Mike Hague joined the Brigham Young Cougars in 2006 and played running back that season. Following his sophomore season in 2010, it appeared he would never get the chance to see the field if he stayed at running back. This prompted a switch to defensive back. With Joshua Quezada deciding to transfer, maybe Hague should return to the offensive backfield.
Hague came to BYU after rushing for 2,001 yards and 28 touchdowns his senior year at Brighton High School. The Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune both named Hague the Class 5A MVP for 2005. He was clocked at 4.5 in the 40 in high school.
As a true freshman in 2006, Hague rushed for 156 yards on 21 carries and scored one touchdown. His 87-yard touchdown run is still the longest run by any BYU back since 2003. Following missionary service, Hague had 4 carries for 15 yards in the first three games of 2009 before he was injured for the rest of the season and forced to redshirt. In 2010, he was limited to 4 carries for 12 yards, as he was used in more of a fullback role.
While Hague was being used as a substitute fullback, an up-and-coming true freshman was being hailed as the future for the Cougars at running back. It appeared Hague's services were no longer needed as a running back. In order to make the most out of his final two seasons, Hague tried a move to defensive back.
Who was that up-and-coming player? Joshua Quezada.
Quezada’s transfer is the third departure from the Cougars backfield since the 2011 season finished. J.J. Di Luigi and Bryan Kariya graduated. What was once a crowded house now feels empty.
Michael Alisa is the only running back with significant playing experience on the BYU roster. However, just as 2011 showed with Quezada, there are no guarantees that Alisa will become a bona fide feature back.
Hague is now a senior. He has invested over a year in defensive training. Why would he consider going back to running back? Simple. The defensive backfield is now as crowded as the offensive backfield used to be.
Three of the four starting defensive back spots are locked down: Preston Hadley and Jordan Johnson at cornerback, and Daniel Sorensen at strong safety. Hague and Joe Sampson were considered the top two candidates for the free safety spot during spring practices.
Although nothing definitive has been said, all signs point to Sampson being the starter if the season started today. He saw significant playing time in 2011, and got most of the reps at free safety during the spring. Hague spent most his time at cornerback.
A third candidate will enter the picture when fall camp opens: Craig Bills.
Bills was very impressive as a true freshman in 2009. He even started one game. Despite missing the last two years while serving a mission, the coaches don’t appear to have any intention of waiting to play Bills.
Whether cornerback or free safety, the best case scenario for Hague appears to be no. 2 on the depth chart, and landing at no. 3 seems possible.
On offense, Hague has just as good of a chance to claim that number two running back spot as anybody. In terms of experience, only David Foote (21 carries, 201 yards, 1 TD) rivals Hague (29 carries, 193 yards, 1 TD). The other hopefuls are a redshirt freshman, a true freshman, and a converted rugby player. Following spring, the coaches didn’t make any glowing statements about the progress of Adam Hine. Although he did receive a scholarship, rugby star Paul Lasike should be considered more of a project at this point.
A year ago in a Deseret News article, Hague said he was willing to switch back to running back if the team needed him. It may be too early to tell now, but depending on how things shake out the first week or two of camp, Hague could be of most value to the team at running back.
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