BYU Football Adds Pitt Punter, Loses Specialist To Transfer Portal

Nov 29, 2023, 8:33 PM | Updated: 8:34 pm

BYU Football, Transfer Portal, Special Teams, Kelly Poppinga...

BYU football Special Teams Coordinator Kelly Poppinga picked up a commitment from Sam Vander Haar in the Transfer Portal. (Mitch Harper, KSL Sports)

(Mitch Harper, KSL Sports)

PROVO, Utah – The first Transfer Portal activity for BYU football in the 2024 cycle starts on special teams.

That’s how it started last year when BYU picked up a commitment from Boise State transfer Will Ferrin. In his first season at BYU, Ferrin turned out to be an excellent kicker for the Cougars in 2023.

So adding specialists is noteworthy.

Pitt punter Sam Vander Haar commits to BYU Football

BYU’s first commitment of the 2024 portal cycle is a punter from Pitt. That’s Australian punter Sam Vander Haar. Vander Haar is 6 feet, 205 pounds. He played one season at the University of Pittsburgh in 2022. It was the same season Kedon Slovis was the quarterback of the Panthers.

Back in May, Vander Haar entered the Transfer Portal and took a visit to BYU over the summer. He got ahead of the official start date to the Transfer Portal opening up by announcing he’s committed to BYU.

“Incredibly honored to announce that I have accepted a full scholarship to continue my collegiate and athletic career at Brigham Young University for 2024,” wrote Vander Haar.

He will arrive at BYU as a redshirt sophomore with three years of eligibility remaining.

Before his one season at Pitt, Vander Haar was part of Prokick Academy in Australia. That’s the same program that produced former Utah greats Tom Hackett and Mitch Wishnowsky.

The addition of Vander Haar could indicate the potential future of BYU punter Ryan Rehkow. Rehkow has an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Big 12 coaches selected him as a Second Team All-Big 12 punter in 2023.

Long Snapper enters Transfer Portal

The cliche line with the Transfer Portal is that it giveth and taketh away. While BYU added one player to the roster for 2024, they also lost a player to the transfer portal.

Starting long snapper Austin Riggs announced that he would enter the portal as a graduate transfer. Riggs’ brother, Dalton, remains with the program.


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A post shared by Austin Riggs (@austinrriggs)

Riggs, along with BYU defensive end Tyler Batty, holds the distinction of being the first BYU football athletes to sign NIL deals back in 2021.

The NCAA Transfer Portal window officially opens up for all fall athletes on Monday, December 4.

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

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BYU Football Adds Pitt Punter, Loses Specialist To Transfer Portal