BYU football: Cougars have a deep and talented receiving corps

Of all the outstanding receivers on BYU’s 2022 football roster, only one continues for good past the upcoming season.

That would be fifth-year senior gunner Romney, the 6-foot-2 point guard from Chandler, Arizona, who surprised a bunch of people last winter when he decided to return to BYU for a round of more. Romney is the only senior to pass receivers coach Fesi Sitake’s game coordinator and receiver’s room.

Brayden Cosper has also been on the program since 2018 but is listed as a junior redshirt as he missed all of last year with a broken wrist.

“I couldn’t really tell you what the future holds. Even if I want to play professional football, I have to get to the season first and go from there. Hopefully I can get through the season healthy and we win ball games. When your team is doing well, everyone looks good. – BYU wide receiver Puka Nacua.

The group is about 15 strong, with the second most accomplished receiver being junior Puka Nacua, who told BYU Football Media Day in June that he still hasn’t decided whether this will be his final season in as a college student.

“I couldn’t really tell you what the future holds,” Nacua said. “Even if I want to play professional football, I have to get to the season first and go from there. I hope I can get through the season healthy and we win ball games. When your team is doing well , everyone looks good.

Nacua caught 43 passes for 805 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games last year after transferring from Washington. Hamstring issues and other health issues caused a slow start, but once the former four-star rookie got going, it was virtually impossible to stop him.

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Romney only recorded 10 games due to injury but still had 34 catches for 594 yards and three touchdowns.

He said in June that he had returned to polish his game, but also to be part of another successful season.

“One of the main things I’ve been working on this offseason is getting a more explosive first step, whether that’s out of the line (of scrimmage) or coming out of my breaks,” he said. . “I think that’s the No. 1 part of my game that needs improving.”

After the first practice of preseason training camp last Thursday, Romney said he felt good and had done everything he could over the past seven months to regain his health and fitness. stay.

He also praised the depth of the group.

“I think we have one of the deepest rooms we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Romney said. “I think you could go seven or eight deep and any of those guys could jump on the court and contribute, so that’s one of our strengths, for sure.”

Sitake, the head coach’s cousin, told media day that redshirt sophomore Keanu Hill is the starting third receiver, having cemented that status with a strong spring camp in March. last.

The 6-foot-4 Hill caught 18 passes for 343 yards and two touchdowns last season, appearing in all 13 games.

“Keanu just has the most proven reps on the court,” Sitake said. “That doesn’t mean it’s going to stay that way. As always, it’s for the competition, but he solidified the right to be that third guy before the first game.

Romney said Hill was dedicated to his craft and eager to live up to the billing that came with him out of Texas as the son and nephew of former college and pro football greats Lloyd and Roy Williams.

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“Kebo really comes into his own as a road runner,” Romney said. “I think before he was just using his athleticism and big body, but I think he’s honing in a bit more with the catcher trade.”

Romney said that means doing the little things to get a separation at the line of scrimmage.

“He becomes more confident. It’s one thing with the experience he now has under his belt. He knows what it takes to be a good receiver at this level, and I think he’s working on it,” Romney said.

Nacua said he and Romney are often called big receivers, but “Kebo is bigger than both of us, weighing 6-4 and over 200 pounds.”

A new NCAA rule allowed coaches to spend two hours a week with players during the offseason. Sitake therefore knows his group a little more than in previous years, especially the newcomers.

Former Roy High star Parker Kingston, Maple Mountain High’s Kyson Hall (Jaren Hall’s brother), Floridian Dom Henry and Preston Rex (Isaac Rex’s brother) were the new faces in the receiver room this summer .

However, Preston Rex was with defensive backs on Thursday and Henry, despite being listed as a defensive back on the fall camp roster, was a catcher at camp.

“We have a lot of young guys who are going to push to play every week and play,” Sitake said. “It’s not just a competition between (Hill) and the rest of these guys.

“I want to play as many players who deserve to play without disrupting the flow of any individual in the group.”

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