COUGAR TRACKS

How BYU Quarterbacks Have Fared Under Kalani Sitake

Sep 2, 2021, 1:55 AM
Jaren Hall - BYU Football...
BYU Starting quarterback Jaren Hall escapes pressure from the USF defense in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. (Robert W. Grover, For the Deseret News)
(Robert W. Grover, For the Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – The success of BYU quarterbacks typically determines the success of a Cougar football team in a given year. BYU fans everywhere are hoping the successor to Zach Wilson is ready to continue building off the success of last season. Redshirt Sophomore Jaren Hall will get his first opening week start Saturday night against Arizona.

The former Maple Mountain High star is the seventh quarterback that started at least one game during the Kalani Sitake era at BYU.

BYU Quarterbacks since Kalani Sitake took over

What are reasonable expectations for Hall in the season opener or over the course of this season. Let’s take a look back at all the QBs that have played for BYU since Sitake took over in 2016.

2016

Taysom Hill highlighted Kalani Sitake’s first year. Hill opted to return to BYU for one more season instead of pursuing the NFL, Wall Street, or another college program just one year after suffering a lisfranc injury.

Hill teamed up with BYU legend Ty Detmer, who was BYU’s new offensive coordinator on Sitake’s staff.

Hill wasn’t as dynamic in Detmer’s pro-style offense as in the spread attack under Robert Anae. However, Taysom still had his moments of brilliance before suffering the fourth season-ending injury of his career at BYU.

Tanner Mangum led BYU to a Poinsettia Bowl victory over Wyoming’s Josh Allen in the worst weather you’ll ever see in the city of San Diego.

2016 stats

Taysom Hill: 12 games played | 222-372 | 2,329 passing yards | 12 TDs | 11 INTs | 59.7% completion | 116.9 QBR

Tanner Mangum: 4 games | 22-33 | 241 yards | 3 TDs | 1 INT | 66.7% | 152.0 QBR

2017

BYU’s 2017 offense was a disaster. That’s putting it mildly.  Ty Detmer’s system wasn’t working and it led to BYU finishing 124th nationally in scoring. BYU averaged only 17.1 points per game that season. The revolving door at quarterback this season played a role in BYU finishing 4-9.

2017 stats

Tanner Mangum: 8 games | 147-257 | 1,540 yards | 8 TDs | 9 INTs | 57.2% | 110.8 QBR

Joe Critchlow: 6 games | 55-101 | 642 yards | 3 TDs | 4 INTs | 54.5% | 109.7 QBR

Beau Hoge: 3 games | 19-39 | 257 yards | 2 TDs | 3 INTs | 48.7% | 105.6 QBR

Koy Detmer Jr.: 1 game | 7-20 | 91 yards | 3 INTs | 35% | 43.2 QBR

2018

Senior Tanner Mangum and freshman Zach Wilson had a heated quarterback battle during Jeff Grimes and Aaron Roderick’s first fall camp. BYU went with Mangum to start the year. But after a pair of blowout losses to Washington and Utah State, BYU turned the page to Zach Wilson, who capped off his first year with a perfect bowl game performance over Western Michigan.

2018 Stats

Tanner Mangum: 8 games | 114-186 | 1,104 yards | 5 TDs | 4 INTs | 61.3% | 115.7 QBR

Zach Wilson: 9 games | 120-182 | 1,578 yards | 12 TDs | 3 INTs | 65.9% | 157.2 QBR

2019

There were a lot of expectations from media and fans for Zach Wilson coming into his sophomore year. Unfortunately for BYU, it was one year too early. Wilson was coming off shoulder surgery that sidelined him during spring practices and prevented him from playing at 100% the entire year.

During a loss against Toledo, Wilson suffered a thumb injury that opened the door for Jaren Hall to get his first career start. Hall was the first-team quarterback during spring with Wilson out. He ended up starting two games that season but had to leave both early due to concussion protocol.

Baylor Romney was in replace of Jaren Hall, who led BYU to an upset victory over nationally-ranked Boise State.

2019 stats

Zach Wilson: 9 games | 199-319 | 2,382 yards | 11 TDs | 9 INTs | 62.4% | 130.8 QBR

Baylor Romney: 4 games | 54-85 | 747 yards | 7 TDs | 2 INTs | 63.5% | 159.8 QBR

Jaren Hall: 5 games | 31-46 | 420 yards | 1 TD | 0 INT | 67.4% | 151.3 QBR

Joe Critchlow: 2 games | 9-12 | 73 yards | 75% | 126.1 QBR

2020

The COVID-19 pandemic left many wondering if a season was going to be played at all. Nevertheless, BYU moved forward, intending to play any number of games that they possibly could. It worked out masterfully for the Cougars and junior quarterback Zach Wilson.

Wilson led BYU to their highest final ranking in the AP Top 25 poll since 1996 and went from out of sight and out of mind on NFL draft boards to a blue-chip prospect. In addition, the 2020 season marked the first year under Kalani Sitake that BYU had the same starting quarterback in each game.

2020 stats

Zach Wilson: 12 games | 247-336 | 3,692 yards | 33 TDs | 3 INTs | 73.5% | 196.4 QBR

Baylor Romney: 5 games | 24-35 | 261 yards | 1 TD | 1 INT | 68.6% | 134.9 QBR

2021

Now the stage is set for Jaren Hall to take over the reins in replace of Zach Wilson. Hall beat out Baylor Romney and heralded freshman Jacob Conover to claim the QB1 spot. Hall had the fewest turnovers during camp and made the most explosive plays out of the three QBs that were vying for the job.

Hall takes on a BYU schedule that will face seven Power Five opponents in 2021, beginning with the Arizona Wildcats on September 4 at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN and KSL NewsRadio.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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