Loyal Cougars

2015 Football Roster Breakdown

With the final practice of spring football camp taking place today, we can finally take a look ahead at what we can expect the 2015 roster to look like. First, allow me to provide a quick refresher on dates. Per NCAA regulation, the team is allowed to have 105 players participate in Fall camp. Of these 105, only 85 can be scholarship players; the remaining 20 are walk-ons. 18 additional walk-ons will be added to the roster on the first day of BYU’s fall semester, August 31, to bring the total to 123.

Our current roster shows a total of 147 players. Of that number, we show a total of 84 scholarship players. This total does not include Charles West, as he is expected to greyshirt the 2015 season and then, assuming all of his legal issues are resolved, join the team in 2016 as a True Freshman. There is also some buzz that Khari Vanderbilt has made a lot of progress and may be able to join the team this fall. Colby Pearson has been told he may receive a scholarship for the fall, but as of now, he will need to hope for some additional roster attrition due to injury or transfer.

Some time between now and the opening of Fall Camp on August 7, the coaches will send out invites to the 20-21 walk-ons lucky enough to participate in preseason practices. I don’t expect Squally Canada to participate in camp since he won’t be able to play this season due to transfer rules. In theory, his spot can go to an additional walk-on who may be able to contribute in 2015.

The other task that must be completed before August 31 is the cutting of at least 25 walk-on players. Our list of 147 includes 109 players that participated with the team this spring (63 scholarship, 46 walk-on), plus 17 missionaries returning to join the team this fall (10 scholarship, 7 walk-on), plus 16 new recruits/transfers joining this fall (11 scholarship, 5 walk-on), and an additional 5 players who began their missionary service in September 2013 and may or may not return in time for fall semester (3 scholarship, 2 walk-on). Coach Mendenhall likes to give all returned missionaries a fair shot to regain their football form and join the team for at least a semester. Therefore, it is likely that most of the cuts will come from the group of 46 walk-ons that participated with the team this spring.

Since our list of 147 gives the best possible estimate of the makeup of BYU’s 2015 roster, let’s take a look at some demographics:

Missionaries. A record 103 players on the roster are returned LDS missionaries (70%). 4 additional players plan to serve after the 2015 season (3%). An additional 32 players are currently serving (or will be serving when the 2015 season begins) and are not included in the totals.

LDS Membership. 123 of the rostered players are members of the LDS faith (84%).

Race. 77 of the players are caucasian (52%), which may seem a lot lower than the stereotype. Approximately 40 players are Polynesian (27%) and 28 players are African-American (19%). 2 players on the roster are of Latino heritage. 19 players on the roster (13%)  are “double minorities” (non-caucasian and non-LDS).

Class. The 2015 roster lists 21 seniors (14%), 30 juniors (20%), 36 sophomores (24%), and a whopping 60 freshmen (41%). It’s not a big leap to guess that most of the cuts will come from the new freshmen walk-ons.

Redshirts. 88 players on the roster have already used a redshirt season. The remaining 59 still have a redshirt available. Note that our roster differs from the official BYU roster in that if a player did not have any playing time in a given season (or if their pre-injury playing time would allow for a medical hardship waiver), we automatically show it as a redshirt year. So, BYU might show a given player as a True Sophomore where we would list him as a Redshirt Freshman. Down the road, if the player is recognized on Senior day, only then do we bump him up from Redshirt Junior to True Senior and remove him prior to the following season. This is imperative when counting scholarship players (and walk-ons who may receive a scholarship later in their BYU careers) as it allows us to count scholarship numbers as conservatively as possible.

With spring football over, the long offseason begins now. Football Media Day is a painful 82 days away. Fall camp begins in 126 days. And BYU’s season opener at Nebraska is still 155 days away. We will undoubtedly see a few changes to the roster and depth chart in the upcoming months, but for the most part, this is the team that we’ll see take the field in Lincoln on September 5.