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BYU Football: How the Wide Receiver Room has Transformed Under Fesi Sitake

If you don't remember the WR room following the 2017 season, let's take a walk down memory lane.

Since arriving at BYU in 2018, Fesi Sitake has transformed the talent at the wide receiver position. If you don't remember the WR room following the 2017 season, let's take a walk down memory lane. 

In 2017, Matt Bushman led BYU in receiving yards with 520 yards. Bushman was followed by Aleva Hifo (437 yards), Micah Simon (386 yards), and Jonah Trinnaman (305 yards). Players like Akile Davis, Trey Dye, Neil Pau'u, and Talon Shumway also saw playing time.

After the 2017 season, offensive coordinator Ty Detmer was fired, and Jeff Grimes was hired as the new offensive coordinator. A few days later, Grimes hired Fesi Sitake as the wide receivers coach.

2018 Offseason

During that first offseason, Sitake helped BYU land Hawaii grad transfer Dylan Collie. He also helped recruit Gunner Romney to BYU - Romney was a highly-touted recruit out of Arizona. Romney was one of BYU's top two receivers last season, and he will be an integral part of BYU's 2021 offense.

Gunner Romney

Finally, Sitake brought in Dax Milne as a preferred walk-on. As you probably know, Milne was Zach Wilson's top target last season. Milne had 1,188 receiving yards and he became the first WR drafted out of BYU since Austin Collie.

2019 Offseason

Following the 2018 season, BYU signed WR Chase Roberts. Roberts was one of the top prospects in the state and an Under Armour All-American. After graduating from American For High School, Roberts left to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Roberts recently returned home from his mission, and he will be on the roster this Fall.

BYU also signed Keanu Hill as part of the 2019 signing class. Hill has dealt with a few nagging injuries during his first two years at BYU, but he has the talent to be a good player at the FBS level. Hill has shown flashes of his potential in limited opportunities.

Keanu Hill stretches for the goal line against Idaho State.

2020 Offseason

Following the 2019 season, BYU lost their top three receivers (Micah Simon, Aleva Hifo, and Talon Shumway) to graduation. The Cougars responded by signing Kody Epps, Chris Jackson, and Terence Fall. They also signed Koa Eldredge and Devin Downing who left two serve missions after graduating. 

All white jerseys Kody Epps

Both Jackson and Epps saw limited playing time last season.

2021 Offseason

Following the 2020 season, Dax Milne declared for the NFL Draft. BYU had talented players like Kody Epps, Chris Jackson, Keanu Hill, and Brayden Cosper ready to compete for the vacant starting spot - the cupboards were far from bare. 

Then the coaching staff added the Nacua brothers. 

Samson Nacua, who prepped at Timpview, was a transfer from Utah and Puka, who prepped at Orem, is a transfer from Washington. The two Nacua brothers will compete for playing time right away.

Puka Nacua

So what is BYU getting in Puka and Samson Nacua? Samson is more seasoned and he will bring a veteran presence to the wide receiver room. Samson will be a reliable target for whichever quarterback wins the starting job. Puka is arguably the best receiver to ever play high school football in the state of Utah. If he signed with BYU out of high school, he would be the highest-rated WR recruit in BYU history.

In most years at BYU, guys like Epps, Hill, Roberts, Jackson, and Cosper would compete for starting reps. This season, BYU could have those players as backups on the depth chart. 

The wide receivers will be a strength heading into the 2021 season. Whether Jaren Hall, Baylor Romney, or Jacob Conover wins the starting job, the starting quarterback will have plenty of weapons to target when the Cougars take on Arizona in Las Vegas.

BYU ranks dead last in returning production and the 2021 schedule will be much more formidable than the 2020 schedule - a scoring drop-off should be expected. However, BYU still has enough talent on the roster to put together a productive 2021 season. After all, this author would argue that the 2021 WR room is the deepest it's been since BYU went independent in 2011.

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