BYU football: Here's why some potential starters aren't on fall camp roster

BYU football: Here’s why some potential starters aren’t on fall camp roster

Before the media viewing portion of the first practice of preseason training camp on Thursday, BYU distributed copies of its “2022 BYU Football Fall Camp Roster” to reporters.

There were a whopping 109 names on the roster, with a lot of multiple numbers, like usual. For instance, Cal transfer running back Chris Brooks and 2021 leading tackler Ben Bywater will both wear No. 2 this year.

That number will grow once school starts, as schools are allowed to have 123 players on their final rosters, per NCAA rules.

“If guys aren’t practicing today, 90% of them are because they are not cleared yet, not 100% healthy. So in (Chaz Ah You’s) example, he is not ready to go. We are not going to force it. We still have a month to go, and some time.” — BYU football coach Kalani Sitake.

There were a few startling omissions from the roster for those who follow the program closely, but don’t panic just yet. Coach Kalani Sitake said some guys, such as former four-star recruit Chaz Ah You, either haven’t been medically cleared yet, or are still taking care of some academic work with summer term concluding on August 12.

Ah You, who is a game-changer when he’s healthy, apparently falls into that former category. He was seen at practice Thursday, but wasn’t participating.

Ah You “is in fall camp,” Sitake said. “If guys aren’t practicing today, 90% of them are because they are not cleared yet, not 100% healthy. So in (Ah You’s) example, he is not ready to go. We are not going to force it. We still have a month to go, and some time.”

Here is what Ah You posted on his Twitter account Thursday afternoon: “Patience: the ability to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset. We all good on this side!”

Sitake said coaches “want to make sure we work with our specialists and get (Ah You) in the right position to be healthy first before he takes the field.”

Ah You played in BYU’s first eight games last year, and started in six, before leaving the Washington State game on October 23 with an undisclosed injury. He never played again in 2021.

Punt returner Hobbs Nyberg, defensive back Quenton Rice, offensive lineman Donovan Hanna, backup kicker Justen Smith, cornerback/returner Caleb Christensen, receiver Chris Jackson and defensive lineman Atunaisa Mahe were all on the BYU roster published in June (except Jackson, who returned from the transfer portal), but not on the fall camp roster distributed Thursday.

Rice, Hanna, Smith and Mahe were all at practice Thursday, but not participating, according to KSLsports.com.

As for Hobbs, who was listed as the No. 1 punt returner on the offseason depth chart, Sitake said the former baseball standout from St. George “will be joining us” but didn’t specify why he’s not currently practicing.

“I will just tell you: some guys are either (working through) injury, or handling academics right now,” Sitake said. “We are at the tail end of summer semester, and some guys are still finishing that up, too.”

Rice, the son of former BYU standout DB Rodney Rice, is returning from an injury, Sitake said.

Offensive lineman Lisala Tai, a transfer from Snow College who was one of the prizes of the Cougars’ 2022 recruiting class, is also not on the roster yet.

Sitake said Tai “has got his academics in order,” but some paperwork needs to be finished before he joins the team.

In media viewing portion of Thursday’s practice, Jaren Hall got the first reps at quarterback, followed by Jacob Conover and then Cade Fennegan. No surprise there.

“Right now, I am looking for guys to compete for starting spots, and then once we get a depth chart (solidified), we will move on (with developing younger guys),” Sitake said.

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