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PROVO — In his three seasons at BYU, Taysom Hill has showcased a rare blend of speed and power at the quarterback position. In 2012, he gave fans a little taste of what they could come to expect from him as he lead the Cougars to wins over Hawaii and Utah State. In the Utah State game, he suffered a season-ending knee injury on the last play of the game.
In 2013, Hill had a coming out party against Texas as he absolutely decimated the Longhorns with his legs. What is less remembered about that game, however, is how poorly Hill threw the ball. Through the first few games of 2013, Hill was hovering in the 30 percent completion rate on his passes. While he recovered some from this low rate, it is fair to say that in 2013 Hill was primarily a one-dimensional player.
Through the first four and a half games of the 2014 season, it appeared that Hill had made great strides forward in his ability to pass the ball. While he was still deadly with his legs, he was becoming more of a threat to beat teams with his arm. His progress was cut short by another knee injury against Utah State. Had Hill not gotten hurt in that game, there is no telling how good he could have become as a passer that year and consequently how good BYU could be as a team.
Now, with Hill starting his final campaign as a Cougar there remains a question: can Hill take Steve Young’s place as the best dual-threat quarterback in BYU football history? That is going to be a tall task but before you reject the argument completely, let’s look at the facts.
Steve Young only started his junior and senior seasons. In his junior season, the team was rebuilding after some monster seasons and went 8-4. Taysom Hill has only completed one season thus far, and the Cougars went an almost identical 8-5. In Young’s first full season as quarterback, he was still learning the intricacies of the passing game and was prone to taking off before going through his progressions. As already noted, Hill did the same in his first full season as the Cougar signal caller.
In Young’s senior season, however, he became a bonafide dual threat and led BYU to an 11-1 record and a No. 7 ranking in the nation. For his efforts, Young ended up finishing second in the Heisman voting. What Hill does this year will cement his legacy. If he becomes an adept passer and leads the Cougars to a 10-win season against this schedule, he has a chance of overtaking Young as the best dual-threat quarterback in BYU football history.