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Why BYU should blow a year of Taysom Hill's eligibility for garbage time reps

The hype surrounding new BYU quarterback Taysom Hill has been growing steadily for some time. The hype picked up significant steam this week when a TV station in Idaho ran a segment wherein BYU coaches and players raved about Hill's speed, intelligence, maturity and potential.

I saw a tweet from a BYU fan tonight asking incredulously "Do people really want to blow a year of eligibility on Taysom Hill for garbage time reps?"

My answer to that question is Yes. Here are some reasons why:

  1. BYU's 2012 offense will be tailored to a running quarterback. The odds that starter Riley Nelson will be healthy all 13 games this season are not high. While a journeyman backup like James Lark will be a solid asset, Lark is not a running quarterback. BYU's offense would be more effective with a running QB like Hill ready to step in at least part of the time too.
  2. Hill will likely be BYU's starter in 2013. Starters are much better when they have game reps under their belts.
  3. Giving Hill a shot at being a three year starter is plenty. Recent three year starters at BYU (Beck and Hall) worked out quite well.
  4. If Hill is good enough to get drafted into the NFL after his senior year he'll appreciate being a 25 year old rookie rather than a 26 year old.
  5. Making 2015 Hills's senior season is better insurance that other big time QB recruits in the pipe like Tanner Mangum don't look elsewhere because of lack of opportunity at BYU. (If the starting job were locked up until the 2017 season Mangum would have to sit three full years after his mission.)
Basically I think the rewards of BYU redshirting Hill in 2012 are minimal and doing so is not without real risks. If Nelson gets hurt Hill could get a lot of game reps in conjunction with Lark and thus Hill would be extra prepared for 2013. The worst case scenario is that Hill just gets some garbage time reps and maybe some special teams plays. But as I discussed above, blowing a year of eligibility isn't all that horrible in a case like this.

What say you?