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Ranking the best of the BYU quarterbacks that left the program

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 13 2011 10:45 p.m. MST

Spencer, 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, came to BYU from Clearfield High in 1990, but transferred to Montana State a year later. He won the starting job midway through the '93 season and retained the position through '94. He completed 253 of 495 passes for 24 touchdowns and 3,545 yards.

9. Brian Vye

Vye, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound graduate of San Jose's Leland High, took a long circuitous tour of schools in search of playing time only to return home again. An honorable mention All-American who was recruited by Pac-10 schools, he signed with BYU and served as Steve Sarkisian's backup for a year. After losing the backup job to Shoemaker the next season, he transferred to LSU in 1995 — and then to Gavilan College and finally to hometown San Jose State, where the Spartans hoped they could succeed with another BYU quarterback a la Martini.

He was the starter at the outset of the '97 and '98 seasons, but lost the job, although he continued to see spot playing time. In the 1998 season-opener, Vye passed for 196 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-23 upset of Stanford. In two seasons, he threw for 1,527 yards, nine TDs and eight interceptions.

10. Cade Cooper:

Cooper was another well-traveled quarterback who stopped at BYU for a cup of coffee, so to speak. He played two seasons at Snow College, where he was named national junior college player of the year. He transferred to BYU in the spring of 2007, but was injured in spring practice and fell out of the running for the starting job. He transferred to Oregon and redshirted the 2007 season, then transferred to Southern Utah in 2008 to play his last season of eligibility. Cooper threw for 2,988 yards, which was a school record until Sorensen, another former BYU quarterback, broke it.

11. Riley Jensen

After graduating from Cottonwood High in 1992, Jensen went to Snow College, then to France on a LDS Church mission, then to BYU for one semester, which was long enough to size up the competition — Feterik and Shoemaker. He transferred to Utah State, where he started the first six games of his senior season in 1998 before losing the job. He completed 93 of 194 passes for 1,231 yards, eight TDs and eight interceptions. In his best game, he threw for 338 yards and two TDs in a triple overtime loss to New Mexico. He also narrowly missed upsetting Utah when a receiver dropped a would-be TD pass.

12. Jacob Bower

Bower, a 6-foot-3, 242-pound prep All-American from Meridian, Idaho, is another well-traveled QB. He came to BYU in 2006 after serving a church mission. That winter he transferred to Bakersfield Community College after falling behind Max Hall in the competition to replace John Beck. He led Bakersfield to a 12-1 season, completing 61 percent of his passes, for 3,034 yards and 35 TDs, and was named first-team All-American. That earned him a scholarship to the University of Tulsa, where, in two seasons, he completed 26 of 51 passes for 327 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for 150 yards and three touchdowns. After playing in 14 games as a sophomore, he played in only two as a junior. He transferred to McNeese State for his senior season and won the starting job. He played in 10 games, completed 113 of 199 passes (57 percent) for 1,476 yards, eight TDs and nine interceptions for the 6-5 Cowboys. In his debut for McNeese, he threw for 288 yards and two TDs and ran for another TD to beat Lamar.

13. Gym Kimball

Kimball, a Skyline High grad, faced the daunting task at BYU of competing for playing time with McMahon, Steve Young and Marc Wilson, all future NFL starters. He transferred to Utah State. Injuries limited his playing time during his first season in Logan, but as a senior he threw for 1,913 yards, seven TDs and 14 interceptions.

Email: drob@desnews.com

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