. Go do something about it. That’s made a big impact on my life, just helping me be a better person.”
Hall got involved with Especially For Athletes founder Dustin Smith — who also coaches the Spanish Fork High football team — through his connection with his father, former BYU star running back Kalin Hall.
“Dustin and my dad go way back,” Jaren Hall said. “They coached together and then Dustin started coaching quarterbacks and I was growing up playing quarterback. We got in touch and started training, then I joined Especially For Athletes in high school and stuck with it. I believe in it and think it makes kids better.”
Even though he has a lot on his plate currently with football, school, family and NIL responsibilities, he still finds the time to be a spokesperson for the Especially For Athletes program.
“This is something that matters to me,” Jaren Hall said. “People want to play video games or hang out and go to parties. When I can, my wife and I will go to an event and I’ll speak to the kids. I still like to do my own stuff like go golfing or go to the pool. But every now and then when I have a free night, I’ll cruise somewhere and speak with Dustin to the kids. I think it just betters me and keeps me focused on what is important.”
He said he feels like he has a good sense of the impact being there has.
“Every time we go to an event, you have kids to stay after take pictures and they’ll share what they learned and how much it meant to them, what part made them feel good,” Jaren Hall said. “It’s pretty special just to see. A lot of kids are crazy. When I was a kid once I used to bounce off the walls. But it’s great to see them sit down and listen to all the athletes who will come speak with Especially For Athletes from all over the place, to see them to sit down and focus. You can tell that it means a lot to them and it shows that we’ve got some good kids coming up who will take care of things. It should give us hope. That’s why I do it.”
Smith said having Hall involved makes a huge difference for the program and he does a great job imparting the message of being there for others.
“Jaren has been a great example of a young man who has never let the attention of athletics change the way he treats people,” Smith said Friday. “He is kind and aware of everyone he meets and is an optimist. Those are all things we try to teach at Especially for Athletes and at QB Elite.”
Jaren Hall said that during a time when sponsor deals and transfer opportunities can put the focus on selfishness, he feels like this type of work has tremendous value.
“I think if you lose balance, everything goes out of whack,” the BYU quarterback said. “I think if you’re solely focused on football, everything else falls apart outside of that. If you’re not focused on football and only focused on everything outside of football, football is going to fall apart. This is another way to help me keep balanced. You’re never gonna be perfect but when you have a good feel for balance, when you’re confident in yourself as a person and your connections with people and you’re confident in yourself as an athlete, you can make a difference and be at your best. I just think balance is something that we lack a lot of times today with all the craziness. We all have our own issues going on but I really strive to keep a good balance and good things happen.”
Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo