If college football had a comeback player of the year award, as the NFL does, BYU quarterback Taysom Hill would be at the top of the watch list.
Hill announced on Tuesday that he intends to return to the Cougars this fall, taking one final shot at finishing his college career on a strong note. He'll file for a medical hardship waiver from the NCAA that is typically granted to players with only the most trying of injury or medical circumstances. Hill certainly qualifies: He has suffered three season-ending injuries in his BYU career, most recently last fall with a foot injury that sidelined him for the year before the team's season opener had even ended.
Hill also suffered season-ending injuries in 2012 (knee) and 2014 (broken leg, knee).
"Taysom is a proven commodity and is a great leader for our football team," BYU head coach Kalani Sitake stated on Tuesday, per The Deseret News. "We are thrilled to have him back for one more year."
If he could ever finish a season healthy, there is no telling how far he could carry the Cougars. In his only season without injury, 2013, he passed for 2,938 yards and rushed for another 1,344 as one of college football's most dangerous dual-threat quarterbacks. BYU was 8-5 that season, finishing with a loss to Washington in the Fight Hunger Bowl.
Following his latest injury, Hill's options included early NFL draft entry, giving up the sport, returning to BYU or leaving for another school as a graduate transfer. The first of those options came off the table Jan. 18 when the deadline for underclassmen to declare passed without Hill filing for 2016 draft eligibility. In returning to BYU, Hill gives himself a chance to show NFL scouts he can stay healthy.
And they'll certainly be watching.
An AFC scouting director told College Football 24/7 last fall that Hill has both the size and the throwing arm NFL clubs look for.