BYU football: Ranking the Cougar QBs — 40 years later
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

BYU's passing offense will observe its 40th season in 2012. To date, 45 quarterbacks have thrown passes in this era. Tribune columnist Kurt Kragthorpe's rankings:

Player Years Comment

1. Jim McMahon 1978-81 Miracle pass won 1980 Holiday Bowl

2. Ty Detmer 1988-91 Heisman Trophy winner; 15,031 yards

3. Steve Young 1980-83 Caught winning TD pass in 1983 Holiday Bowl

4. Robbie Bosco 1983-85 Led 1984 national championship team

5. Max Hall 2007-09 Nobody comes close to his 32 wins

6. Marc Wilson 1977-79 Barely missed perfect season in '79

7. Steve Sarkisian 1995-96 Only loss in '96: Washington, now his team

8. John Beck 2003-06 Final play vs. Utah in '06 lasted 13 seconds

9. Gifford Nielsen 1975-77 Senior season shortened by knee injury

10. Gary Sheide 1973-74 Sometimes forgotten; he started it all

11. Brandon Doman 1998-01 Went 14-2; won Edwards' final game

12. Kevin Feterik 1996-99 More yardage than Steve Young

13. John Walsh 1991-94 Erred by entering NFL as junior

14. Riley Nelson 2009-12 Signature wins over USU, Tulsa

15. Sean Covey 1987-88 Started ahead of freshman Detmer

16. Jake Heaps 2010-11 Redshirting at Kansas in 2012

17. Ryan Hancock 1991-92 Went full-time in baseball after injury

18. Bret Engemann 1999-02 '02 rally vs. USU kept Ben Olson on bench

19. Charlie Peterson 1999-01 Replaced by Doman in November 2000

20. Matt Berry 2002-05 Helped beat Notre Dame in '04 opener

21. Steve Lindsley 1985-86 Tough times, following Bosco

22. Bob Jensen 1986-87 Rally failed vs. Bronco Mendenhall, OSU

23. Blaine Fowler 1982-85 Justified scholarship in '84 Holiday Bowl

24. Royce Bybee 1979-80 Backed up Wilson, McMahon

25. Mark Giles 1973-75 Injury opened way for Nielsen

26. Tom Young 1992-94 Steve's brother filled in for '92 Aloha Bowl

27. Drew Miller 1997-98 Starred at Montana after transferring

28. Randy Litchfield 1973 Yielded to Sheide after loss at USU

29. Paul Shoemaker 1995-97 Sarkisian kept him from starting

30. Lance Pendleton 2001-03 Forerunner of 'Wildcat' QB

31. Steve Clements 1992-94 Texas transfer limited by injuries

32. Jason Beck 2004-06 Beat USU in only start

33. Todd Mortensen 2001-03 Played for Jim Harbaugh at San Diego

34. Terry McEwen 1976-77 Backed up Nielsen, Wilson

35. Mike Young 1986 Steve's brother threw one TD, one INT

36. Jeff Duva 1975 Starred at Hawaii after transferring

37. Joe Evans 1990-91 Came from Idaho State to back up Detmer

38. James Lark 2010-12 Listed No. 2 as senior

39. Danny Hartwig 1975-77 Starred at Cal Lutheran after transferring

40. Kurt McEuen 2008-09 One career completion

41. Jackson Brown 2003-05 Took most snaps in '03 shutout vs. Utah

42. Brenden Gaskins 2007-09 Yielded No. 2 position to Nelson

43. Eric Krzmarzick 1982 Faded after transferring to Florida

44. Chris Bisgaard 1995-96 Completed only pass attempt

45. Dave Terry 1971-73 Holdover from veer-option era