BYU Football Embraces New Era Of Roster Attrition

Mar 14, 2023, 12:22 PM

PROVO, Utah – BYU football is preparing for its first season as a Big 12 team. When you look around the Indoor Practice Facility, you might need some name tags for all the players because there are a lot of new faces.

On BYU’s spring roster are 37 newcomers plus a wave of walk-on tryout players trying to fulfill their dreams of suiting up for the Cougars. You might think that is a high number. It is. But then you realize it was necessary, as 47 players from last year’s roster are not participating in spring practices.

“That’s just kind of what college football is about now. There’s going to be a lot of attrition,” said BYU head coach Kalani Sitake. “When you have NIL and you have the Transfer Portal, it’s just part of the deal. That’s the rules and all of that stuff, and we just adapt to it and find ways to make it a strength for us.”

Part of the 47 players from last year’s roster that are no longer with the team includes the normal movement from seniors or players that declared for the NFL draft.

That 47 number also includes the tragic passing of offensive lineman Sione Veikoso. Veikoso passed away in a construction accident in Hawaii. BYU is honoring Veikoso this season with a helmet decal.

But there’s also a list of players that still had eligibility but battled numerous injuries in their careers, such as wide receiver Gunner Romney, running back Jackson McChesney, and defensive lineman Gabe Summers.

Then there were more transfers out of the program by BYU’s standards. Thirteen players entered the transfer portal. That’s still a low number compared to many Power Five programs, but a larger number than usual for BYU. Some likely faced difficult realities of where they stood on the depth chart. But there were notable losses, such as edge rusher Logan Fano, who landed at Utah.

BYU turned to the Transfer Portal to add 11 players, which includes quarterback Kedon Slovis from Pitt, Utah State offensive lineman Weylin Lapuaho, and Boise State edge rusher Isaiah Bagnah, among others.

After spring ball concludes, BYU will look to add more transfers. Potential positions to add new faces include wide receiver, kicker, linebacker, and offensive line. But in all reality, all positions are always open to portal additions if they can upgrade the talent.

“I’m really pleased with the way that the coaching staff and the support staff have been able to put this team together. We’re still working towards it. So there’s still some more room for us to add more talent and get our team better,” said Sitake.

BYU football spring practice runs until April 14. The Cougars will hold a spring scrimmage on March 31 at LaVell Edwards Stadium that will be open to the public.

BYU football players who exhausted their eligibility

  • Christopher Brooks, RB
  • Matthew Criddle, LB/DB
  • Lorenzo Fauatea, DL
  • Kaleb Hayes, CB
  • Houston Heimuli, FB
  • Chris Jackson, CB
  • Lopini Katoa, RB
  • Lane Lunt, TE
  • D’Angelo Mandell, CB
  • Pepe Tanuvasa, LB
  • Alden Tofa, DL
  • Earl Tuioti-Mariner, DL
  • Joe Tukuafu, OL

Players with remaining eligibility that moved on

  • Brayden Cosper, WR
  • Blake Freeland, OL
  • Tavita Gagnier, LB
  • Hunter Greer, DL
  • Jaren Hall, QB
  • Donovan Hanna, OL
  • Britton Hogan, LS
  • Jackson Kaufusi, LB
  • Carter Krupp, S
  • Harris LaChance, OL
  • Hayden Livingston, DB
  • Jackson McChesney, RB
  • Puka Nacua, WR
  • Jake Oldroyd, K
  • Samisoni Peaua, DL
  • Beau Robinson, RB
  • Gunner Romney, WR
  • Gabe Summers, DL
  • Carter Wheat, TE
  • Payton Wilgar, LB
  • Josh Wilson, LB

Former BYU players that entered the Transfer Portal

  • OL Campbell Barrington (Baylor)
  • OL Clark Barrington (Baylor)
  • QB Jacob Conover (Arizona State)
  • WR Terence Fall
  • DE Logan Fano (Utah)
  • DB Nathan Gillis (Northern Colorado)
  • CB Korbyn Green (Hutchinson CC)
  • CB Gabe Jeudy-Lally (Tennessee)
  • DL Isaiah Perez (Eastern Washington)
  • LB Keenan Pili (Tennessee)
  • LB Tate Romney (Arizona State)
  • OL Talin Togiai (Idaho State)

Additions to BYU Football from the Transfer Portal

  • DE Isaiah Bagnah (Boise State)
  • DL Jackson Cravens (Boise State)
  • DL Wyatt Dawe (Southern Utah)
  • K Will Ferrin (Boise State)
  • OL Ian Fitzgerald (Missouri State)
  • DB Eddie Heckard (Weber State)
  • OL Weylin Lapuaho (Utah State)
  • OL Paul Maile (Utah)
  • RB Aidan Robbins (UNLV)
  • QB Kedon Slovis (Pitt)
  • DB Crew Wakley (Utah State)

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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 Mitch’s coverage of BYU moving to the Big 12 Conference on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Football Embraces New Era Of Roster Attrition