BYU’s Victory Over USF Was Two Tales Of Transfer Portal Paths

Sep 4, 2022, 1:50 AM
BYU Football, Chris Brooks, Transfer Portal...
TAMPA, FLORIDA - SEPTEMBER 03: Christopher Brooks #2 of BYU football scores in the third quarter against the South Florida Bulls at Raymond James Stadium on September 03, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)

TAMPA, FL. – The uncertainty surrounding USF was a big reason why there was a vocal minority that thought No. 25 BYU football could struggle against the Bulls.

Like BYU, USF has one of the most experienced rosters in college football. The Bulls gained experience through former Power Five players in the Transfer Portal with guys like Baylor transfer QB Gerry Bohanon.

Meanwhile, BYU built up its roster through player development and filling the gaps with impactful Transfer Portal additions.

BYU football wasn’t fazed by the “uncertainty” of USF’s new look

All of the new pieces to USF’s team and new coaches on the Bulls staff didn’t appear to faze BYU as the Cougars rolled to a dominating 50-21 victory.

“I give a lot of credit to our coaches for overpreparing for our guys. …I mean, we just threw out everything we can to get our team ready for the entire month,” said BYU coach Kalani Sitake after earning his 49th career victory as head coach. “And just knowing that we would probably see it somewhere down the line and didn’t know what we’re going to expect from game one.”

A big reason for BYU’s success was the transfer portal additions that BYU has added had elevated the level of play within the program.

BYU’s success in the portal is what programs in college football are looking for when adding players from the always mysterious portal.

On the flip side, the portal also can appear to be an immediate fix to shortcomings. But that path doesn’t bear immediate fruits, as witnessed by a crowd of 31,521 fans on Saturday night when they saw USF struggle on offense and defense.

Two different paths teams can take when adding players from Transfer Portal

Overhauling the roster through the portal doesn’t automatically ensure improved play. USF head coach Jeff Scott only has one win against an FBS foe since he took over in 2020. It will be hard to come by any more wins if the Bulls play as they did against BYU.

BYU’s transfer portal additions in Cal grad transfer Chris Brooks, Oregon offensive tackle Kingsley Suamataia, and Vanderbilt cornerback Gabe Jeudy-Lally have provided an immediate spark. Before their arrival, BYU was already a good football team. But, with them performing and contributing right away, BYU looks like a team ready to continue climbing up the national rankings.

On Saturday night, Chris Brooks, in his debut game as a BYU Cougar, rushed for a game-high 135 yards, which included a 52-yard touchdown scamper in the second half.

Brooks has the tall task of filling the shoes left behind by NFL draft pick Tyler Allgeier. Brooks passed his first test with flying colors as he and veteran running back Lopini Katoa gave BYU a nice one-two punch out of the backfield.

BYU QB Jaren Hall told reporters in the postgame press conference that the “sky is the limit” for Brooks’ potential within this offensive attack that put up 575 yards of total offense on Saturday night.

BYU’s starting offensive line featured Kingsley Suamataia at right tackle. The former five-star recruit from Orem High School was opening up huge holes along with right guard Harris LaChance for Katoa early in the game.

Gabe Jeudy-Lally had four tackles, providing an immediate lift that coaches hoped he would give after graduating from Vanderbilt.

Kalani Sitake has always been a fan of finding players out of the transfer portal, but with the catch of identifying prospects that will buy into the program’s mission and BYU as a school.

The recipe that Sitake is putting together with adding portal players appears to be working at a high level.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for 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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