Taysom Hill returns.
Tuesday's news sent plenty of ripples around folks who care.
Hill’s decision to return to BYU and play out his college career is a significant offseason turn for both Hill and a new coaching staff that is preparing for spring drills in a few weeks.
Hill has been recovering from surgery on his foot following a Lisfranc fracture during the Nebraska game in Lincoln last September. In order to make this work, Hill will apply for a medical redshirt waiver from the NCAA and get back his senior year of eligibility.
Here is a Top 10 list of why the decision by Hill to stay at BYU is the right move by the talented quarterback.
1. The healing. He is not completely recovered. People need to put a rein on expectations. Hill’s injury was serious and this kind of foot surgery has a complex recovery. By making this decision now, he can continue to work with the physician who did his surgery and trainers who have put him on a schedule for recovery. This is a situation of comfort that will bring him confidence mentally and emotionally as he recovers. He can take his time to get it right. He doesn’t have to climb on the stage in a mad rush.
2. Expectations. Declaring for another program would put that staff in a strange situation. They would have to make decisions on how he will fit in their offense when they do not know if he can even practice — a status even he does not know. It could be late this spring, sometime in the summer or even into fall practice. At BYU he can enter back into practice routines at his leisure without feeling he’s pressured or putting a new coaching staff in the lurch. In the meantime, BYU’s staff can proceed with his best interest in mind during his recovery.
3. Ty Detmer. Hill genuinely likes his new offensive coordinator. He likes what he’s been told about philosophy, schemes, structure and emphasis. He believes Detmer can teach him and prepare him for the NFL game and then, if he is capable and able to perform, utilize Detmer’s contacts in the NFL to get a real look at the next level.
4. Tanner Mangum. Hill is very well acquainted with the freshmen who stepped in just months off a mission and helped lead the Cougars to a nine-win season. This friendship isn’t foreign, it doesn’t set up a hostile competition, but is workable and acceptable. At another school, coaches might love him, but Hill’s reputation and acceptance would have to be earned. BYU’s current team loves Hill. And Mangum.
5. Ty Detmer II. Hill trusts Detmer to make the right decision as a QB competition begins. He trusts what he has said in terms of being fair, honest and a man of his word. That is all he can ask or expect coming off an injury.
6. Leadership. It’s no secret Hill is a presence on BYU’s football team, in the athletic department and in the community. He is humble, respected and admired. He will not be able to practice with the team this spring, but in the weight room, he has always been a lion who sets an example. Hill knows he can set an example and have an impact on both the team and Mangum immediately on a daily basis. At another place, upon entering the weight room, he’d be just another face for a while. At BYU he walks around like a general.
7. Excitement. Hill has spent the past half dozen months as the center of a lot of speculation. With the coaching staff change, there is another emotional wave going on around the program. The decision by Hill only compounds interest, media coverage and focus on the program. He knows he is hip deep in it and he appreciates and enjoys surfing the wave. His announcement to his teammates Tuesday triggered an eruption of emotion, not for the team and program but for him as a human being. That tugs at his soul. He wouldn’t get that reaction at Virginia, Michigan or Utah surrounded by strangers.
8. Competition. To his core, Hill is driven and competitive. When ready, when cleared, he knows his efforts will be recognized and appreciated by those he cares about.
9. Ty Detmer III: Hill knows he is an athletic freak, an exceptional athlete with unique God-given talent. He knows his longevity in football depends on his continued development as a drop-back, pocket passer. It’s a pro-style offense that he hopes will elevate him in reading defenses, making him effective and hopefully keeping him healthy — whether he regains his starting job or not. He’s been in a spread offense before. Now he’s going to get a doctorate degree in the game the big boys play for money. He needs to prove he can do that and he needs all the tutoring he can get.
10. Schedule: Any QB at BYU, former or future, would love to play this 2016 schedule and get the exposure, experience and résumé by doing it. Hill gets it and wants it.