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Stuart Johnson, Deseret News
Former BYU football player Max Hall throws for NFL scouts and coaches during "Pro Day" on BYU campus, March 10, 2010.

PROVO — While he's back in Arizona, preparing for the upcoming National Football League draft, former BYU quarterback Max Hall has a strong interest in how the Cougars' quarterback competition plays out.

Junior Riley Nelson, sophomore James Lark and true freshman Jake Heaps are all fighting to become Hall's replacement. BYU's spring practices began Monday.

How does Hall see the QB battle?

"It's tough. All of them are great guys and great quarterbacks," Hall told the Deseret News last week during Pro Day. "Obviously, I got close with Riley over this past year with him as my backup. I thought he learned a lot from me. James is capable. He was there before and he has some work to do just coming off of a mission. Jake's a freshman and he has a lot to learn. I remember when I was a freshman. I thought I knew it all. I had so much to learn. But he's a bright kid and I think he'll pick it up fast. It's going to be interesting to see what happens. All of them are great guys and very capable of being the BYU quarterback. I'm excited to see how it all works out."

What advice did Hall impart to those vying to become his successor?

"One of the biggest things is, as a quarterback, you have to be a good leader. Guys have to respect you," he said. "You can't go in there and boss guys around unless they respect you and feel good being around you. I said, 'Don't stress about it too much. Be yourself. And when you get an opportunity, take advantage of it. You just be yourself, make plays, and things will work out.'"

e-mail: jeffc@desnews.com