RECRUITING: Is Hill close to OSU offer?

Taysom Hill would be the first to tell you that the more he learns about college football programs, the harder his eventual college decision becomes. For the 6-foot-2, 210-pound quarterback prospect from Highland High School in Pocatello, Idaho, time is starting to shrivel up like an apple sitting in the sun. Is a visit to Corvallis in the cards for the near future? And is OSU close to offering?

"With this whole recruiting process, all these schools have different aspects to offer me as a player and as a student," Hill told Thursday night after announcing two new scholarship offers, from Washington State and BYU. "So when I sit down and figure out where I'll fit in best, there's a lot to consider. The situation at Stanford is different than the situation at BYU, and so on."

BYU, Washington State,
Utah, Stanford, Arizona and Boise State are the schools to have officially offered Hill at this point, and with every new offer that comes through the mailbox, it opens up a whole new set of questions.

And there's the crux: until he sees some of these different programs in person, Hill will never be able to advance his decision-making process. To that end he plans on taking visits to Stanford in June, as well as to BYU and Washington State.

A visit to Oregon State might also be in order, as they have also expressed interest to the point where a scholarship offer isn't far off.

"Until I go out and see things, it'll be hard to start narrowing things down," he said. "I want to get out and visit these campuses, meet the coaching staffs, visit the facilities before I start thinking about making a decision."

Taysom spoke with new Washington State Head Coach Paul Wulff Thursday night and was offered by the Cougars.

"Their new offense - the spread offense - and the athleticism that comes with it, I guess they felt good about me after watching my film and coming to see me," Hill said. The day before, it was the other Cougars, the ones from Provo, Utah, that jumped in the fray.

"I talked to (BYU Head) Coach (Bronco) Mendenhall on the phone and he told me that he wanted to offer me," Hill said. "They see an LDS kid that can fit in well in their program and can help them be successful."

Not so long ago BYU felt the exact same way about Taysom's oldest brother Jordan. Jordan signed with the Cougars out of high school, but did not double-back to Provo after serving his LDS mission. He decided to head to the Pac-10 and finish out his eligibility at
Arizona State.

Taysom has another brother, Dexter, who played at Scottsdale Community College in Arizona and then transfered to the University of
Northern Iowa. Is now currently getting ready to finish out his eligibility at Dixie State in St. George, Utah.

The youngest Hill has seen the different experiences his brothers have had with college football, and that's what he wants for himself. "I have dreams, but my dreams were always, 'I want to play college football'," he said. "It wasn't, 'I want to go play for this school'".

And that's where things start to get a little complicated. Like an oversized game of Tug of War, different colleges from different parts of the country are tugging at Taysom and doing their best to convince him that their experience is the best for him.

"All of this has been so overwhelming," he said. "It's crazy to me to be faced with these decisions as a junior in high school. I really didn't expect all of this to happen, to be in the position where I could be pretty picky.

"I have these decisions that set up the rest of my life. It's hard to do that at 17 years old."

Hill's candor during this confusing time in his life is refreshing. It also puts into proper perspective all the factors that come into play when a young man is trying to juggle wants and needs. And it all comes down to one simple choice: Where are you going to play ball, Taysom?

Hill has spent a lot of time talking to his oldest brother about the process. "He (Jordan) didn't start getting all this stuff until his senior year, so that's what I was expecting," he said. "He's told me to enjoy the ride, because it's fun: weigh the pros and cons and visit campuses and you'll know what's right. You'll know where you belong, what university needs you and where you fit in the most."

And like a rapid chemical reaction, the fact that Hill is a coveted quarterback has catalyzed and sped up the recruiting process to a point where decisions have to come down. "They are looking for commits," he said, matter-of-factly.

"I feel a little pressured to find out where I belong, because the schools I'm interested in also have offers to other quarterbacks. These doors that have been opened for me, I want them to still be there so I have all of them to choose from."

The Hills are proud members of the LDS church, so any college conversation has to include BYU. "BYU appeals to me not only because of their football program - they are one of the top teams in the nation - but also their standards and what they stand for as a program and as a university," Taysom said. "The things Coach Mendenhall has incorporated into the program are appealing to me.

"But at the same time I don't feel like I have to go to BYU just because I'm LDS. Just because I'm LDS doesn't mean I'm going to let that hinder an opportunity."

It didn't hinder Jordan. "He hasn't regretted it for one second," Taysom said of Jordan's move to ASU. It was there where he met his future wife, and now has a family with two baby daughters. "He wouldn't trade that for the world," added Taysom.

BYU, Utah, Stanford and Washington State have all given Hill assurances that they will stand behind their offers regardless of his eventual decision to serve his LDS mission. "Going into this, I was undecided as to whether I was going to serve, and I'm still that way," he said. "It's being given a lot of thought. But it shows a lot for the schools that I've talked to that aren't necessarily used to doing this, and especially at quarterback, just because it's an important position.

"With the mission, it changes the recruiting process. The thing that's been cool is that I've received confirmation from a lot of schools that serving mission won't change my recruiting at all."

And of course, that's just one more decision that needs to be made. As if things weren't hard enough for this 17-year old. "I definitely feel like I need to start figuring some things out," Hill said. "And I owe it to the schools that have granted me this opportunity."

Stanford, BYU, Washington State, Boise State and Utah are Hill's solid top-five. But until Hill heads out in search for more information, you could scramble that list in any order you want to. He's feeling the pinch, but Hill will not let that stand in the way of finding out what's right, or what's best.

And that's all you can ask of a 17-year old making the biggest decision of his life to date.

Taysom Hill Profile

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