Fall camp is officially underway and there are many things to take away from opening day. The roster was released for fall camp and there are some pretty important names missing, starting with Sione Takitaki.
The Takitaki news is rather concerning considering his struggles in the past off the field to stay eligible. Kalani Sitake’s defense is right in Sione’s wheelhouse and there has been a lot of excitement to see him in that style. To be clear, this does not mean that he won’t play this year or even miss any games, but it certainly raises questions about his status.
BYU roster released before first practice. Noticeably absent: Sione Takitaki and Kyle Johnson— Jay Drew (@drewjay) August 5, 2016
OL Kyle Johnson and Brad Wilcox are also missing from the roster of 105 players. Johnson’s absence should come as no surprise as he has been dealing with an injury that has been rumored to be career-threatening for some time now. But, Wilcox’s absence is completely unexpected.
BYU head coach, Kalani Sitake, didn’t clarify why Wilcox (or any of the other players) were absent from the roster, so we’re not sure if Wilcox will be with the team soon or not. Either way, his absence leaves a hole in the offensive line’s depth which is obviously a big concern given that it doesn’t matter how good your quarterbacks are if you can’t protect them.
Keanu Salepaga, a freshman DE who is expected by some to make an impact this season is also unexpectedly absent. Salepaga was one of the top recruits in BYU’s 2016 signing class. At one point, he was committed to USC, but flipped his commit and ended up signing with BYU over Colorado on signing day this past February.
On a positive note, Travis Tuiloma made it known on Twitter that he was at practice today. Tuiloma is recovering from a lisfranc injury to his foot (same injury that Taysom had). According to Brandon Gurney of the Deseret News, it’s not really known how much work he actually did on the field just yet.
The hope is that Tuiloma will be able to play in game one, but nothing is ever certain with an injury like that.
Other news and notes are that we were reassured for the hundredth time (it seems like) this offseason that Taysom Hill is 100% healthy. Jay Drew of the Salt Lake Tribune is reporting that Nick Kurtz is dealing with an offseason foot injury, but is expected to be ready to play game one versus Arizona.
A bit that might go unnoticed is that DE Moses Folauhola is an unexpected addition to the roster. Many will not recognize Moses, but he was a Ute signee back in 2012. He ultimately redshirted that year and then suffered what most thought to be a career-ending injury. Since then he has been at Salt Lake CC and not playing football. Kalani Sitake likely had a huge presence in his recruitment to Utah, but we know little about what his impact will be on BYU this season.