Dick Harmon: Big brother says BYU sophomore Taysom Hill is the real deal

Published: Sunday, Oct. 27 2013 9:46 a.m. MDT

Brigham Young Cougars quarterback Taysom Hill (4) makes the handoff to Brigham Young Cougars running back Paul Lasike (33) during a game at Lavell Edwards Stadium on Friday, October 25, 2013.

Matt Gade, Deseret News

PROVO — Taysom Hill is carving out a niche in BYU football lore. His big brother says it's the real deal.

Polite, astute, soft-spoken, unassuming, unpretentious and a student of the game, Hill definitely gets fired up when the need demands it. Hill has quickly become a powerful leader on BYU’s football team. That was evident after his best overall game, a 37-20 win over Boise State on Friday.

Whether chop stepping in the pocket, surveying a defense like Johnny Unitas, rocketing out of the pocket like Steve Young, or delivering laser passes downfield, Hill is creating a brand.

His coaches trust him. His teammates believe in him. His inaccuracy throwing the football — the last bastion of media and fan criticism of his game — has sloughed off and fallen by the wayside just eight games into his sophomore year.

Yes, what you see in Taysom is what he really is, according to his older brother Jordan Hill, who now lives in Denver after spending a decade in the Phoenix area following his Pac-10 football career at Arizona State.

“He’s a heck of an athlete, but he’s a better person,” said Jordan.

Hill's athletic DNA is pedigreed and documented. So is his innate Sir Lancelot demeanor.

“I remember going to Disney movies with my friends. We were seniors but rolled with Tays, a 9-year old. Nobody minded; everybody liked him," said Jordan.

Seeing his little brother turn the corner on speedy linebackers before outracing Division I corners and safeties — a common occurrence in wins over Texas, Houston and Boise State — “is surreal” for Jordan. “He takes over games. It’s hard to believe this is the little kid me and my friends would dress up in dress slacks, dress shoes, no shirt and a bow tie.”

Taysom’s innate kindness has always been there, said the brother. “It’s a tribute to our parents. They instilled that in us and showed us. They’d give you the shirt off their backs,” said Jordan.

Both his parents were athletes. His father Doug played football and basketball. His mother Natalie was a sprinter in high school. His brother Jordan played defensive tackle for the Sun Devils. Another brother, Dexter, was a quarterback at Scottsdale Community College, Northern Iowa and Dixie State. His sister Celeste had a basketball career at Western Wyoming.

In the Hill household, everything was competitive. The parents started the kids early. “The competive juices were bred into us from the beginning," said Jordan.

Whether it was a card or table game or a pickup basketball game in the backyard, nobody liked to lose and someone was always upset when they lost. “We are all very, very competitive.”

Jordan was on an LDS mission and then playing at ASU when Taysom played high school football. He got to see just two games. It was there he first noticed his little brother had something special, but he had no idea how fast he was until he played for BYU.

“That kind of snuck up on us. We’ve all been quick, but watching him pull away from kids in Idaho was noteworthy. But what is speed against Idaho high school players? In high school he was a man among boys. He had that pizzazz, that wow factor, and it rubbed off with the kids he played with. He took over games.”

The surprise came when Taysom did it against Division I talent, said the brother. It opened his eyes.

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