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BYU Football RB Lopini Katoa Returning For 2022 Season

Dec 16, 2021, 1:06 PM
BYU Football - Lopini Katoa...
Brigham Young Cougars running back Lopini Katoa (4) scores on an two point conversion during the Vegas Kickoff Classic in Las Vegas on Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)
(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

SHREVEPORT, Louisiana – When BYU football faces UAB in the Independence Bowl this Saturday, it won’t be the last game for Lopini Katoa.

The fifth-year running back will make it a sixth with BYU in 2022. Katoa told the media assembled at the Independence Bowl that he would be returning for another year.

“I’m coming back next year,” said Katoa when asked if Saturday would be his last game.

Katoa has been with the BYU football program since 2017. After graduating high school, a former American Fork High standout, Katoa served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He was initially committed to playing for Kalani Sitake at Oregon State. However, after his mission, he followed Sitake to BYU.

He redshirted in 2017, then has been part of BYU’s running back rotation since 2018. Katoa can return in 2022 because last season was a free year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The NCAA granted all student-athletes a free year.

Katoa is now taking advantage of that free season and can return in 2022.

He will be in a backfield that could consist of Tyler Allgeier. Allgeier, who was honored during BYU’s Senior Day festivities in November, has been part of the BYU program for four years. He could move on to the NFL.

If Allgeier moves on to become a pro football player, Katoa will have the chance to compete with young ball carriers in Jackson McChesney, Miles Davis, and Folau Ropati for reps in next year’s backfield.

So far, Katoa has appeared in 46 games during his BYU career, amassing 1,467 rushing yards for 19 touchdowns.

BYU takes on UAB in the 2021 Independence Bowl. The kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. (MT), with the game being televised on ABC and heard on KSL NewsRadio (extended pregame beginning at 9 a.m.).

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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