BYU soccer: Cougars have a deep, talented receiving corps

Of all of the excellent receivers on BYU’s 2022 soccer roster, just one is certainly shifting on after the upcoming season.

That can be fifth-year senior Gunner Romney, the 6-foot-2 playmaker from Chandler, Arizona, who stunned a bunch of parents final winter when he determined to return to BYU for yet another go-round. Romney is the one senior in passing sport coordinator and receivers coach Fesi Sitake’s receivers room.

Brayden Cosper has additionally been in this system since 2018, however he is listed as a redshirt junior as a result of he missed all of final 12 months with a fractured wrist.

“I could not actually inform you what the longer term holds. As a lot as I wish to play professional soccer, I gotta get to the primary season and go from there. Hopefully, I could make it by way of the season wholesome and we win ball video games. When your staff does nicely, all people appears to be like good.” — BYU receiver Puka Nacua.

The group is about 15 sturdy, with the following most achieved receiver being junior Puka Nacua, who stated at BYU soccer media day in June that he’s nonetheless undecided whether or not this shall be his final season as a collegian.

“I could not actually inform you what the longer term holds,” Nacua stated. “As a lot as I wish to play professional soccer, I gotta get to the primary season and go from there. Hopefully I could make it by way of the season wholesome and we win ball video games. When your staff does nicely, all people appears to be like good.”

Nacua caught 43 passes for 805 yards and 6 touchdowns in 12 video games final 12 months after transferring from Washington. Hamstring points and different well being setbacks induced a sluggish begin, however as soon as the previous four-star recruit acquired going, he was nearly unstoppable.

Romney logged solely 10 video games as a result of damage however nonetheless had 34 catches for 594 yards and three touchdowns.

He stated in June that he got here again to tremendous tune his sport, but in addition to be a a part of one other profitable season.

“One of the primary issues I have been engaged on this offseason is getting a extra explosive first step, whether or not that’s off the road (of scrimmage) or popping out of my breaks,” he stated. “I believe that’s the No. 1 a part of my sport that wants enchancment.”

After the primary observe of preseason coaching camp final Thursday, Romney stated he feels nice and has completed all he might do previously seven months to get wholesome and keep that approach.

He additionally raved in regards to the group’s depth.

“I believe we have one of many deepest rooms that we have had since I have been right here,” Romney stated. “I believe you would return seven or eight deep and any a kind of guys might hop on the sphere and contribute, in order that’s considered one of our strengths, for certain.”

Sitake, the pinnacle coach’s cousin, stated at media day that redshirt sophomore Keanu Hill is the third beginning receiver, having solidified that standing with a sturdy spring camp final March.

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

“Keanu simply has essentially the most confirmed reps on the sphere,” Sitake stated. “That doesn’t suggest it’s going to keep that approach. As all the time, it’s up for competitors, however he has solidified the precise to be that third man headed into Game 1.”

Romney stated Hill is devoted to his craft and desperate to dwell as much as the billing that accompanied him out of Texas because the son and nephew of some former school {and professional} soccer greats, Lloyd and Roy Williams.

“Kebo is actually coming into his personal as a route runner,” Romney stated. “I believe earlier than he was simply type of utilizing his athleticism and his massive physique, however I believe he’s getting a little extra fine-tuned with the craft of being a receiver.”

Romney stated which means doing the little issues to get separation on the line of scrimmage.

“He is getting extra assured. That is one factor with the expertise he has below his belt now. He is aware of what it takes to be a profitable receiver at this degree, and I believe he’s working at that,” Romney stated.

Nacua stated that he and Romney are sometimes referred to as massive receivers, however “Kebo is greater than each of us, being 6-4 and over 200 kilos.”

A brand new NCAA rule allowed coaches to spend two hours a week with gamers within the offseason, so Sitake is a bit extra accustomed to his group than in earlier years — particularly the newcomers.

Former Roy High star Parker Kingston, Kyson Hall out of Maple Mountain High (Jaren Hall’s brother), Floridian Dom Henry and Preston Rex (tight finish Isaac Rex’s brother) had been the brand new faces within the receivers room over the summer time.

However, Preston Rex was with the defensive backs Thursday and Henry, regardless of being listed as a defensive again on the autumn camp roster, has been a receiver in camp.

“We have a lot of younger guys which can be going to be pushing to play on a weekly foundation, and taking part in,” Sitake stated. “It isn’t just a competitors between (Hill) and the remainder of these guys.

“I wish to play as many as need to play with out disrupting the movement of any particular person within the group.”

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