BYU Football To Recognize 37 Players On Senior Day
PROVO, Utah – Get in your seats early for Saturday’s BYU football game against Utah Tech. It’s going to be a lengthy pregame Senior Day ceremony.
BYU football will recognize 37 players with a Senior blanket before the first-ever game against the in-state Trail Blazers. Out of the 34 players that will be honored, 13 know for sure are heading into their last games at LaVell Edwards Stadium. The rest are either COVID-Juniors that still have eligibility to come back potentially.
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) November 14, 2022
“I think the safe bet for me is just to honor everybody,” said BYU coach Kalani Sitake. “And then they don’t have to make a decision this week. There’s going to be guys that are probably going to have the benefit of getting two senior days, I guess.”
Last season, BYU celebrated five players that ended up returning for the 2022 season. Those five players include Matthew Criddle, Lopini Katoa, Gunner Romney, Earl Tuioti-Mariner, and Joe Tukuafu. So they will be getting a second senior blanket.
Gunner Romney can get a third senior blanket in 2023 if he wishes. The starting wide receiver has dealt with a lacerated kidney injury this season. As a result, he’s only appeared in two games. If he appears in only four games this year, he could use this year as a redshirt season, which is still available.
13 BYU football seniors will play in their final home game
The list of 13 players in their final game at LES includes Criddle, Katoa, Tuioti-Mariner, and Tukuafu. Joining those four in their last home games at BYU are Chris Brooks, Lorenzo Fauatea, Kaleb Hayes, Houston Heimuli, Chris Jackson, Lane Lunt, D’Angelo Mandell, Pepe Tanuvasa, and Alden Tofa.
Noticeably absent from the senior list is starting safety Malik Moore. Moore suffered a broken hand injury in game four against Wyoming. He’s been sidelined for the season and is using this year as a redshirt year. The same goes for linebacker Chaz Ah You, who is redshirting this year after appearing in two games before going out with an injury against East Carolina. With them not listed on the Senior Day list, you can probably pencil them in for the 2023 roster.
Update: Since publishing the initial list of senior day recipients, Chaz Ah You, Malik Moore, and Ammon Hannemann were added to the list.
COVID-Juniors have decisions to make
Where things get interesting is the rest of the Senior Day list, which includes COVID-junior stars Jaren Hall and Puka Nacua. Hall and Nacua each have the opportunity to return, thanks to the free year of eligibility from the COVID-impacted 2020 season.
Sitake had conversations with players last week during the bye to get a better idea of which players are coming back next season or not. But nothing is set, according to the seventh-year head coach.
“We don’t have to have a decision this week. And we didn’t have to have a decision last week,” said Sitake. “They can take their time in making that decision. In terms of legacy, all of those guys should be proud of what they’ve done here. It’s not just stuff on the field. But things off the field as leaders and as teammates.”
“I want to get our guys in front of people that are in the know. Because I think they’re hearing it from one side,” Sitake said. “I want to give them the opportunity to speak to scouts and NFL personnel and just get advice from a lot of different areas.
“We just have a bunch of guys, because of COVID, that have their degree in hand and they’ve had it for over a year. So I think the decision has got to be theirs. We can give them all of the information. But we’ll have a more motivated player in the program if they decide to come back. I think there are a lot of good reasons to come back. But this is a private decision that they’re going to make with their family and their loved ones and all we can do is give them the feedback and the information on our end.”
BYU football players that will be recognized on Senior Day 2022
- Chris Brooks, RB
- Matthew Criddle, DB
- Lorenzo Fauatea, DL
- Kaleb Hayes, DB
- Houston Heimuli, FB
- Chris Jackson, DB
- Lopini Katoa, RB
- Lane Lunt, TE
- D’Angelo Mandell, DB
- Pepe Tanuvasa, LB
- Alden Tofa, DL
- Earl Tuioti-Mariner, DL
- Joe Tukuafu, OL
- Chaz Ah You, LB (Added after initial list)
- Clark Barrington, OL
- Brayden Cosper, WR
- Blake Freeland, OL
- Jaren Hall, QB
- Ammon Hannemann, DB (Added after initial list)
- Britton Hogan, LS
- Jackson Kaufusi, LB
- Harris LaChance, OL* (Has said publicly 2022 would be his last year)
- Hayden Livingston, DB
- Atunaisa Mahe, DL
- Jackson McChesney, RB
- Malik Moore, DB (Added after initial list)
- Puka Nacua, WR
- Jake Oldroyd, K
- Keenan Pili, LB
- Alema Pilimai, DL
- Morgan Pyper, LB
- Gunner Romney, WR
- Gabe Summers, DL
- Max Tooley, LB
- George Udo, DB
- Masen Wake, FB
- Payton Wilgar, LB
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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