When it comes to recruiting one can never be looking too far ahead. Particularly at BYU where missionary service dictates that the coaches look even further into the future than 95% of the programs out there. Which is why you need to be thinking about the quarterback battle shaping up for 2016 even though the 2014 season hasn't even kicked off yet. I know I know. It seems a little ridiculous to be contemplating who will replace Taysom Hill when he hasn't even taken a snap as a junior, but considering BYU's issues with consistency at the quarterback position the last couple of years I think an increased level of awareness is definitely merited. Especially since there are important decisions being made today that will effect who is around to compete for the starting job tomorrow.
Trent Hosick for example wasn't even on the radar of most Cougar fans until a couple weeks ago and now he's poised to compete for the starting job in 2016 as a redshirt junior. Tanner Mangum is another big name recruit who will rejoin the team in 2015 and one has to wonder how the change in offensive philosophy will effect his status. Travis Waller and Kimane Domena are both recruits that could make some noise depending on how things turn out and current Cougar incumbent Billy Green probably isn't going to sail quietly into the sunset either. All in all it makes for a very interesting situation in 2016 as Coach Mendenhall could be choosing between three or four very talented options. A refreshing change considering the last couple years have seen no where near that level of depth at the quarterback position. So without further ado let's dive into the five most probable candidates for the 2016 starting job.
#5 Travis Waller
The only reason Waller isn't higher on this list is because I think BYU has a pretty slim chance of signing him. I'm not saying it"s impossible because crazier things have happened, but with the likes of Alabama, Oregon, and USC knocking on his door I don't imagine he'll be putting on Cougar blue come signing day. In the event that BYU somehow does manage to steal him away I think he has immediate starting potential. Which as a four star recruit and an ESPN top 300 prospect he might be expecting anyways. Assuming he doesn't have a problem sitting for a year Waller would be a perfect fit for the type of offensive BYU runs now, and judging from his recruiting videos, a more shifty and athletic version of Taysom Hill is what Cougar fans could expect.
#4 Billy Green/Hunter Moore
Green was a two star recruit out of high school and is currently sitting 3rd on the depth chart. Assuming Ammon Olsen doesn't transfer to SUU Green would more than likely be 4th on the list. The only way I can see him playing at all in 2016, short of a miraculous jump in talent that is, is if all three of the quarterbacks ahead of him get hurt or if BYU is up by 50 points. And since BYU ain't never gonna be up by no fitty points I imagine he'll just sit back and enjoy the bench his senior year.
The same can be said for Hunter Moore. Green wasn't the only one to benefit from Olsen transferring as Moore moved from 5th to 4th on the depth chart. Not exactly knocking on the door but since he is a freshman and has one more year of eligibility after Green leaves there might be a scenario where he could see some playing time in 2017.
#3 Kimane Domena
A dual-threat QB out of Portland, Oregon Domena has the best chance of the guys I've talked about so far to challenge for the starting job in 2016. Assuming Waller decides to take his talents elsewhere and no one transfers between now and then I have him sitting third on the depth chart behind either Trent Hosick or Tanner Mangum. At 6'2" and 190 lbs. Domena looks to have a skill set very similar to Taysom Hill's and doesn't seem to struggle when making difficult throws. Given the change in offensive philosophy he might even bump Tanner Mangum for the #2 spot.
#2 Tanner Mangum
I'll be honest Tanner Mangum is by far my most favorite candidate on this list. As impressive as dual threat quarterbacks can be there is just something about watching a guy stand in the pocket and sling the ball around forty or fifty times a game. On top of that Mangum is exactly the type of guy you want leading your team. Humble, competitive, and extremely talented if it was up to me I would redesign the entire offense around him. But it's not up to me. And the Cougars have obviously gone in another direction. Which is why I wouldn't be surprised to see Mangum relegated to backup duties, or transfer from the program altogether. This is no longer the BYU that Mangum signed up for. In fact it wasn't the BYU he signed up for when Brandon Doman recruited him in the first place. Although mobile enough to run the speed option every now and again Mangum is not a dual threat quarterback. He's an air traffic controller who stands in the pocket and drops lightning bombs. To the tune of 3849 yards and 35 touchdowns his senior year. Co MVP of the Elite 11 camp in 2011 with Neil Burcham and Jameis FREAKING Winston Mangum is the perfect candidate for an offense BYU no longer runs.
#1 Trent Hosick
I think Hosick has about a 90% chance of starting in 2016. He'll be a year removed from the junior college ranks and a year in training under Taysom Hill before having a chance to start. Having played in a spread offense in high school Hosick will be familiar with BYU's system and if you're going to run a spread offense this is the guy you want doing it. Don't let my obvious bias towards an Air Raid offense fool you. This kid is an absolute stud. At 6'1" and 221 lbs. he shows a surprising burst of speed and has drawn multiple comparisons to Tim Tebow. That's right that Tim Tebow. A four star recruit out of high school Hosick completed 67% of his passes for 1,400 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also carried the ball 218 times for 2,096 yards and 31 scores. Like I said if you're going to do it do it right, and if Mangum is an Air Marshall this kid is a Bulldozer! Not my personal preference but there is more than one way to skin a cat and if the Cougars are winning I'll be tickled pink.