Local colleges battle for prep quarterback

BYU is locked in battle with instate rivals Utah and Utah State, as well as Washington, for a first-year quarterback starter from Jordan High School. Both BYU and Utah currently don't have scholarships to give, but are working out ways in which to try and bring in a quarterback with incredible potential.

Coming in at about 6 feet 5 inches and 220 pounds, senior Jordan High School quarterback McCoy Hill put up some gaudy numbers for a first-year quarterback.

"He threw for around 3,510 yards and had around 30 passing TDs," said Jordan High School head coach Eric Kjar. "He also had around 19 rushing TDs and 1,200 yards rushing, so he's basically put up around 4,710 yards of total offense in one year. The outstanding aspect in all this is McCoy put those kinds of numbers in the highest level of play in the state of Utah in only his first year as a starting quarterback. You know, according to MaxPreps, McCoy was third or fourth in total offensive yards in the nation."

"We have great coaching out here at Jordan," Hill said of his accomplishments. "Our offensive coordinator in Coach Kjar is one of the best high school offensive coordinators in the country, I think. He's also our head coach, so I think my success is a combination of two things. The numbers I put up as a first-year quarterback I did on my own, but play-calling and scheme-wise, Coach Kjar had a lot to do with putting things in place that allowed for success, so it's a combination of both."

Coach Dave Peck of Bingham High School faced Hill's team last season, and although he might be a little biased towards his own quarterback, he had a lot of great things to say about Hill.

"Well, we played against him and I think he's a good player and a good prospect," said Peck. "He has a really good arm. For a big kid he can throw the ball hard, and if he can't make the pass, he can tuck it and run on you. I think he's a really good prospect."

Prior to playing quarterback his senior year, Hill patiently waited his turn.

"Last year I played receiver and we had a quarterback by the name of Alex Hart that led the nation in total yards, so I knew I had to kind of buy my time because I knew I wouldn't be starting over him. He led the state of Utah and in MaxPreps, Alex Hart led the nation the whole year except the last week of the year because we only played one week in the state playoffs. If we had gone further in the state playoffs he would have led the nation in passing, so I saw the writing on the wall and stayed at wide receiver."

As a junior wide receiver catching passes from Hart, Hill fared very well. His experience as a wide receiver would eventually become a valuable asset to him after he switched over from pass-catcher to pass-thrower.

"As a wide receiver I caught 53 passes for 753 yards and scored, I think, five touchdowns," said Hill. "I played left outside receiver, called the x-receiver position. I knew that I would eventually play quarterback because I've been playing quarterback growing up, and I think playing wide receiver helped me a lot because it let me see both sides of the ball. Offensively when I made the switch I already knew the receiver routes and what the receivers expected from that aspect of the offense."

With the numbers Hill put up his one year as a high school quarterback, it makes one wonder what grand accomplishments he might have achieved if he had been able to start for Jordan High School earlier in his career.

"Yeah, I've thought about that, but I think this one chance made this one year more meaningful for me," Hill said. "We had all new receivers, and one of the reasons why I put up the numbers I did was because I knew I had to make this the best season I could make it. Coach Kjar put new stuff within our offense for me with running the ball and trying to design stuff around that ... I think I had a pretty good year and hopefully my senior-year performance will be favorable for me."

So far it's been a rough go for Hill on the recruiting front. Having no scholarships to give, BYU and Utah are trying to find ways in which to bring the prodigy onto their campus.

"BYU is looking at him and they're trying to find a way to get him in school," said Coach Kjar. "Utah is basically doing the same. A lot of schools offer early, and when a player in McCoy's situation comes up, there are no scholarships available for him. Both BYU and Utah are trying to see about greyshirting him the fall semester and then offer a scholarship for the 2012 recruiting season in January. Along with BYU and Utah, Utah State wants him and Washington loves him."

Utah State wants to switch Hill from quarterback to either tight end or a rush defensive end. However, Hill views himself as a quarterback first.

"I'm just confident in my ability as a quarterback and that's what I want to be recruited as. I'm confident I can be a college quarterback and that's what I want to play in college, but if that doesn't work then I can move and change positions."

The Washington Huskies have already offered a quarterback for the 2011 season in Joseph Gray out of Susan Miller Dorsey High School. However, Coach Sarkisian is looking at possibly bringing in one more quarterback for that class. With a scholarship to give, Husky offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier is looking at both Hill and another prep quarterback.

"Washington is trying to figure out who they like out of him and a quarterback out of Northern California," Coach Kjar said. "They're basically trying to figure things out and decide who they want to offer."

"Coach Doug Nussmeier came here a couple weeks ago," said Hill. "Since then I haven't really heard much from Washington. Right now they're definitely going to take another quarterback in this class. They're looking at me and another quarterback from Northern California. They said he had offers from Arizona and ASU and others, so they're not sure what might happen. With the coaching up there you really can't go wrong up there either."

Hill, who is LDS, will be 18 in a few months. So, leaving soon for a mission is out of the question. He could greyshirt this next fall, take the scholarship in January and then have one year to learn in a program before serving a mission next year when he turns 19.

"It's definitely something I'm looking at," Hill said. "I want to pursue football first, but if serving a mission allows me to attain my goals as a football player, that's what I'll do."

One attractive aspect for any quarterback about BYU is Coach Brandon Doman. He's not only the quarterbacks coach, and one of the best according to Mendenhall, but also the offensive coordinator.

"I think Coach Doman is going to be great for that program," Hill said. "Coach Doman is the one that's recruiting me from BYU. He just got promoted to the offensive coordinator and that's a great thing knowing that you could be taught how to play by someone who is not only the quarterbacks coach but the offensive coordinator. He's confident in the quarterback they have there right now, and just has a lot of great things to say about Jake Heaps. Coach Doman has played that position and will be a great offensive coordinator. I think it would be awesome to get something worked out with BYU. I think it would be an unbelievable experience. I don't think there is a program out there that can match what BYU had to offer with quarterback coaching experience like BYU. I think BYU is going in the right direction."

Spending a year at BYU as a greyshirt before serving a mission is something that holds some appeal for Hill.

"Jake Heaps is the number one quarterback recruit in the country and he's turned that team around in one season," said Hill. "I think there's a lot to learn from that as well as how he manages the team and does film study and other things. I think it would be great for me to go up there one year and learn for him during that time. I could go up there as a greyshirt, learn from Jake Heaps and be a part of a program where the offensive coordinator is the quarterbacks coach and has a lot of tools at his disposal for one year. Then I could go on my mission. It's something that is an attractive option."

Ultimately, when choosing between his different options, there is one thing in particular that Hill is looking for in a football program.

"I think whoever shows the most interest in me, I'll show the most interest in them," he said. "It doesn't really matter what the situation is if I'm offered a scholarship or asked to greyshirt; I'll go to the school that wants me the most."

As for a few other qualities Hill is looking for in a school, he wants to get a good education. He currently has a 3.9 self-reported GPA and scored a 26 on the ACT. He also wants to be in a good football environment.

"I think that academics is a big thing for me as well," Hill said.

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