When BYU takes the field Saturday afternoon, it will be making school history.
For the first time since joining the college football ranks in 1922, the private Mormon university will field a black quarterback.
Redshirt freshman Jaren Hall will get the nod in place of Zach Wilson, who suffered a thumb injury in the team’s last game against Toledo when BYU faces South Florida at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday.
According to ESPN, the school did not have an African American player until 1970.
“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.”
Like the majority of the BYU’s student body, Hall is member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and is following in the footsteps of his father Kalin, who also played for the Cougars.
The young quarterback will step into the starter’s spot after Wilson posted a 54.3 quarterback rating (74th-best in college football) in the season’s first five games. BYU heads into Saturday at 2-3.
“He’s extremely confident, and I think he’s ready for this moment,” BYU head coach Kalani Sitake, who is of Tongan descent, said of Hall. “I’m really excited for him — I know he’s excited. The players are responding to him well.”
Hall went 3-for-6 passing for 39 yards after replacing Wilson towards the end of the 21-28 loss to Toledo on September 28.