Taysom Hill has literally given everything he has to the BYU football program.
The fifth-year senior holds several school records and is near the top of a number of others despite going through four-season ending injuries during his time at BYU. The dual-threat quarterback suffered yet another injury after he hyperextended his elbow last Saturday after jumping over a defender near the goal line in the fourth quarter on Senior Night at LaVell Edwards Stadium.
Before he left the game against Utah State — which BYU went on to win 28-10 — Hill passed Jim McMahon for total offensive yards (9,744) and also surpassed Hall of Fame Quarterback Steve Young with 75 total touchdowns (43 passing, 32 rushing), to come in at No. 5 on the all-time list.
Long before the injuries started to pile up, Hill was arguably one of the most talented dual-threat quarterbacks in the entire country as evident by his three-touchdown and 259-yard rushing performance in a 40-21 victory over then-No. 15 Texas in 2013. BYU set a school record that day with 550 rushing yards which led to the firing of Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz the following day. The lopsided loss also helped push out Longhorns head coach Mack Brown at the end of the season.
Texas fans still have nightmares about Hill after he tore up the Longhorn defense in 2014. The speedster rushed again for three touchdowns including an incredible run where he jumped over a Texas player en route to the end zone.
— The Roar Of Cougars (@byuROC) September 7, 2014
— Christian Toronto (@youngCYT) September 7, 2014
But as the injuries mounted — 2012 (knee), 2014 (ankle), 2015 (foot), 2016 (elbow) — Hill could never get back to his old self.
And despite being the quarterback at BYU which is often referred to as the “Quarterback Factory,” Hill was never able to develop his passing game.
This year, Hill threw for 12 touchdowns, but also had 11 interceptions, and had an adjusted quarterback rating of just 62.9 — the lowest ever in his career at BYU.
Add to the fact that sophomore quarterback Tanner Mangum has been waiting in the wings this year after a phenomenal freshman season, and it’s easy to see why the patience from fans was wearing thin.
After starting the season 1-3, with three of those losses by a combined seven points, Cougar fans already knew where they would be going bowling (Poinsettia Bowl) this year if the team became bowl eligible. And while Independence has brought terrific matchups again this year, not being able to play for a conference championship and subsequent automatic NY6 bowl berth, had fans wanting the coaching staff to start looking towards the future.
With Hill graduating and with games against LSU, Utah and Wisconsin right off the bat next year, it’s understandable that fans would like to see Mangum — who will be the face of the program over the next two years — get quality game reps to prepare himself for the September gauntlet.
At the same time, after seeing Hill bounce back from all of his injuries and sticking with the program when he could have transferred to arguably any team in the country, a number of fans didn’t want to see Hill get stabbed in the back halfway through the season.
Utah fans know what BYU is going through
Like Hill, Utah also had a four-year starter in quarterback Travis Wilson. The 6-foot-7, 230-pound gun-slinger became just the first quarterback in program history to start all four years.
The four-star recruit had plenty of ups and downs during his time up on the Hill, and although he showed great promise during his freshman and sophomore years, couldn’t quite put it together his junior and senior seasons.
And after playing his last game in a crazy 35-28 victory over BYU in the Las Vegas Bowl last year, fans, although glad what Wilson did for the team over the years, breathed a sigh of relief that they would have a new quarterback under center the following season.
The same goes for a majority of BYU fans right now.
There is no doubt about it that Hill is a warrior who gave everything he had to the program. But at the same time, injuries took its toll on him and although Cougar fans will cherish his loyalty, incredible plays along with his passion for the game, many are excited to ring in the New Year with Mangum under center.
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