Earlier this offseason, Taysom Hill decided to change his uniform number to honor the memory of his brother, who passed away a couple of months earlier. Now, Hill will be able to wear that number on the field and not merely on the sidelines holding a clipboard.
Following a quarterback competition that began in the spring and continued deep into summer camp, new BYU offensive coordinator Ty Detmer announced that Hill has been named as the Cougars’ starter. As it turns out, today is also Hill’s 26th birthday, and is also just a little over six months after Hill announced that he would be returning to the Cougars for another season.
He beat out the younger Tanner Mangum to continue what’s been, thanks to injuries, a roller coaster of a career.
Hill’s 2014 season was cut short because of injury after just four complete games, while his 2015 season ended after just one game; the latter virtually guaranteed he’d be granted a waiver for a sixth season. His 2012 season also ended prematurely after an injury.
The return of Hill had set up an interesting dynamic at the quarterback position for the Cougars. Following his Lisfranc injury in the 2015 opener against Nebraska, Hill was replaced by Tanner Mangum, who proceeded to beat the Cornhuskers on a Hail Mary. A week later, Mangum pulled off a last-minute miracle again.
As Hill’s replacement, Mangum completed 60 percent of his passes for 3,377 yards, 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. In Hill’s best season, his only healthy season in 2013, he too completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,938 yards, 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions. Hill, though, offers something Mangum can’t — the ability to beat opposing defenses with his legs.
In that 2013 season, Hill ran for 1,344 yards and 10 touchdowns. In 13 games this past season, Mangum ran for minus-96 yards.
The upcoming season will be Hill’s final season of eligibility… maybe. Hill could apply for a sixth season of eligibility if that’s the direction he wants to take and, based on his truncated 2014 and 2015 seasons, he would be a shoo-in for a waiver.