BYU Football’s Returning Starters For 2024 Season

Jan 29, 2024, 2:15 PM

PROVO, Utah – BYU football enters the 2024 season with the motivation of getting back to bowl eligibility.

Last year, BYU finished with a 5-7 overall record and a 2-7 mark in their first season in the Big 12 Conference.

An area that could potentially help BYU get back to the postseason is the amount of returning starters they have coming back. As they prepare for spring practices, BYU football has 12 starters from last season returning who started in at least six games last year.

BYU Football Returning Starters for the 2024 season

  • Isaiah Bagnah, EDGE – 8 starts
  • Tyler Batty, DE – 12 starts
  • Kody Epps, WR – 6 starts
  • Micah Harper, S – 9 starts* (2022 season; Returning from injury)
  • Brayden Keim, OT – 8 starts
  • Weylin Lapuaho, IOL – 10 starts
  • Darius Lassiter, WR – 11 starts
  • Connor Pay, IOL – 10 starts
  • Chase Roberts, WR – 11 starts
  • Jakob Robinson, CB – 12 starts
  • Ethan Slade, S – 11 starts
  • Crew Wakley, S – 7 starts

The stars of that group are defensive end Tyler Batty and cornerback Jakob Robinson. Both started every game last season for BYU. Batty took advantage of his COVID year to return for one more season after earning second-team All-Big 12 honors a year ago.

Robinson was tied for third in the Big 12 with four interceptions in 2023.

Offensive lineman Weylin Lapuaho was one of the top transfer portal players BYU added last season. Formerly at Utah State, Lapuaho anchored the right guard spot along BYU’s offensive line.

Joining Lapuaho along the interior of the offensive line is Connor Pay. Like Batty, Pay is taking advantage of the extra year of eligibility from the COVID season in 2020. Pay dabbled at guard last year before switching to his primary position at center.

The wide receiver unit, led by leading receiver Chase Roberts, brings back a wealth of experience in 2024. Roberts finished last season with 573 yards on 42 receptions and five touchdown grabs, including the game-winner at Arkansas, in 11 starts in 2023.

Also returning at receiver is Darius Lassiter for his senior season. The former Eastern Michigan transfer made highlight-worthy catches en route to 365 receiving yards last season.

Kody Epps also returns after six starts in 2023. Last year was an injury-plagued season for Epps. But in the year’s final two games against two Top 25 opponents, Epps combined for 11 catches and 143 yards.

Returning players with starting experience from last season

BYU also has another 14 players returning, who started in at least one game last season. Among the notable returners is linebacker Ben Bywater.

Bywater announced in December he was taking advantage of the COVID year available to him. The 6-foot-3, 235-pound inside linebacker was a captain for BYU last year, starting the first four games of the season before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury.

BYU also returns quarterback Jake Retzlaff, who started in the final four games of the season for BYU in replace of Kedon Slovis.

Here are the players coming back with returning experience from last season.

  • Talan Alfrey, S – 1 start
  • Mory Bamba, CB – 1 start
  • Ben Bywater, LB – 4 starts
  • Ethan Erickson, TE – 2 starts
  • Caleb Etienne, OL – 4 starts
  • Keanu Hill, TE – 5 starts (Played WR last year)
  • Logan Lutui, EDGE – 1 start
  • Blake Mangelson, DE – 3 starts
  • Keelan Marion, WR – 5 starts
  • LJ Martin, RB – 5 starts
  • Ray Paulo, TE – 3 starts
  • Jake Retzlaff, QB – 4 starts
  • Harrison Taggart, LB – 4 starts
  • Tanner Wall, S – 3 starts

Starts for the BYU Football transfer portal additions

Another piece to the returning starter equation is Transfer Portal additions. BYU has added four players out of the Transfer Portal in the 2024 cycle. Out of those four, one was a full-time starter in 2023 for his previous team. That was edge rusher Jack Kelly from Weber State.

Quarterback Gerry Bohanon from USF missed the entire 2023 season due to a shoulder injury he suffered in 2022. Before the injury, he was the full-time starter for the Bulls. He faced BYU in the 2022 season opener in Tampa.

  • Gerry Bohanon, QB – 7 starts (2022 season – USF)
  • Treyson Bourguet, QB – 4 starts (Western Michigan)
  • Marque Collins, CB – 2 starts (Weber State)
  • Jack Kelly, EDGE – 11 starts (Weber State)

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’s Returning Starters For 2024 Season