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BYU TE Moroni Laulu-Pututau Returns To Practice After Year Away

TUCSON, AZ - SEPTEMBER 01: Tght end Moroni Laulu-Pututau #17 of the Brigham Young Cougars is tackled from linebacker Tony Fields II #1 of the Arizona Wildcats during the second half of the college football game at Arizona Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Tucson, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football fall camp is winding down and preparations for the rival Utah Utes are well underway.  The Cougars received some good news from Camp Kalani on Monday as senior tight end Moroni Laulu-Pututau was cleared to return to practice.

Laulu-Pututau’s absence from the first two weeks of camp was academic-related.  Pututau took a handful of summer classes to ensure he would be ready for his final season with the Cougars.

The Hyrum, Utah native has hauled in 47 receptions for 509 receiving yards and four touchdowns in his BYU career.  Those numbers come in a career that has been plagued by multiple season-ending injuries.

Now that the academics have been cleared for Laulu-Pututau, his health and recovery from an ACL injury he suffered last year against Washington is the only thing standing in his way from playing in the season opener next week against No. 14 Utah.

“When you’ve gone through two season-ending injuries as  I have, I’m not worried about the pressure,” said Laulu-Pututau. “I don’t give in to the pressure, I don’t put the deadlines (for a return) on me.  At the end of the day, I’m going to feel 100-percent when I step out on the field. So if I don’t feel 100-percent, I’m not going to go out.”

Laulu-Pututau missed the entire 2017 season due to a lisfranc injury and he recovered from that setback to be a key piece to BYU’s upset wins over Arizona and No. 6 Wisconsin on the road last season.

After going down with the ACL injury in 2018, Laulu-Pututau wanted to return to the field as soon as possible and he had a unique surgery performed on his knee to help him return to the field last fall.

“From my understanding, I was the first one on the west coast to get the surgery,” Laulu-Pututau said. “So what it was is they included stem cells -which isn’t new technology- and then the PRP (Platelet-Rich Plasma) injections and embryonic sac.  So what they do is they do the regular ACL surgery, the bone tendon bone patella graft and they wrap up that surgery in the embryonic sac and include the stemcells and the PRPs. So it’s just kind of including a whole bunch of things that haven’t really been done before.  Dr. (James) Andrews out in Auburn was kind of the first to invent or do that surgery so that’s what I took a chance on out here.”

If 100-percent, Laulu-Pututau would fill a need for BYU as they look to have a second reliable tight end paired with junior Matt Bushman.

BYU’s tight end depth after Bushman has been tested as redshirt Hank Tuipulotu suffered a season-ending ACL injury in a non-contact drill.  Tuipulotu made highlight receptions in the first week of camp and was receiving praise from coaches.

Everyone else in the tight end room is guys that have never played a snap for BYU in a game.  Laulu-Pututau is a proven commodity in the Cougars offense when he’s healthy.

In nine days we will find out if Laulu-Pututau is 100-percent or not as BYU kicks off the 2019 season against Utah at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

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.

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