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BYU Football Mailbag: Answering Your Fall Camp Questions

BYU Running Back Emmanuel Esukpa participates in Day 1 of BYU Fall Camp on July 31, 2019. Photo: Mitch Harper,

PROVO, Utah – Day one of fall camp is always an eventful day as excitement and anticipation fill the air for another season of BYU football.

With excitement, comes questions.  Here on Cougar Tracks, I took a stab at some of you the reader’s questions after the first day of practice down at Camp Kalani.

Zach Wilson’s shoulder was a big question entering fall camp.  From the limited observation in practice, Wilson looked great.  Even though Wilson hasn’t been officially cleared yet, BYU head coach Kalani Sitake expects Wilson to start against Utah four weeks from tonight.

New faces at the running back position

Steve asked, “What did you see out of our new transfer running backs? Is Katoa still the man to beat?”


From sizing up the personnel at running back, Ty’Son Williams would appear to be the only threat to Lopini Katoa to become BYU’s starting running back.  But Katoa is the clear-cut leader at the moment.  BYU running backs coach A.J. Steward spoke highly of Katoa’s work ethic and commitment to the game this past off-season.

Williams is an impressive looking athlete and he is definitely going to see time this season, but Katoa is the leader at running back and Cougar fans should be excited about the former American Fork High School standout’s potential in 2019.

Emmanuel Esukpa is someone who can be a good pass-catcher out of the backfield and a bruising back who can pick up short yardage.  Is he a workhorse?  Probably not.  But he brings competitive depth to a position that sorely lacked personnel earlier this year.

Specialists competition & Freshmen that could possibly play in 2019

Bret McCormick asked two questions.  “Kicking and punting?  Also what freshmen will the field (this year)?”


The placekicking battle is currently between returned missionary Jake Oldroyd and returning starter Skyler Southam.  Special Teams Coordinator Ed Lamb says that Oldroyd currently has a razor-thin lead over Southam.  Both kickers are solid.  Can they consistently make field goals from 40-plus yards away, that is to be determined?  But there is confidence that either one will be solid for BYU this fall.

With the punting game, it feels like we have more questions than answers at the moment.  Ryan Rehkow is still on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints so he isn’t on the 110-man roster in camp.  That leaves Danny Jones, Jared Kapisi, and Jake Oldroyd competing for the starting punter role.


The newcomers I believe could see time this year are Ty’Son Williams, Emmanuel Esukpa, Alec Wyble-Meza, Luc Andrada, Dimitri Gallow, and Alema Pilimai.

For the full mailbag breakdown, check out the Cougar Tracks Podcast below.

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Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.