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BYU Football Injury Report Entering Opener Against Sam Houston

Aug 31, 2023, 1:14 PM | Updated: Sep 1, 2023, 10:46 pm

PROVO, Utah – BYU football kicks off another season on Saturday night when they host the Sam Houston Bearkats at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

In football, there are always injuries to sort through. That’s the case with BYU, but luckily for the Cougars, they come out of fall camp with only one clear season-ending injury among their key contributors.

Season-ending injury: Micah Harper

The lone confirmed season-ending injury for BYU was starting safety Micah Harper. Harper suffered his second ACL tear in three seasons. It’s a big loss for a new defense led by BYU’s first-year defensive coordinator Jay Hill.

Harper had a recent check-up at the hospital, where teammate Kody Epps was there to support him.

Talan Alfrey is out

The injury to Micah Harper was magnified as his assumed backup Talan Alfrey, then suffered an injury near the end of fall camp. Alfrey is not out for the season and Jay Hill has said he expects Alfrey to be back soon but didn’t give any specific timeline.

The redshirt sophomore safety suffered an Achilles injury that sidelined him two years ago. His current setback is an upper-body injury. Alfrey has been seen wearing a sling on the left side of his body.

While Alfrey recovers, BYU turns to walk-on Ethan Slade to handle the strong safety position. Slade has been a productive safety with the third or scout team units in previous years, but he’s never started in his BYU career. He will get the nod to open up BYU’s Big 12 era.

Reserve running back Hinckley Folau Ropati

There was a report from 960’s Ron Weaver that stated senior running back Hinckley Ropati was out for the season due to an injury. One day later, BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick when asked about that report, said, “That is not necessarily true right now, it’s still up in the air.”

Last season, Ropati came on strong for BYU’s offense in the final month putting together solid performances against Boise State and Stanford.

BYU’s top three running backs entering Saturday night’s game against Sam Houston are a trio of ball carriers that were not on the team last season. They include Aidan Robbins (last year at UNLV), Deion Smith (Colorado), and true freshman LJ Martin.

There are high expectations for Robbins, plus LJ Martin emerged as one of the stars of camp.

Not injured

One player who was absent from BYU’s depth chart this week was redshirt freshman defensive end Aisea Moa. KSL Sports asked Jay Hill if Moa was absent from the depth chart due to injury, Hill did not address an injury status but replied, “You’re gonna see Aisea playing this year. He’s coming along and I think he’s gonna be a great player in this program.”

Moa was seen at practice, padded up, and walking off the field on Wednesday in what appeared to be a scout team jersey.

Near the end of fall camp, one wide receiver that wasn’t participating in practice was returning receiving yards leader Keanu Hill. BYU Passing Game Coordinator Fesi Sitake said to KSL Sports after the second scrimmage of camp that Hill was sidelined for precautionary reasons and that he would be ready to go for the opener against Sam Houston.

Hill plans to hold an NIL-sponsored post-game chat with fans after the Sam Houston game.

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 in the Big 12 Conference on X (Twitter) and Threads: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Football Injury Report Entering Opener Against Sam Houston