Redshirt freshman quarterback Jalen Hamler emerged from a three-way battle to take the starting position at the head of Cal Poly Football’s offense. Mustang News caught up with the Los Angles native before the team’s Big Sky Conference home-opener against Montana State on Saturday, Oct. 5, also Hamler’s 19th birthday.
Mustang News: Describe your playstyle.
Jalen Hamler: I’d say I’ll be a dual threat quarterback in most systems. I can run, I can throw the ball down field. I do a lot of things well. I try to be a leader when I’m on the field as well. So a lot of things play into it.
MN: What was your red shirt year like?
Hamler: Red shirting was tough. It’s kinda like freshman year in high school again, not really playing on that varsity level yet. So just working my way up that whole year and knowing it was preparation for this time was, it was tough but it was manageable and I got through.
MN: What was the quarterback battle like?
Hamler: Working on the parts of my game that needed most improvement. You know, really trying to elevate myself to be the best that I could and learning from those guys and competing with them helped elevate my game. Competition only made us better.
MN: Where does your confidence on the field come from?
Hamler: [Quarterback coach Dano Graves], he told me, being this young and playing at this stage, there’s no room for being scared out there, trying to be shy or shying away from competition or anything. Like I needed to embrace that and play very confident on the field knowing that I’m young. Out here, mistakes are gonna happen, stuff’ is going to happen, but I always got to keep that competitive edge and keep my composure when I’m on the field.
MN: What’s your go to pump-up song?
Hamler: I’d probably say Nipsey Hussle’s Crenshaw and Slauson, but I like a lot of Nipsey Hussle, that’s my favorite artist. So any song by him really gets me pumped up.
MN: Favorite athlete?
Hamler: LeBron James.
MN: Why’s that?
Hamler: Ah, I take that back. I’ll say Kobe. Really, Kobe. Just cause he was a winner and he competed every night he came in and he just dominated the floor.
MN: If not football, what sport would you play?
Hamler: Basketball, easily. I feel like I can be on our basketball team right now. Honestly, not saying that they are weak. Not saying that they’re weak at all, but I used to play basketball in high school. I can hoop, for sure.
MN: Is a hot dog a sandwich?
Hamler: No, it’s a hot dog … It’s not a sandwich.
MN: Which of your tattoos is your favorite?
Hamler: It’s a Bible verse. Psalms 23:4, ‘even though I walk through the Valley of the shadow of death, shall fear no evil.’ And I that’s him walking through the Valley. my grandma used to always tell me that one and that one kind of really stuck with me.
MN: Green or gold?
Hamler: Gold. Because money… or green. I’m tripping. Green is money. They’re both … but gold just stands out. Gold is like royalty.
MN: It’s your birthday on Saturday, how are you feeling about that?
Hamler: I can’t wait. I’m [going to be] 19, I’m young. I was the youngest. I’ve been the youngest. Like last year I was the youngest on our team, and this year we got incoming freshman that’s older than me, so I get to get a year older. So that’s a blessing.