As long as he stays healthy, the recently married Taysom Hill will be BYU’s quarterback for the next two years. Hill might be tempted to leave for the NFL if he has a spectacular junior season in 2014 (and drastically improves his passing accuracy), but he has reaffirmed several times that he plans on playing four years of college football.
So who’s the odds-on favorite to be BYU’s starting quarterback in 2016?
It is probably Tanner Mangum, the highly touted graduate of Boise’s Eagle High who left on a church mission to Antofagosta, Chile, last July. Mangum will theoretically return home just before the 2015 season, Hill’s last, and be ready to play in 2016.
BYU did not sign a high school or junior college quarterback in February, and will go into this season with senior Christian Stewart as Hill’s backup, and sophomore Billy Green as the third-stringer. Former Jordan High QB McCoy Hill returns from his church mission before fall camp and will be given a shot to play quarterback, although he walked on as a tight end before his mission.
Hunter Moore, a walk-on from San Marcos, Calif., participated in spring camp as a quarterback. Mountain Crest star Alex Kuresa was in the pipeline two years ago, but he is now in line to be the starting quarterback at Snow College in Ephraim.
Earlier this week, BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall made a scholarship offer to Kody Wilstead, a rising senior from Pine View High in St. George, Utah. Wilstead is a 6-foot-6, 215-pounder who threw for 4,395 yards and 36 touchdowns as a junior last season. He also has offers from Louisville, San Diego State, Weber State and SUU.
Wilstead received the offer after BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae and quarterbacks coach Jason Beck visited him in St. George and watched him throw. He’s more of a traditional pocket passer, which makes the BYU offer a tad curious because the Cougars are clearly moving toward dual-threat QBs in Anae’s offense.
Then again, a lot could change before Wilstead returns from a church mission, which he plans on serving before enrolling at any college.
Wilstead’s father, Randy, played baseball at BYU and his brother, Cole, will play baseball for the Cougars when he returns from a church mission.
Another high school quarterback who could eventually play for BYU is Hayden Griffitts of Winter Gardens, Fla.
Griffitts, a senior at West Orange High School, recently committed to become a preferred walk-on when he returns from a church mission to Japan.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Griffitts threw for 2,498 yards and 34 touchdowns with just two interceptions last year. His father, Bobby Griffitts, played for BYU and lettered in 1993.
BYU hasn’t released a post-spring depth chart yet, but I went ahead and took a stab at what the Cougars’ defense will look like in this piece in Thursday’s Salt Lake Tribune.
Meanwhile, a former BYU quarterback suffered another setback on Thursday. Kansas coach Charlie Weis announced that sophomore Montell Cozart, not ex-BYU QB Jake Heaps, will be the Jayhawks’ starting quarterback in the fall.
Cozart was the MVP of KU’s annual spring game, while Heaps struggled to move the team.
Heaps completed just 49 percent of his passes last season before Cozart replaced him in the starting lineup toward the end of the season. Cozart is believed to be a bigger running threat than the immobile Heaps.
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