BYU has had a relatively injury-free Fall Camp, but the injury bug struck as redshirt freshman tight end Hank Tuipulotu injured his ACL in practice. Tuipulotu missed the 2018 season after injuring his ACL early in the season.
Tight End Coach Steve Clark spoke to ESPN 960 about the injury: “It was non-contact. We’re assessing him right now, but it looks like we won’t have him. It’s really hard because of how well he was playing. The first three or four practices, he was one of the most explosive players we had in the offense.”
Tuipulotu had been one of the stand outs of Fall Camp through the first week. With Dallin Holker on a LDS mission and Moroni Laulu-Pututau still recovering from his ACL injury, Tuipulotu had seemingly established himself as the number two tight end behind Matt Bushman. He made one of the most impressive catches of Fall Camp on this one handed snag from Zach Wilson at the end of the video:
Some things can only be learned in the storm ⛈ pic.twitter.com/6S3PpQeuXU— BYU FOOTBALL (@BYUfootball) August 1, 2019
If Tuipulotu is indeed out for the season, a speedy return from MLP becomes even more crucial. Moroni will play this season, but his status for the Utah game is still up in the air. Matt Bushman is obviously the main guy at tight end, but BYU was hoping to use multiple tight end sets often. If MLP is unable to go out of the gates, the next guys up are Joe Tukuafu, Isaac Rex, Alema Pilimai, Darius McFarland or a handful of other unproven guys.
BYU can tweak things with multiple RB sets — Lopini Katoa, Ty’Son Williams and Emmanuel Esukpa have all looked more than capable — or 3-4 WR sets more often, but not having two reliable tight ends gives the offense a little less flexibility. Here’s to a quick, full recovery for Hank (and Moroni)!