What defines a great quarterback is different in everyone’s eyes. Some coaches want a game manager while others need a play maker. One coach might want a quarterback with a strong-arm and a pocket presence, while another coach may look at escape ability and speed. The only two things that every coach can agree on is having a player under center who is a leader and a winner. This is a list of the best leaders and winners that have played the quarterback position at Utah, Utah State and BYU over the last 35 years.
25. Diondre Borel, Utah State
Borel spent three seasons as the Aggies starting quarterback and threw for almost 6,700 yards and 36 touchdowns. Borel was impressive with his legs as well as he rushed for 1,398 yards and 18 scores.
24. Eric Hipple, Utah State
Hipple was a huge part of two Aggies PCAA conference championship teams. According to sports-reference.com, he threw for more than 5,300 yards and 32 touchdowns from 1977-79. He also rushed for 11 touchdowns in those three seasons. For his efforts as an Aggie, Hipple got drafted with the 85th pick in the 1980 NFL draft.
23. Larry Egger, Utah
Egger won eight of his first ten starts before the wheels fell off with the Utes losing 11 of their next 13 games over two seasons. Even though the Utes struggled, he continued to put up huge numbers. He finished top ten nationally in each of his two seasons in both passing yards and passing touchdowns. He finished his Utah career throwing for 5,749 yards and 39 touchdowns.
22. Brent Snyder, Utah State
Snyder spent the 1987 and 1988 seasons as the Utah State starting quarterback. Even though the Aggies didn’t find much success during those years, Snyder finished in the top ten nationally in touchdown passes and passing yards in each season.
For his career, he passed for more than 6,100 yards and accounted for 43 touchdowns, including four rushing scores.
21. Frank Dolce, Utah
As the Utes starting quarterback, Dolce led the University of Utah to 13 victories and a trip to the Copper Bowl in 1992. As a senior, hee completed 58.4 percent of his passes to lead the WAC. He also accounted for 22 touchdowns, which was good for second in the conference and seventh nationally.
He finished his Utah career throwing for 4,813 yards and 30 touchdowns.
20. Brett Ratliff, Utah
Ratliff started 15 games in his career at the Utah and won ten. In his first start against archrival BYU, Ratliff was unstoppable in leading the Utes to a 41-34 overtime win. He threw for 240 yards and four touchdowns while adding 112 yards rushing and another score. Start number two might have been even more impressive, as he and the Utes crushed the 24th ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 38-10 in the Emerald Bowl. On that day Ratliff completed 30 of 41 passes for 381 yards and four touchdowns.
As a senior, he was second in the MWC in passing yards with 2,796 and also finished second in touchdown passes with 23 while leading Utah to an eight-win season.
19. Mike Fouts, Utah
Fouts spent two very successful years as the starter at Utah. As a junior, he won seven of his last nine starts after starting the season with two losses. Included in that stretch, was a 34 to 17 drubbing of BYU in Provo in the last game of the season, to clinch a share of the WAC title. Fouts had an even better season as a senior leading the Utes to eight wins, including seven in a row and a spot in the Copper Bowl.
For his career, he threw for 5,434 yards and 39 touchdowns.
18. Brandon Doman, BYU
Doman would be higher on this list had he started more than 16 games. He won his first 14 starts which included the first 12 of the 2001 BYU season. As a senior, he led the MWC and was top seven nationally in passing yards, total yards, passing touchdowns, total touchdowns and passer efficiency rating.
During his time as a Cougar, Doman threw for 4,354 yards and 35 touchdowns while rushing for more than 600 yards and 11 scores.
17. Kevin Feterik, BYU
Feterik was the BYU starting quarterback during the Cougars transition from the WAC to the MWC and he put up huge numbers along the way.
As a junior, Feterik led the WAC in passing yards and passing efficiency rating while finishing second in passing touchdowns and completion percentage. He was even better during his lone season in the Mountain West. He led the conference in every major quarterbacking statistical category.
Feterik finished his BYU career having passed for more than 8,000 yards and 53 touchdowns
16. Jose Fuentes, Utah State
Fuentes spent three seasons as the starting quarterback in Logan and left as the Aggies all-time leader in passing yards with 9,168. He also accounted for 61 touchdowns including an 18-yard touchdown reception during his sophomore year.
15. Anthony Calvillo, Utah State
Calvillo spent two seasons as the Aggies starting signal caller and played in some huge games along the way. As a senior, he led the Aggies to five straight wins to end the season to secure the Big West Conference championship. During that stretch, Utah State beat BYU 58-56 in one of the most memorable games in Aggie history.
During his two seasons as the Aggie starter, Calvillo threw for more than 5,400 yards and accounted for 43 touchdowns, including eight on the ground.
14. John Walsh, BYU
Walsh was the Cougars starting signal caller for two full seasons before leaving Provo early for the NFL. Before he left, he put up some very impressive numbers, leading the nation in passing yards and passing touchdowns in 1994.
For his BYU career, Walsh threw for almost 8,400 yards and accounted for 69 touchdowns, including three on the ground.
13. Mike McCoy, Utah
McCoy’s name littered the national leader board for quarterbacks during his two seasons as the Utes starter. Utah also found great team success during McCoy’s time under center, including two of the famous 34 -31 victories over the hated BYU Cougars and the Utes first bowl win in 30 years.
As a junior, McCoy led the WAC in yards and was second in completion percentage. His 4146 passing yards also finished second nationally. As a senior, he finished top ten nationally in both completion percentage and yards while leading the country in passing touchdowns.
For his career, McCoy finished with 7,759 passing yards and 51 touchdowns.
12. Chuckie Keeton, Utah State
Keeton has spent two years In Logan to this point and has already become an Aggie legend. As a sophomore, he led the Aggies to an 11-win season while accounting for 35 touchdowns and nearly 4,000 yards.
To this point, Keeton has thrown for 4,573 yards and 38 touchdowns to go along with 912 yards and 12 more scores on the ground.
11. Steve Sarkisian, BYU
Sarkisian led BYU to the NCAA’s first ever 14-win season and a No. 5 ranking as a senior. That year, he led the nation in completion percentage and passing efficiency rating while finishing second in both passing yards and passing touchdowns. He was WAC Offensive Player of the Year that season and also named second-team All-American.
During his two-year Cougar career, Sarkisian passed for more than 7,400 yards and 53 touchdowns.
10. John Beck, BYU
Beck led the MWC in completion percentage, passing yards, total yards, passing touchdowns and total touchdowns in both his junior and senior seasons. He was also the MWC Offensive Player of the Year as a senior and a second-team All-American.
He was responsible for one of the greatest plays in BYU history, throwing a touchdown pass to Johnny Harline with no time left to beat the arch rival Utah.
Beck threw for more than 11,000 yards and almost 80 touchdowns in his Cougar career.
9. Brian Johnson, Utah
Johnson was the starting quarterback on one of the best teams in University of Utah history. Je was the starting signal caller when Utah beat Alabama in the 2009 Sugar Bowl and an undefeated season. His stats reflect the huge amount of success Johnson had with the Utes.
His best season came as a senior, when Johnson was the MWC Offensive Player of the Year. He finished sixth nationally in completion percentage that year.
For his career, Johnson threw for 7,853 yards and 57 touchdowns as well as running for 848 yards and 12 scores. His career numbers still place him in the top seven in MWC history in completion percentage, passing yards, touchdowns and passing touchdowns.
8. Max Hall, BYU
Hall spent three seasons as the starter in Provo and 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 while being named All-MWC three straight seasons.
Hall is still the leader in MWC history in passing yards, passing efficiency rating and total touchdowns, while sitting in second in completion percentage and passing yards.
7. Scott Mitchell, Utah
Even though Mitchell never played on any great teams at the University of Utah, he was a great quarterback. In fact, he threw for more yards and more touchdowns than any other quarterback in Ute history, ending his career with 8,981 yards and 69 touchdowns.
Mitchell’s best season came in 1988 when he led the nation in passing yards, total yards and passing touchdowns.
6. Alex Smith, Utah
Smith won 21 of his 22 starts as a Ute after replacing an injured Brett Elliot in game three of the 2003 season. He led the Utes to a Mountain West Conference championship with a 10-2 record and a victory in the Liberty Bowl, while leading the MWC in completion percentage.
A year later, he led the Utes to a 12-0 record as the Utes became the first non-automatic qualifying school to make a BCS game. He led the MWC in just about every major statistical category for quarterbacks as well as being named 2004 MWC Offensive Player of the Year. He amassed 32 passing and 10 rushing touchdowns while only throwing four interceptions. For his efforts in the Utes historic season, he finished fourth in the Heisman voting.
Smith ended his Utah career throwing for 5,203 yards and 47 touchdowns with only eight interceptions, while rushing for 1,094 yards and 15 touchdowns.
5. Marc Wilson, BYU
Wilson won the WAC Offensive Player of the Year in 1977 after replacing an injured Gifford Nielson. Two years later, he won the award again as he led the nation in passing yards, total yards, passing touchdowns and total touchdowns.
For his efforts, Wilson won the Sammy Baugh Award and finished third in the Heisman voting as well as being named first-team All-American.
According to sports-reference.com, Wilson threw for more than 8,000 yards and amassed 71 touchdowns including eight on the ground.
4. Steve Young, BYU
Young was both dominant 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 as a senior. He led the nation in completions, completion percentage, passing yards, total yards, passing touchdowns, total touchdowns and passing efficiency rating. For his efforts, he finished second in the Heisman voting and was a first team All-American in 1983.
During his time in Provo, Young threw for more than 7,700 yards and 56 touchdowns to go along with almost 1,100 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns on the ground.
He was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001.
3. Robbie Bosco, BYU
Bosco was the starting quarterback for BYU when they won the National Championship in 1984. That year, when he led the nation in passing yards, total yards, passing touchdowns and total touchdowns.
He repeated that feat as a senior even though the Cougars weren’t as successful, only winning 11 games. For his efforts, he finished third in both his junior and senior seasons in the Heisman voting.
During his BYU career, he threw for more than 9,000 yards including bowl games to go along with 69 touchdowns.
2. Jim McMahon, BYU
McMahon broke 70 NCAA records as a Cougar while winning the WAC Offensive Player of the Year three times. He also finished top five 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 after leading the nation in completion percentage and passing efficiency rating.
He finished his career with 9,536 yards passing and 84 touchdowns and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 1999.
1. Ty Detmer, BYU
Detmer led the nation in passing yards three times and ended his career as the all-time leading passer in NCAA history with over 15,000 yards. He also accounted for 137 touchdowns, including bowl games, and won the Davey O’Brien as the nation’s best quarterback twice.
He is the only Cougar to ever win the Heisman trophy, which he did as a junior. He was also only one of two Cougars to be named first team All-American on two occasions.
For his remarkable career at BYU, Detmer was named to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2012.