BYU Football: Cougars are open to adding another QB if it’s the right solution

Is BYU in the market for a quarterback out of the transfer gate?

This question has been asked over and over again at Provo since 2020 and 2021, backup quarterback Baylor Romney announced on New Years Eve that he was leaving BYU and former BYU rookie Jaxson Dart announced he was leaving the USC.

The question was answered on Wednesday when Cougar Sports Insider’s Jeff Hansen on the 247sports.com network reported that Dart had visited BYU earlier in the day, a development Hansen called a “big deal” because “the expectation National was (Oklahoma) and Ole Miss” were the only remaining schools in the picture for the five-star prospect’s services.

The Deseret News confirmed that Dart made a late morning visit to BYU, but was not accompanied by former USC teammate Michael Trigg, the tight end who many believe will be a forfeiter with Dart. out of the portal due to a match between the two on social media.

At least one sports media company that covers Ole Miss, SSN Ole Miss, reported Wednesday that BYU will not be “a factor” and “it will always be between Ole Miss and OU.”

Obviously, though, the Cougars won’t give up hope until the former Deseret News Mr. Football in Utah from Draper’s Corner Canyon High confirms he’s headed elsewhere.

In a lengthy phone interview last week, Fesi Sitake, BYU’s passing game coordinator and receivers coach, said that when it comes to signing a QB out of the gate, the coaching staff is “open. anything, as long as it’s the right person.”

No sane staff member would pass up a player of Dart’s caliber and potential. He’s a five-star recruit, after all.

But what about signing a high school quarterback? The Cougars signed 19 high school prospects on Dec. 15 when the three-day early signing period began, but none whose primary high school position was quarterback.

“Not really,” Sitake said, when asked if BYU has room for more preparations on National Signing Day, which is Feb. 2. “We’re pretty full. Our (signers), most of them, are going on assignments. I think there are a few individual slots where we can take a guy right now, if he’s the right person. and the right position.But for me and my (reception) room, I am not taking full scholarships for this course at the moment.

In December, head coach Kalani Sitake said he would save some scholarships during spring camp because there is a lot of attrition after spring training because some players learn they are not not as high on the depth chart as they would like and hit the portal.

Half a dozen players who were on the Cougars’ 10-3 team in 2021 are either in the portal or have already committed to a new program, including the aforementioned Romney, wide receiver Chris Jackson, tight end Bentley Hanshaw (Liberty) and defensive back Jacques Wilson.

A BYU football spokesperson said spring training begins Feb. 28 and ends March 25, which is also the Cougars’ pro day. It is not yet known whether there will be a spring game or a scrimmage.

As of Thursday morning, Romney, who went 4-1 when he was BYU’s starting QB the past two seasons, had not publicly announced his intentions.

Last week, Fesi Sitake said “a lot could happen” regarding Romney and did not rule out a return to BYU for the El Paso, Texas native, who originally committed to Nevada after high school and before a church mission in Carlsbad, California.

Romney’s wife, former BYU pole vaulter Elise Machen Romney, is in medical assistant school at Rocky Mountain Health Professions University in Provo.

“Baylor has not yet declared where he is being transferred to,” Fesi Sitake said. “He might end up coming back here. He might end up finding a (new) home. And how we deal with that is, ‘OK, are we going to have someone else?’ If so, it has to be the right fit.

Coincidentally, Nevada Sports Net reported Wednesday that BYU will host the Nevada Wolf Pack — the school Romney was heading to before a coaching change while on assignment — at the season opener on August 31. 2024 in Provo. The contract was signed a few months after BYU announced it would join the Big 12 in 2023 last September, meaning the move will not affect that deal.

BYU was scheduled to host Central Florida in its 2024 opener, but UCF is also joining the Big 12, so that game will theoretically be played later in the season and be a conference game.

“We like the guys we have in the quarter room, but obviously Baylor is a very experienced guy,” Fesi Sitake said.

Of course, the Cougars already have something Oklahoma and Ole Miss don’t – a seasoned returning quarterback. That would be Jaren Hall, returning for his fifth year on the program with 12 starts under his belt.

Hall, who gave up baseball this time last year to focus solely on football, completed 64% of his passes for 3,003 yards and 21 touchdowns in his career, with just five interceptions. He is also an above average rusher, with 450 rushing yards to his name.

“We’re not saying in any way that we have to find someone,” Fesi Sitake said. “But if there’s anybody out there who we think can help us, we’d be very open to it.”

Especially if he happens to be the best quarterback on the transfer portal right now.

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