BYU Nebraska Football-12

BYU quarterback Taysom Hill (4) and running back Adam Hine, right, celebrate with wide receiver Mitch Mathews (10) after Mathews scored a touchdown against Nebraska during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Sept. 5, 2015. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

It’s as hard for Taysom Hill to say goodbye to the Brigham Young University football team as it is for anyone on the University of Texas defense to tackle him.

Bummer for Tanner Mangum.

All Mangum did was set a plethora of freshman passing records and complete two jaw-dropping Hail Marys after Hill once again went down with a season-ending injury last year.

It seemed clear that Hill’s collegiate career was finished with last year’s injury at Nebraska, and even more so after Mangum started lighting opponents up.

It was sad to think of Hill’s collegiate career ending with an injury, but what was he going to do? Come back after Mangum had clearly proven he was capable of doing great things and risk creating a distraction?

Apparently so.

The thing is, you can’t criticize Hill for the decision. He’s given so much of himself to BYU that if there’s any chance for him to leave the university on a positive note it’s understandable why he would take advantage of it.

But it still has the potential to be a major distraction, and that makes it hard to accept. It’s hard not to take sides, and if the players in the locker room start doing that – regardless of how perfectly professional Hill and Mangum are – there could suddenly be a giant problem.

For a new coaching staff, two proven quarterbacks in the system is worth salivating over. But if things don’t go right, it could become a situation worth crying over.

Beyond the potential for a rift in the locker room, what happens to Mangum if Hill wins the job?

Is a year of his eligibility essentially wasted to use him for a few plays here and there while Hill is the featured starter?

Does he redshirt so that he can be brought back in 2017 with three years of eligibility? But then what happens if Hill gets injured halfway through the season? Is the redshirt burned for just half a season or do the coaches go to a more unproven quarterback in the system?

Hill had a chance to leave BYU and he didn’t take it. It makes sense why, but because of the potential for drama and also because of what Mangum has proven, it also makes sense to think just maybe he should have.

Contact Standard-Examiner sports reporter Ryan Comer at rcomer@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @RyanComerSe and on Facebook.

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