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Puka Nacua Takes First NFL Draft Step, Accepts Senior Bowl Invite

Nov 21, 2022, 8:57 AM
Puka Nacua, NFL Draft, BYU Football...
BYU football WR Puka Nacua accepted an invitation to the 2023 Senior Bowl. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – BYU star wide receiver Puka Nacua has accepted an invitation to play in the 2023 Reese’s Senior Bowl. This would also mean he is moving on from BYU after this season to begin his professional career in the NFL.

The Senior Bowl announced Nacua’s move to participate in the Senior Bowl on Monday, “OFFICIAL! WR Puka Nacua @Asappuka from @BYUfootball is heading to the 2023 Senior Bowl!!!”

Nacua hasn’t made an official announcement from his channels. The former Orem High star told reporters last week that he would decide on his future after the regular season finale against Stanford. However, an accepted invitation to the Senior Bowl moves that timeline up and says pro football is in his near future.

Puka Nacua is an all-time talent at BYU

BYU head coach Kalani Sitake called Nacua “one of the best players in college football” earlier this season. So far, the 6-foot-2, 205-pound Nacua has played in eight of BYU’s 11 games. He’s pulled in 45 receptions for 592 yards and five touchdowns. While he also carried the ball 22 times for 171 rushing yards.

The 2022 season is Nacua’s fourth year in college football. But he had the option to return for one more season due to the free year of eligibility given by the COVID season in 2020 when he was at the University of Washington.

The 2023 Senior Bowl will take place on Saturday, February 4, in Mobile, Alabama. But the most critical piece to being a Senior Bowl invite is the practices throughout the week. NFL staffs coach up draft hopefuls and face some of the best competition from college football. In addition, the Senior Bowl is widely regarded as the preeminent college football all-star game.

According to the Senior Bowl website, the rosters for the game “are a mixture of college standouts and potential prospects that project best to the NFL with a particular interest in those that are rated above the 5th round.”

Nacua is the 10th receiver to accept an invitation to the 2023 Senior Bowl.

Moving forward

Over the weekend, Nacua participated in Senior Day festivities at BYU. He was one of the 35 players honored after the game with a senior blanket, but he didn’t officially announce his next move after this season. However, on his personal Instagram stories, Nacua wrote, “Cougar nation what a ride.”

During Saturday’s postgame press conference, Nacua was asked if he would be playing in BYU’s postseason bowl game. As of now, he’s going to play in whichever postseason bowl game BYU is slated to go to.

“I think that’s the plan. I haven’t had a chance to look at it. But that’s a game scheduled for the Cougars, and that’s a game I’ll be playing in,” Nacua said.

Nacua and the BYU football team are next in action against the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday night in Palo Alto at 9 p.m. (MT).

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 Mitch and his BYU basketball coverage on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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