During the Southern Utah game, BYU running back K.J. Hall came in in place of Squally Canada. For his debut performance, Hall rushed for more yards than Taysom Hill and tied quarterback Tanner Mangum for the most yards rushing at 59, averaging nearly five yards a carry. Not a bad way to start your Cougar career.
“You know, I credit my offensive line and my receivers for blocking down field,” said a humble Hall. “I wouldn’t say it was all me. It wasn’t all me actually. The players came in and the coaches prepared all week. When you prepare and have good coaches good things happen like that and it shows on the field.”
While Hall credited his offensive line for his first game success, he also places a lot of his personal development at the feet of his father Kalin Hall, who was a standout running back in the early 1990’s for BYU.
“My entire life my father has been teaching me,” said Hall. “He’s never stopped teaching the game, and I take everything he says and try to incorporate it in how I run the ball. It’s a testament to him and his hard with me, and also Reno Mahe and all the coaching staff working with me to help me become better. I just have to be a sponge and soak it all in and do what they ask, but, yeah, my father taught me a lot growing up.”
Since he was a young boy, Hall can remember always playing the sport his father Kalin once excelled at.
“Yeah, I’ve played since I was six years old,” recalled Hall. “I’ve been playing my whole life, but I started playing tackle football when I was about 10 years old, maybe? So, yeah, I’ve been playing my whole life.”
Hall recounts a time when he almost gave up playing football because he felt he was too small to endure the roughness of the sport.
“I was really small when I was little and I remember a specific time when I was telling my dad, ‘Hey dad, I’m not going to play this year,’” said Hall. “My dad just looked at me and was like, ‘You’re playing.’ I think he ended up coaching me that year and it was one of the best years I ever had. I think I was in the seventh or eighth grade.”
From that point on football took off for K.J. Hall, and although he only grew to 5-9, 175-pounds, Hall remembers the time when BYU wide receivers coach Ben Cahoon came to see him while on a recruiting visit.
“I think the most memorable time I had with recruiting was when Coach Cahoon came to my school when he was first here under Bronco Mendenhall,” recounted Hall. “He told me they would love to have me as a preferred walk-on at BYU. Obviously later there were coaching changes and I kind of fell through the cracks. I can honestly say I wasn’t recruited out of high school, but I’m so happy to be here now and a part of this team.”
Now Hall has the chance to carry on the family running back legacy at BYU. It’s a unique situation that makes him proud to be a BYU Cougar.
“It’s been awesome to come to BYU and follow my father’s footsteps to try and continue the Hall legacy by trying to make my own footsteps in the program,” said Hall. “Right now my footsteps may be small, but it’s good to come in and hit the ground running and carry something on. You don’t get to hear about how a son of a former player can come in and continue something on at his father’s alma mater. It’s awesome and I love it.”
Currently younger brother, Jaren Hall, who signed with BYU as a quarterback, is serving a two-year mission near the Sacramento and Lake Tahoe area of California. Jaren Hall has been out since June of 2016 and big brother K.J. has kept him afloat on how things are progressing at BYU.
“I’ll drop Jaren notes here and there but try to keep football talk to a minimum,” said Hall. “I’ll let him know how things are going in practice and what things are looking like. I try to encourage him with his mission because he’s doing a wonderful thing right now as a missionary.”
When Jaren Hall returns home from his mission, he’ll be reunited with his older brother and that’s something that hasn’t happened since K.J. Hall was a senior in high school. The reunion of the Hall boys at BYU is something K.J. is really looking forward to.