Kalani Sitake Provides Injury Update On BYU LB Ben Bywater

Jul 11, 2024, 12:02 PM | Updated: 12:06 pm

BYU Football, Ben Bywater, Injury Update...

BYU football linebacker Ben Bywater is working his way back from a shoulder injury he suffered last season. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

LAS VEGAS – BYU football linebacker Ben Bywater is working his way back from an injury he suffered last season.

Bywater suffered a right shoulder injury in last year’s game against Kansas. The captain linebacker told KSL Sports last October that he suffered nerve damage in the shoulder.

Bywater didn’t participate in spring practices last March. After those practices, defensive coordinator Jay Hill said Bywater’s status was “wait and see” for the 2024 season.

“Time will tell:” Ben Bywater working his way back from injury

During Big 12 Media Days, KSL Sports spoke with BYU head coach Kalani Sitake for an update on Bywater’s status.

“It’s kind of close and I think he looks great, but it’s a matter of health,” Sitake told KSL Sports about the potential timeline for Bywater’s return from injury.

“For us, is he going to be okay? Is he going to be ready to roll by the time we get to the season? And it sucks because that injury is such a devastating one. But if anyone’s going to come back from it, it’s him. Only time will tell.”

Bywater is gearing up for his final season of college football. The Salt Lake City native has piled up 247 tackles during his career at BYU and opted to return and take advantage of the extra year of eligibility caused by the COVID season in 2020.

Last year in the four games he appeared in, Bywater had 32 tackles before going down in BYU’s Big 12 opener in Lawrence last September.

In the buildup to last season, Bywater was one of the faces of the program at Big 12 Media Days. He wasn’t in attendance this year as BYU sent Tyler Batty and Jakob Robinson from the defense. They also brought wide receivers Darius Lassiter, Chase Roberts, and center Connor Pay.

“It feels weird not having Ben with us here [at Big 12 Media Days],” Sitake said. “But I think Ben needs to take advantage of the recovery time and the days and get better that way.”

Depth at linebacker

If Bywater isn’t ready to go when the season starts against Southern Illinois on August 31, BYU has options at inside linebacker. Harrison Taggart and Siale Esera are two underclassmen who showed flashes of their high ceilings last season.

BYU also added UCLA transfer Choe Bryant-Strother after spring practice to their inside linebacker unit.

The Cougars kick off fall camp on July 31.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and hosts the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU in the Big 12 Conference on X: @Mitch_Harper.

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Kalani Sitake Provides Injury Update On BYU LB Ben Bywater