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Checking in on BYU’s Quarterback Battle

BYU kicks off against Arizona in just over three weeks. Yet the picture of who will be the starting quarterback remains blurry at best.

NCAA Football: Brigham Young at South Florida Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

In case you haven’t heard, the BYU Cougars are in need of a new quarterback for the 2021 season. Zach Wilson set the world on fire in 2020, finishing eighth in Heisman voting on his way to the second overall pick to the New York Jets.

Head coach Kalani Sitake and new offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick are working diligently to make the right decision on who will lead the Cougars out of the tunnel against Arizona in about three weeks.

The competition is a close, fierce, battle between Jaren Hall, Baylor Romney, and Jacob Conover. Hall and Romney have both started games for the Cougars, in 2019. Conover turned down a boatload of offers, including Alabama, to come to Provo. The Cougars are not short on talent at the quarterback position.

Now, the battle seems to be as tight as ever. Separation between the three signal callers is “not highly visible” at this point in fall camp, Sitake said, though he expects there to be some separation “soon.”

Word on the street is, if the Cougars had to pick a quarterback today, and just one, it would be Jaren Hall. However, it doesn’t mean that Romney or Conover are far behind. That could change in a moment’s notice.

Hall makes sense at this point. You got the experience, as he appeared in five games between in 2019, including starts against South Florida and Utah State. Plus, he gives you more mobility and athleticism than Romney or Conover possess (Conover was rated the 10th-best pro-style quarterback in the 2019 class). In this day and age, you need your quarterback to be a running threat to run an explosive, effective offense. Hall gives that to you. He ran for 139 yards in limited action in 2019 including 83 yards against USF. We all saw how effective Wilson was last year, due much in part to his mobility.

In Romney’s corner, he has already led the Cougars to two enormous victories in his time in Provo. First, after Hall went down with an injury, he started against No. 14 Boise State and propelled BYU to an upset win at home, throwing for 221 yards with two scores and no interceptions.

Then Romney relieved Hall following an injury against Utah State in Logan and guided BYU to one of their biggest blowout wins over their in-state rivals in years, a 42-14 drubbing. He also started against Liberty, getting the Cougars a hard-fought 31-24 victory.

Where Conover lacks in experience, he will try to make up for with his immense talent. Of the three, he clearly has the most decorated recruiting profile. As we all know, that only gets you so far in major college football.

The coaches have been very explicit that a decision has not been made yet and the battle remains close. The Cougars are just three weeks away from their first game of 2021 and just two weeks away from “game week,” where they dedicate their entire week of practice to preparing for the Wildcats. It will behoove them to have a quarterback selected by then.