|I don't wanna say goodbye . . . :(|
Anyway, here's my tribute to some of the star seniors on the BYU football team this year:
Michael Alisa- Alisa may or may not be done at BYU. He was injured before the Utah State game, hasn't played since, and won't play for the rest of the season. However, he has a redshirt available and may be able to return next year. I hope he does! He deserves to go out on a high note instead of ending his last 2 seasons with injuries.
JD Falslev- I'm really bummed that JD won't be able to play anymore. He's the kind of football player you could make a movie out of-- he started out as a walk-on and then clawed his way to the starting lineup and became a great running back and punt returner. I don't know why in the world he was at a water park in November, but it still sucks to suffer an injury like that, especially when it wasn't even football-related. You will be missed, JD!
Kaneakua Friel- I hadn't even heard of Friel until the first game of last season, but it seems like I've been hearing his name a lot ever since. He also started at the bottom of the depth chart and worked his way up. I love it when they do that . . . :)
Spencer Hadley- When Hadley first got suspended, my opinion of him dropped way down. But then when I read this story, it shot way back up. It takes a lot of courage to own up to your mistakes and really work hard to fix them, which Spencer did. As said before, Hadley is out for the ISU game, but they're hoping to have him back in time for Notre Dame.
Mike Hague- I think Hague is one of the unsung heroes of the BYU football team. He's one of those few seniors who joined the team back in 2006-- 8 seasons ago. He has endured a lot of injuries, but he has made some significant contributions to the team this year. He is one of the main reasons we beat Houston, with 1 sack, 5 tackles, 1 pass breakup, and 1 tackle for loss.
Cody Hoffman- I'm at a loss for words on losing Cody. It's really going to hurt. I think I might even miss him more than Kyle . . . yes, seriously. He now holds pretty much all the records at BYU he possibly can, and I think those records will last awhile. I have loved watching him play football at BYU, and I really hope he makes it into the NFL. Best receiver in BYU history? As much as I loved Austin Collie, I still think he's a traitor for leaving early for the NFL, so I'm gonna say yes, Cody's #1!
Eathyn Manumaleuna- I've heard Eathyn is kind of like Ziggy Ansah-- quiet and reserved off the field, but a beast when he puts on those pads and helmet and lines up across from an opponent. Manumaleuna and KVN have really been the core of the defense this year. I think it's funny how a few of the Countdown to Kickoff commentators can't pronounce his name. Bryan Logan just calls him "Moneymoneymoney" because he's going to be making moneymoneymoney next year in the NFL!
Skyler Ridley- I don't know why it didn't connect with me until today that Skyler is a senior-- darn it! I like him a lot. He's been a great alternative target for Taysom when Cody was injured or not in. He made the game-winning catch at Houston and had 4 big catches at Utah State. It's going to be really hard to replace him, for sure.
Daniel Sorensen- Daniel was one of way too many concussion victims this season. Thankfully, he was back pretty quick. The highlights of his senior year so far have included an interception at Houston and 9 tackles and an INT against Utah State. He's a really nice guy, too-- I saw him at the basketball Cougar Tipoff, mingling with fans and taking pictures with the little kids in the line to get the basketball players autographs. Most BYU "celebrities" probably would have booked it out of there, but not Daniel.
Justin Sorensen- I'm really glad Justin was able to come back healthy this year and end his career on a successful note. His bizarre injuries, including a brown recluse spider bite (shudder!), fractured ankle, and back surgery (I feel for ya, brother!) have really, really hurt the kicking game, but this year, he's been solid. As a fellow back surgery survivor, I'm actually extremely impressed that he has been able to be as good as he has this year-- I'd surely wind up in the hospital in a heartbeat if I tried to do what he does. He's 15 of 18 on field goals so far this year, which is stellar compared to going 6 of 12 all of last season and 15 of 25 the year before. Good job, Justin. :)
Uani Unga- He's Harvey Unga's cousin. Need I say more? Football blood must run in that family! He had 17 tackles against Utah State and was the best defensive player overall against Boise State, with 15 tackles, one TFL, one pass breakup, and one forced fumble. Geez, I'm getting tired just thinking about all that . . .
Kyle Van Noy- Last, but not least, Mr. KVN himself. He leaves BYU with impressive stats in just about everything. If you haven't read the articles from the Deseret News excerpted from The System about how Kyle was recruited, how he almost ended his BYU career before it started, and how he has thrived on the team, I highly recommend that you do so. You'll laugh, you'll cry . . . Ok, maybe I'm the only one who did those things. haha.
The remaining seniors on the team include Tyler Beck, Adam Hogan, Austen Jorgensen, Scott Lefrandt, Blake Morgan, Kevin O'Mary, Jason Munns, Skye PoVey, Manaaki Vaitai, and Richard Wilson. Way to go, Cougars! You will all be missed. I'm excited to be there at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday to watch you play for the last time and take down the Bengals. Go Cougs!