RARE NAME, RARE GAME
The 6'2", 232-pound junior QB originally committed to Stanford, then chose BYU. A second-year starter, Hill has averaged 107.0 yards rushing and 219.0 yards passing to lead the Cougars to a 4--0 start.
DAN PATRICK:How's life changed for you this season?
TAYSOM HILL: I was married this off-season. That was a pretty drastic change for the better. As far as the season, I'm still the same person. We just have a better record.
DP:How did you propose?
TH: We were walking up to [my fiancée's family's] house [in College Station, Texas]. They have a gazebo in the front of the yard. I said, "Let's go have a kiss under this gazebo." Her family had strung lights all over. As I kissed her, the lights blew up and there were rose petals all over the ground. I got on one knee and proposed to her there.
DP:More nervous doing that or your first start?
TH: Probably proposing. It's kind of funny. I had all these things I wanted to say, and I didn't say any of them. But she said yes, so that's all that matters.
DP:You're 24. How would you have handled this at 18 or 19?
TH: I would like to think I would have handled it very similarly. But [being] a missionary gave me a lot of experience.
DP:Are you allowed to play football while you're on a mission?
TH: You have one day out of the week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. where you have time to relax. I did take a football with me [to Sydney], and I would throw with companions. But there's really not much time to stay in shape and on top of your game.
DP:Did your parents name you after a local park?
TH: There's a park, and a construction company in Pocatello [Idaho] named Taysom Construction. It just kind of stuck.
DP:Have you considered Toss-'em so you can be Awesome Toss-'Em?
TH:[Laughs.] Maybe you can coin that nickname.
DP:Do you see yourself as a Tim Tebow type?
TH: Um, not really.
DP:It's not a bad comparison. I meant in a spiritual sense as well as on the field.
TH: When I say no, I'm not saying it as a negative thing. I don't try to be like anybody; I try to be my best self. Within that, I watch particular quarterbacks. I watch what they do well, and I try to emulate those things.
DP:Which QBs do you watch?
TH: Drew Brees. Tom Brady. Some of [Colin] Kaepernick to see what he does in the run game.
DP:Do you think you can play quarterback in the NFL?
TH: Yes, I do.
DP:What if you were asked to play another position.
TH: That would be hard. Right now my mentality is to play quarterback.
DP:So if I gave you a choice, would you run or throw?
TH: I would throw. I'd rather let those guys take the hits.
Yankees manager Joe Girardi shared his first impression of rookie Derek Jeter in 1996: "I was shocked that a player could be so relaxed at such a young age. I'm thinking you're not supposed to be this comfortable.... But I don't know if any of us ever imagined when he came into the game he'd have over 3,400 hits." ... ESPN college football analyst Todd Blackledge has reservations about spread offenses. "The biggest problem is they get in the red zone and all of a sudden they don't have a power running game," Blackledge said. "[And] if you don't have that power package, it's hard to prepare your defense to face a team that [does]." ... I asked NBC's Tony Dungy if he'd use a high draft pick on Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. "As of now I wouldn't," Dungy said. "You don't want the face of your franchise to have all those off-field issues."
MICHAEL J. LEBRECHT II FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (PATRICK)
CARLOS M. SAAVEDRA FOR SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (HILL)
SIMON BRUTY/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (GIRARDI)
MIKE ZARRILLI/GETTY IMAGES (BLACKLEDGE)
JOE CAMPOREALE/USA TODAY SPORTS (DUNGY)