BYU bolstered its running back room for the 2020 season as JUCO running back Hinckley Ropati will be added to this year’s team. Ropati committed to BYU in July as part of the 2021 class, but was able to get reclassified to the 2020 class and added to this year’s team. Ropati is a 3-star recruit according to 247 Sports as was a top 3 JUCO running back in the 2021 class.
Ropati rushed for 647 yards and 11 touchdowns last season for Cerritos College (Norwalk, CA). The first thing that sticks out about him is the physicality with which he runs. Ropati isn’t afraid to seek out contact and punish defenders to gain extra yards. Although his physicality is his greatest strength while running the ball, he also has the ability to make defenders miss in the open field.
Ropati’s running style has similarities to former BYU running backs Fui Vakapuna and Paul Lasike with the way be bruises opposing defenders.
Ropati is behind BYU’s other running backs in learning the playbook, but he should factor into the running back rotation early. He is BYU’s most bruising back and could be the go-to short yardage specialist. Ropati joins Lopini Katoa, Jackson McChesney, Tyler Allgeier, Bruce Garrett, Chase Wester and Sione Finau (if healthy) as running backs.
You can watch Ropati’s JUCO freshman highlights below.