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Taysom Hill’s career is over at BYU as tests reveal left-elbow strain

SHARE Taysom Hill’s career is over at BYU as tests reveal left-elbow strain
I would share with others how courageous Taysom has been in overcoming obstacles and facing challenges. Toughest Coug I’ve ever seen! – BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe

PROVO — Quarterback Taysom Hill’s BYU career is over.

After Hill underwent an MRI and further medical evaluation, BYU announced Monday that the senior will not play in the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 21 due to a left elbow strain sustained in last Saturday’s 28-10 victory over Utah State on Senior Night.

Hill went down on an aggressive play that characterized his five seasons at BYU.

Early in the fourth quarter, the Pocatello, Idaho native tried to leap over an Aggie defender at the end of a 12-yard run near the goal line. He crashed hard to the turf with his weight coming down on his left elbow. Hill held his arm and was escorted to the locker room, later returning to the sideline with his arm in a sling.

Hill suffered four season-ending injuries at BYU and, eerily, three of them came against Utah State — in 2012 (knee), 2014 (leg) and 2016 (elbow) in games played in Provo. Hill’s 2015 season ended with a foot injury in the season opener at Nebraska.

“I would share with others how courageous Taysom has been in overcoming obstacles and facing challenges,” BYU athletic director Tom Holmoe tweeted. “Toughest Coug I've ever seen!”

“My heart hurts as I think about what Taysom has gone through,” tweeted Hill’s backup, sophomore Tanner Mangum, who will receive his first start of the season in the Poinsettia Bowl. “He's truly given his all for this team. Win or lose, I will always respect #7!”

Hill won 23 games as BYU’s starting quarterback and he accounted for 9,744 yards of total offense, which ranks him No. 4 in school history, one spot ahead of Jim McMahon.

In all, Hill completed 609 of 1047 passes for 6,929 yards, 43 touchdowns and 31 interceptions. He rushed for 2,815 yards and recorded the most rushing yards of any quarterback in school history and is No. 5 among all rushers at BYU.

Hill finished with 75 touchdowns (43 passing, 32 rushing), good for No. 5 all-time at BYU. He eclipsed Steve Young’s TD total last Saturday.

Who knows how many more touchdowns Hill would have scored, and how many more yards he would have gained, had he been able to stay healthy?

In the closing moments of BYU’s 6-3 victory over the Aggies in 2012, a communication mishap from the Cougar sideline had Hill, then a freshman, rush up the middle instead of taking a knee. USU safety Brian Suite hit Hill’s knees on the play. Hill limped back to the huddle and finished the game. The following day, the school announced that Hill would be sidelined for the final seven games with a knee injury.

Late in the first half of the 2014 game against Utah State, Hill, who was a Heisman Trophy candidate at the time, faked a handoff and scrambled right. Suite, the same Aggie defender that injured Hill two years earlier, rolled up on leg’s Hill as he tackled him. Hill left with a fractured leg and his season was over just five games into that season.

In the 2015 season opener at Nebraska, Hill injured his foot while running for a touchdown in the first half. Hill continued playing into the second half though he had been diagnosed with a Lisfranc (foot) injury. After the game, then-coach Bronco Mendenhall announced that Hill's season was done.

Hill announced he would be returning to BYU in February, though he had options to play elsewhere as a graduate transfer. The NCAA granted Hill a medical redshirt to compete for one final season at BYU.

“There’s a lot of factors that went into that decision process,” Hill said at the time. “My wife and I spent a lot of time and there were a lot of people that were closely involved. I’m happy that I’m here. It was the right place for me and I’m looking forward to the future.”

Hill was limited during spring drills last March, and just prior to the spring game, Hill learned about the unexpected death of his older brother, Dexter. Hill decided to switch his jersey from No. 4 to No. 7 for his final season — to honor his brother.

“I look up to my brother so much,” Hill said last summer. “I look at a lot of my competitiveness and motivation to play, and excel in, college football, it came from him.”

Many wondered if Hill would change his style of play this season to avoid injuries.

“I just want to win. This is the conversation I’ve had since my freshman year here, right?” Hill said. “You guys ask, ‘What are you doing to stay healthy? Are you going to slide?’ My response is, ‘I’m going to do what it takes to win a football game.’ That’s my mentality.”

Hill’s final play in a BYU uniform epitomized his relentless approach to the game.