This list was originally published on the jmoney34sports blog and has been edited and republished with permission.
I remember as a kid going over to the church on Saturday afternoons to turn on the giant NASA like satellite dish. The reason we did that was to watch BYU football.
BYU was so entertaining to watch in those old WAC days. You couldn’t take your eyes off of their run and gun, high octane, offensive football. Although the Y. always had solid receivers and really good tight ends, the reason they were so exciting was because of the quarterbacks.
We all know the quarterback is the backbone of any successful offense and the leader of the team. With that said, I’ve decided to look back and rank the top 15 BYU quarterbacks of all time.
I can’t write this list without at least mentioning who brought the system to BYU that made most of these quarterbacks so successful. I’m sure they would all agree that BYU football would be nothing without the genius of LaVell Edwards.
Here's my top 15 quarterbacks, beginning with an unsung hero of the late 1980s.
Editor's note: Where did Jay mess up? Let us know in the comments.
Born in Ontario, Canada, Jay Yeomans moved to Utah at 15 and now lives in Sandy with his wife Matti. He loves sports and is a diehard BYU fan. Read his blog at Jmoney34sports.wordpress.com — Email: [email protected]
Years at BYU: 1983, 1986-89
Covey started two years in Provo and led the Cougars to two bowl games.
Years at BYU: 1998-2001
Doman would be higher on this list had he started more than 16 games. He won his first 14 starts and threw for 4,354 yards and 35 touchdowns during his time as a Cougar.
Years at BYU: 1996-99
Feterik spent three years as the BYU starter and threw for more than 8,000 yards and 50 touchdowns.
Years at BYU: 1992-94
Walsh put up huge numbers as a sophomore and junior before declaring early for the NFL draft (Thanks, Mel Kiper). He finished his career with 66 touchdowns and almost 8,400 yards and never played professional football.
Years at BYU: 1995-96
Sarkisian led BYU to the NCAA’s first-ever 14-win season and a No. 5 ranking as a senior. He was WAC Offensive Player of the Year that season and also named second-team All-American.
Years at BYU: 2003-06
Beck threw for more than 11,000 yards and almost 80 touchdowns in his Cougar career. He was Mountain West Conference Player of the Year as a senior and also a second-team All-American.
Beck was responsible for one of the greatest plays in BYU history, throwing a touchdown pass to Johnny Harline with no time left to beat arch rival Utah.
Years at BYU: 2006-09
Hall is the all-time leader in wins by a quarterback at BYU with 32. He threw for more than 11,000 yards and 94 touchdowns and was named all-MWC three straight seasons.
Years at BYU: 1963-66
Carter was the first great quarterback at BYU. He ranked first nationally in touchdowns and offense in 1966. He finished 11th in Heisman voting that season.
Years at BYU: 1973-74
Sheide was second nationally in passing for two straight years and won the Sammy Baugh Award as the nation’s best quarterback as a senior. He also finished eighth in the Heisman voting.
Years at BYU: 1973-77
Nielsen threw for more than 5,800 yards in his BYU career. He was first in touchdowns and second in total offense nationally as a junior and was named first team All-American. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994 for his efforts as a Cougar.
Years at BYU: 1975-79
Although splitting most of his time at BYU with Jim McMahon and Gifford Nielsen, Wilson was still dominant. He threw for more than 7,600 yards, threw 61 touchdown passes, won the Sammy Baugh Award and was named first team All-American as a senior.
Years at BYU: 1980-83
Young was dominant both with his feet and his arm during his time at BYU. He won the Sammy Baugh and Davey O’Brien awards as the nation’s best quarterback. He finished second in the Heisman voting and was a first team All-American in 1983. He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
Years at BYU: 1981-85
Bosco was the starting quarterback for BYU when they won the national championship in 1984. He finished third in both his junior and senior seasons in the Heisman voting and ended his career with 66 touchdowns and 8,400 yards.
Years at BYU: 1977-1981
Although splitting much of his time with Marc Wilson as quarterback, he broke 70 NCAA records as a Cougar.
McMahon finished top-5 in the Heisman Trophy voting twice. He was an All-American and the winner of both the Sammy Baugh and Davey O’Brien awards in 1981. McMahon finished his career with 9,536 yards passing and 84 touchdowns.
He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
Years at BYU: 1987-91
Detmer ended his career as the all-time leading passer in NCAA history with more than 15,000 yards. He also threw for 121 touchdowns and won the Davy O’Brien Award as the nation’s best quarterback twice. He is the only Cougar to ever win the Heisman Trophy, which he did as a junior.
Detmer was a two-time first team All-American. For his remarkable career as a Cougar, he was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012.