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Jacob Conover Enters 2022 Season As BYU’s Clear-Cut Backup QB

Aug 10, 2022, 9:11 PM | Updated: 11:00 pm
Jacob Conover, BYU football, QB...
BYU football quarterback Jacob Conover has earned the second string job behind Jaren Hall. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – After BYU football concluded spring practices last March, one of the burning questions was about the backup quarterback.

Did Jacob Conover do enough to establish himself as Jaren Hall’s primary replacement?

During the offseason, BYU football released a depth chart that made Conover the number two quarterback. But with Cade Fennegan limited in spring due to an injury, were coaches going to need to see more from Conover?

The answer is simply no.

“Jacob Conover is number two,” said BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick. “The last two practices have probably been the best two practices he’s had since he’s been here.”

After Conover is where the competition is taking place between Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters and Fennegan for the third spot.

That’s a good sign for BYU football. If Jaren Hall has the season many are projecting him to have in 2022, he’s likely off to the NFL next April. So BYU needs signs that the next star signal-caller in the Big 12 era is in the building. Or if Hall, who has had a history of being sidelined for games, misses any action, Conover’s name gets called this fall.

Aaron Roderick: “We have confidence in Jacob.”

A native of Chandler, Arizona, the 6-foot-1, 205-pound Conover was a four-star recruit who fulfilled a childhood dream by signing with BYU.

When Conover was a young kid, he laid out a progression chart of things he wanted to accomplish in his football career. He’s accomplished everything so far. The next task is to become a starting quarterback at BYU. That will have to wait until 2023. But he will have to be ready if he is thrust into action in 2022.

“We have confidence in Jacob,” Roderick said to KSL Sports at Media Day. “He hasn’t had a chance to play a lot, so I can’t sit here and say, ‘I’ve seen him do it.’ Baylor (Romney) got his opportunities and capitalized on those. Jacob had a really good spring, though. This spring, he looked like, OK, this guy knows what he’s doing now. He’s been here long enough, he knows this offense, and he’s operating at a pretty high level.

“So my confidence is high that when he gets in there, he will able to run the team. Now it’s just up to him to go do it.”

Jacob Conover snapshot

After returning home early from a Latter-day Saint mission due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Conover enrolled at BYU and was able to absorb the way Zach Wilson operated in a free year of eligibility. Last year, he was in a three-man quarterback race with Hall and Baylor Romney, finishing third in the battle. But the fact that he was competing with those proven commodities spoke to his ability.

Last year, Conover had two appearances. One in a late-season rout over FCS Idaho State. The other saw him thrown into the fire after Baylor Romney suffered a concussion against Utah State. As a result, Conover earned a 51.8 grade from Pro Football Focus, which would constitute a “replaceable” performance on their player grading scale.

Conover will have to be better in 2022 and beyond to one day achieve that next mile marker in the progression chart he set as a kid. But in camp, Conover appears to have established himself in a spot to be that next man up if called upon.

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 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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