Loyal Cougars

Scholarship Math 2016

With just over a month until the opening of Fall Camp, Brandon Jones takes a look at the current scholarship totals entering the 2016 season and some of the changes that will need to be made, or may have already been made, to get BYU back under the limit of 85 scholarships for 2016. This is Part 1 of a two-part series.

As one who closely tracks the BYU football roster, recruiting, missions, and scholarship totals, the opening of fall camp is one of the 2 days a year when I finally get a snapshot of the team as currently constituted. Months of offseason tips, rumors, and reports come to a head as all will be confirmed one way or another: either a player participates in fall camp or not. If a player is included in the Fall Camp 105-man roster, it means he is eligible in every way to participate with the team. That means no honor code concerns, no academic issues, and for the most part no long-term injury worries. Even an injured scholarship player, unable to participate in fall camp, will usually be left off the fall 105- his spot used to provide one additional walk-on with a chance to contribute in the early weeks of the season.

Since only 105 players will take part in Fall Camp, it will also be a time that scholarship decisions become apparent. With the new coaching staff in place, this year has been the most difficult yet in trying to determine which players are on scholarship. As you may know, scholarships are renewed on an annual basis at the coach’s discretion. So, while I may have a pretty good idea which players were on scholarship at one point in their BYU careers, I have no way of knowing which student-athletes remain on scholarship for this season.

With Fall Camp soon upon us, I thought it would be intriguing to look at the current scholarship picture (as I see it) and discover just how much we don’t know about what that picture will look like on August 6 when the players strap on their helmets for the first organized fall practice of the Kalani Sitake era.

Summer Scholarship Projections

Currently, I project 98 players on scholarship for 2016. That’s THIRTEEN over the NCAA-imposed limit of 85 scholarship players at any given time. And while a few of those 98 could be up for debate as far as whether or not they’ve ever held a BYU football scholarship, I am fairly comfortable in my math that at least 93 of those held a scholarship at some point. That means that AT LEAST eight players have likely been informed that their BYU scholarship will not be renewed for 2016. They will be forced to find a scholarship with a different program or continue at BYU as a walk-on. Let me share with you how I arrived at the number of 98 by walking through my sources for assuming each of the scholarships that I project for 2016. Remember, you can always get a live-updating view of my current scholarship projections HERE.

2009 Recruiting Class (1)

Brad Wilcox (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2012 in 2012 Signing Day release)

2010 Recruiting Class (6)

Travis Tuiloma (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2014 in 2014 Signing Day release)
Sae Tautu
Bryan Sampson
Toloa’i Ho Ching
Algernon Brown
Tuni Kanuch

2011 Recruiting Class (8)

Moses Kaumatule (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2015 in 2015 Signing Day release)
Lene Lesatele (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2015 in 2015 Signing Day release)
Austin Heder (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2014 in 2014 Signing Day release)
Adam Pulsipher (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2014 in 2014 Signing Day release)
Kesni Tausinga (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2014 in 2014 Signing Day release)
Corey Edwards (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2014 in 2014 Signing Day release)
Ului Lapuaho (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2014 in 2014 Signing Day release)
Corbin Kaufusi (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2014 in 2014 Signing Day release, vacated 2014-16 for basketball scholarship, back on football scholarship for 2016)

2012 Recruiting Class (12)

Jamaal Williams
Taysom Hill
Matt Hadley (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2015 in 2015 Signing Day release)
Micah Hannemann (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2015 in 2015 Signing Day release)
Austin Hoyt (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2015 in 2015 Signing Day release)
Butch Pau’u (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2015 in 2015 Signing Day release)
Rhett Sandlin (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2015 in 2015 Signing Day release)
Phillip Amone (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2014 in 2014 Signing Day release)
Troy Hinds (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2014 in 2014 Signing Day release)
Steven Richards (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2014 in 2014 Signing Day release)
Tanner Mangum (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2015 in 2015 Signing Day release)
Taumata Tofi (separate post-Signing Day announcement; RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2015 in 2015 Signing Day release, was not with team for Spring 2016)

2013 Recruiting Class (12)

Michael Davis
Kai Nacua
Nathan DeBeikes (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2015 in 2015 Signing Day release)
Talon Shumway (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2015 in 2015 Signing Day release)
Moroni Laulu-Pututau (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2015 in 2015 Signing Day release)
Johnny Tapusoa (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2016 in 2016 mid-year signee release)
Thomas Shoaf (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2016 in 2016 mid-year signee release)
Rylee Gautavai (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2016 in 2016 mid-year signee release)
Trajan Pili (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2016 in 2016 Signing Day release)
Addison Pulsipher (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2016 in 2016 mid-year signee release)
Merrill Taliauli (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2016 in 2016 mid-year signee release)
Tomasi Laulile (separate post-Signing Day announcement)

2014 Recruiting Class (15)

Nick Kurtz
Michael Shelton
Sione Takitaki
Fred Warner
Jaterrius Gulley
Trey Dye
Tyler Cook
Tejan Koroma
Zac Dawe (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2016 in 2016 Signing Day release)
Chandon Herring (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2016 in 2016 Signing Day release)
Austin Chambers (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2016 in 2016 Signing Day release)
Uriah Leiataua (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2016 in 2016 Signing Day release)
Isaiah Kaufusi (RM – scholarship re-confirmed for 2016 in 2016 Signing Day release)
Teancum Fuga
Kavika Fonua

2015 Recruiting Class (13)

Eric Takenaka
Squally Canada
Dayan Lake
JJ Nwigwe
Riley Burt
Akile Davis
Beau Hoge
Micah Simon
Jacob Jimenez
Trevor Brent
Zayne Anderson
Tevita Mounga
LeRoy Tanoai (separate post-Signing Day announcement)

2016 Recruiting Class (10)

Jonah Trinnaman
Troy Warner
Kainoa Fuiava
Aleva Hifo
Keanu Saleapaga
Alema Pilimai
Chris Wilcox
Handsome Tanielu
Keenan Pili
Mack Richards

Post-mission Scholarships Announced by BYU (4)

Sawyer Powell (RM – scholarship announced for 2015 in 2015 Signing Day release)
Tanner Balderree (RM – scholarship announced for 2014 in 2014 Signing Day release)
Va’a Niumatalolo (RM – scholarship announced for 2014 in 2014 Signing Day release)
Inoke Lotulelei (did not sign NLI pre-mission with Class of 2013; signing reported by KSL in 2013; RM – scholarship announced for 2016 in 2016 mid-year signee release)

Walk-ons Awarded Scholarships – Not officially announced by BYU (7)

Jonny Linehan (walk-on awarded scholarship for Fall 2016)
Kyle Johnson (walk-on awarded scholarship for Fall 2014)
Mitchell Juergens (walk-on awarded scholarship for Fall 2015)
Logan Taele (walk-on awarded scholarship for Spring 2015)
Colby Pearson (walk-on awarded scholarship for Fall 2015)
Garrett Juergens (walk on awarded scholarship for Fall 2016)
Parker Dawe (walk-on awarded scholarship for Fall 2016)

Rumored 2016 Newcomers – Not officially announced by BYU (6)

Joe Brown (Miami transfer, had a scholarship at Miami)
Andrew Eide (SUU graduate transfer, had a scholarship at SUU)
Keyan Norman (SUU graduate transfer, had a scholarship at SUU)
Beau Tanner (Scottsdale CC transfer)
Isaiah Armstrong (Riverside CC transfer)
Solomone Wolfgramm (BYU-Hawaii transfer, had a scholarship at BYU-H, currently enrolled at BYU)

Potential Scholarships – Never officially announced by BYU (4)

Harvey Langi (left Utah scholarship to enroll at BYU in Summer 2014, believed to be on scholarship)
Roman Andrus (had potential to earn a scholarship in Fall Camp 2012)
Matt Foley (initial plan was to walk-on for 2015, be on scholarship thereafter)
Francis Bernard (did not sign NLI pre-mission with Class of 2013, believed to be on scholarship)

*********************************************************************

Data Sources

Allow me to explain some of my sources. Obviously, the majority of these players expected to hold a scholarship in 2016 (76) were announced as part of a recruiting class. I’ve included links to each of the official Signing Day press releases from BYU. Since these players all signed NLIs, I think it’s safe to say that they have held a BYU scholarship at one point or another. Also, the program usually puts out a press release when a new player comes to BYU and signs a scholarship agreement with the team (though the new staff has been sub-par in this respect). Tomasi Laulile, LeRoy Tanoai, and Taumata Tofi were all added to BYU’s class after Signing Day with a separate signing press release. We can safely conclude that they held football scholarships at BYU (which brings the total up to 79).

Next, we have the walk-ons that are awarded with scholarships during their BYU careers. These are slightly more difficult to learn about, but the information usually leaks out in today’s age of social media. And once a player has openly stated to the media that he’s on scholarship, there’s no reason not to take him at his word. I count 7 players that fall into this category, bringing the total to 86 players that we can be reasonably certain held a scholarship at one point.

After that, the picture becomes more murky. There are two players that returned from missions earlier than expected and were not originally projected to hold a scholarship in 2016 (this takes the total to 88). Then, there have been six transfer players that are expected to join the team this fall (to raise the total to 94): Joe Brown, Keyan Norman, Andrew Eide, Isaiah Armstrong, Beau Tanner, and Solomone Wolfgramm. Since there haven’t been any official press releases announcing the singing of these players, it’s difficult to know which are on scholarship. But, Armstrong and Tanner seemed to indicate to the media that they would be on scholarship this fall. And, it would be difficult to imagine Brown, Norman, and Eide leaving D1 scholarships behind to walk-on at BYU. Lastly, there are four other players not officially announced by BYU that I believe to be on scholarship: Harvey Langi (it’s hard to see him ditching a scholarship at Utah to walk-on at BYU), Matt Foley (I recall that the plan with Foley was to be on scholarship after his freshman season in 2015), Roman Andrus (was in contention to earn a scholarship before his mission in 2012), and Francis Bernard (never signed a NLI due to BYU over-signing in 2013, but he’s a starting LB).

Scholarship Cuts

There you have it: all 98 of the players I projected as potentially holding a scholarship to play football from BYU in 2016. The first 86 (all of the signees and awarded walk-ons with the exceptions of the two early mission returnees) would seem to have spots guaranteed for 2016. Of the remainder, I am fairly confident that Brown, Eide, Norman, Armstrong, Langi, Foley, and Bernard would also hold BYU scholarships in 2016. That’s seven additional players to get up to 93. That’s without even considering the possibility that Fuga, Fonua, Tanner, Wolfgramm, or Andrus would be on scholarship this year. And the 93 also doesn’t include any of the more productive walk-ons from past seasons that may have earned scholarships (guys like Scott Huntsman, Tanner Jacobson, Austin McChesney, Chris Badger, Grant Jones, and Morgan Unga come to mind).

So, how can we nail down the final 85? Obviously there’s never news when a player’s scholarship is not renewed (unless the player himself goes public like the recent Keegan Hicks saga). And if such players choose to continue playing for the Cougars as walk-ons (the heart-warming stories we would LOVE to know about), we’ll possibly never find out about it. And so, all of my efforts to track scholarship numbers are thrown out of whack, at least for the next six seasons until the recruiting classes cycle through with the new staff. At that point, it may be safe to assume that all of the scholarships once again carry over from one year to the next. But, even that may be no sure thing with this new coaching staff.

Fall Camp Revelations

While it won’t teach us everything about the 2016 scholarship situation, the release of the 105-man roster in August will certainly help connect the dots. If any of these 98 players are not on the roster and don’t have an injury that would still allow them to play in 2016, it would be safe to assume that they have left the team or at least that they are not among the 85 players on scholarship. These players may choose to transfer and play at another school, or simply continue at BYU as students only. Stay tuned for Part 2 in the beginning of August as I dissect the 105-man roster to see just how much we can learn and how close we can get to determining which players hold one of the exclusive 85 scholarship spots for the 2016 season.

6 Comments

  1. Sanpete

    June 28, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    Don’t any of these players have academic scholarships? Some of them are pretty brainy.

  2. Sanpete

    June 28, 2016 at 4:39 pm

    I wonder if coaches’ kids take athletic scholarships. They get half-tuition for being an employee’s kid, and I wonder if coaches don’t get a better deal than that for their kids in their contracts. (Just trying to come up with ideas on the ways this scholly gap might disappear.)

    • Brandon Jones

      June 29, 2016 at 8:13 am

      Even if they did that, that’s still just Corbin Kaufusi for 2016 (though we may have an Empey and an Ah You in the future).

  3. Skirez

    June 28, 2016 at 11:02 pm

    What about Kaufusi? I believe he is on a FB scholarship now.

    • Brandon Jones

      June 29, 2016 at 8:10 am

      That’s correct. He’s on football scholarship again. I already had him listed with the rest of the 2011 recruiting class.

  4. Pingback: Fall Camp Roster Update 2016 - Loyal Cougars