COUGAR TRACKS

Seven BYU Football Players Whose Stock Is Rising During Spring Practice

Mar 22, 2023, 1:18 PM

PROVO, Utah – BYU football is at the midway point of spring practices for the 2023 season.

It’s a good time to step back and assess the players seeing their stock rise this month. Spring is always an opportunity for players to elevate their level of play. Heading into year one of the Big 12, BYU needs as many players to level up as possible.

Here are five BYU football players that, if they were on the stock market, I’d say that you should buy now.

Listed alphabetically

Tyler Batty, Defensive End

Tyler Batty is a veteran on BYU’s defense and looks poised to elevate his game in 2023. Batty has maintained his 273-pound playing weight but, at the same time, looks lighter as his body fat percentage has dipped.

He appears more explosive off the edge than he has in years past. Batty will anchor the “bull rusher” spot for Kelly Popping in his room of defensive ends. Along with anchoring that spot, Batty looks to be one of the leaders of the defense. He’s a strong candidate to be a captain this season.

It will be interesting to see how big of a jump Batty makes this fall. Through three seasons, he has accounted for 9.5 sacks. What does that number look like after a season in Jay Hill’s defense?

Cade Fennegan, Quarterback

Having JUCO transfer Jake Retzlaff sidelined due to surgeries with tonsils has caused Cade Fennegan to earn the No. 2 reps at quarterback. Fennegan has capitalized on the opportunity. Near the midway point of spring, Fennegan is proving to be a quarterback capable of being the backup to Kedon Slovis this fall.

A former Boise State transfer, Fennegan told KSL Sports that he had never considered leaving BYU this past off-season. But instead, he just put his head down and went to work. During spring practices, Fennegan has been accurate with his passes, he’s a quick decision-maker, and in moments, he’s shown his ability to run out of the pocket.

Isaiah Glasker, Linebacker

There is a case to be made that when BYU lines up against Sam Houston on September 2 in Provo, redshirt freshman Isaiah Glasker could be a starting linebacker. However, that depends if the first defensive snap includes three linebackers.

Glasker is a 6-foot-5, 220-pound prospect who excelled at the wide receiver position during his prep career at Bingham High School. Despite being an offensive guy in high school, Glasker plays with the violence necessary to thrive on the defensive side of the ball.

Last season he started his BYU career as a safety. Then he switched to linebacker in fall camp, where he was showing flashes of his potential with acrobatic plays. After an entire year being around an FBS program, Glasker appears ready to take a jump in this BYU program as they move into the Big 12 Conference.

Dom Henry, Wide Receiver

Preferred walk-on Dom Henry has taken advantage of Kody Epps being out for spring. As a result, Henry has been heavily targeted in BYU’s offense, including a 40-plus yard grab on day one from Kedon Slovis.

BYU is expected to be active in the May transfer portal window for a wide receiver or two. But getting a grad transfer receiver might be difficult with three established veterans atop the depth chart. So then that leaves the undergrad transfer pool of prospects. Henry has proven to be a player that could factor into the rotation on gameday this fall.

Brayden Keim, Offensive Tackle

We’re probably not going to get a resolution on the right tackle battle between Brayden Keim and Lisala Tai in spring practice. But Keim’s progress is one example of why Aaron Roderick remains bullish on the offensive line, despite some key losses in Blake Freeland and Clark Barrington.

A former walk-on tight end out of Alta High School, Keim now looks like the star offensive tackles BYU has had in the past. He’s checking in at 6-foot-8, 310 pounds. On day one of spring ball, Keim was with the first team offensive line at right tackle. The battle will go back and forth between him and Tai, who physically looks impressive in his own right. But I’ll give a slight edge to Keim, who already has starter experience during Coach Funk’s time as the offensive line coach in 2021.

Hinckley Folau Ropati, Running Back

You could make the case that the entire running back unit has elevated its stock during spring practice. From Ropati to walk-on Utah State transfer Enoch Nawahine, BYU’s running backs appear to have the depth to withstand a season with a Big 12 schedule.

Ropati has made the most of his opportunities in first-team reps with UNLV transfer Aidan Robbins not participating in team portions of practice. However, according to BYU OC Aaron Roderick, Robbins has competed in everything else.

Ropati looks poised to take on the role left behind by Lopini Katoa. A good receiver out of the backfield that BYU could also turn to in short-yardage situations. Ropati might enhance that spot as he has more speed than Katoa did.

BYU running back coach Harvey Unga has to like his options in the backfield.

Kedon Slovis, Quarterback

The success of Slovis at BYU will ultimately be determined in the fall. But those who thought his best days were behind him have been silenced for the time being. Slovis has been very good in spring practice.

During media observation windows, Slovis, on occasion, has made throws that look like an NFL quarterback. A few poorly thrown passes have sailed out of bounds, but those have been few and far between during media observation sessions.

Slovis has left no debate that he is BYU’s number-one quarterback.

What’s elevated Slovis’ stock the most is that he has emerged as a leader of the program since the moment he stepped foot on campus. For example, when KSL Sports asked wide receiver Chase Roberts what he was excited about for the 2023 offense, he quickly replied, “Kedon Slovis.” Then went on to give rave reviews of how well Slovis has played and his leadership qualities.

Slovis admits that he made it a point of emphasis as the heralded transfer portal QB addition to come in and be a program leader.

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

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Seven BYU Football Players Whose Stock Is Rising During Spring Practice