Performances From Young BYU Freshmen Left Impression On Sitake

Nov 17, 2019, 10:40 AM | Updated: 6:14 pm
Photo Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey...
Photo Courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

PROVO, Utah – Games against FCS teams are usually hard to watch. No one is going to tell you that Saturday’s BYU against Idaho State is one of their favorite memories of the 2019 season.

But one of the nice things about a game against FCS team is that you get to see new faces earn some playing time.

That was the case during BYU’s 42-10 rout of the Bengals from Pocatello. A sizable number of freshmen appeared in the game, and they left an impression on head coach Kalani Sitake.

“A lot of those young guys played and then made some plays,” said Sitake. “I was impressed with Keanu Hill and the things that he can do. There’s a lot of other guys that got really significant reps that will allow them to grow up a lot faster.”

Let’s take a look at some of those young guys that made those aforementioned plays in BYU’s win against Idaho State.

Keanu Hill | WR 

The freshman wide receiver from Euless, Texas, appeared in the third game of his BYU career. That leaves him with one more game to play while still maintaining his redshirt for the season.

Hill, the son of former NFL wide receiver Lloyd Hill and nephew to former Dallas Cowboy Roy Williams, ended Saturday’s game with three catches for 40 yards. Towards the end of the fourth quarter, Hill appeared to score the first touchdown of his career but refs ruled him down at the Idaho State one-yard line.

Back in fall camp, Hill was considered one of the standouts in the Cougars first scrimmage despite battling a hamstring injury that sidelined him early in camp.

With Micah Simon, Talon Shumway, and Aleva Hifo graduating after this season, Hill will have an opportunity to be a significant contributor next year.

Jackson McChesney | RB

When McChesney signed with BYU in the Cougars 2016 recruiting class, the word that was always used to describe him was speed. McChesney, who was one of the fastest running back prospects out west, ran for 46 yards on 10 carries in his debut game at BYU.

Power 5 programs tried to sway the former Lone Peak High standout from staying committed to BYU, but the Cougars were always a dream school for the three-star prospect.

With Emmanuel Esukpa and Lopini Katoa battling injuries, McChesney is going to get playing time in the next three games for BYU while maintaining his redshirt status.

Ben Bywater | OLB

Former Olympus High star has been garnering a lot of buzz around the BYU program for his play on the scout team defense. Bywater lined up at the boundary linebacker spot in BYU’s 3-4 alignments and had three tackles. Bywater has drawn a lot of comparisons to the injured Zayne Anderson.

Carter Wheat | TE

The son to former BYU offensive lineman Warren Wheat (1985-88), Wheat saw the first action of his Cougar career on Saturday. In the game, Wheat had one catch for eight yards.

Back in fall camp, Wheat was earning a lot of praise from tight ends coach Steve Clark and saw time with the second-team offense after Hank Tuipulotu suffered a season-ending injury and Moroni Laulu-Pututau was going through academic hurdles to get him cleared.

Wheat suffered a foot injury in practice back in August and was cleared to practice a few weeks ago.

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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