QB recruit 'grayshirting' until mission
Provo • Now that Alex Kuresa is working out with the receivers, five quarterbacks Riley Nelson, James Lark, Jason Munns, Taysom Hill and Ammon Olsen gather around offensive coordinator Brandon Doman for instruction at BYU preseason camp practices.
Well, make that six some of the time.
Highly touted recruit Tanner Mangum, the quarterback who signed with BYU last February out of Eagle, Idaho, hangs out with the quarterbacks some days although he is not officially a member of the team. Mangum doesn't leave on his two-year LDS Church mission until December or January, so he is "grayshirting" until then.
That means he is not allowed to practice with the team. He is paying his own way in school, but his five-year eligibility clock hasn't started yet.
The soonest Mangum will play for BYU is 2015.
"It is something that we have discussed several times," Doman said. "Ultimately, it is Tanner's decision. And so the decision was made to come here, do some stuff in preparation for his mission. And then see some football, but not start the clock. We already had six quarterbacks in the program on scholarship."
Nelson stays sharp
Starting quarterback Riley Nelson's extensive work on his accuracy is paying off through four days of camp. The Cougars are still wearing only helmets and shorts, although NCAA rules allow for shoulder pads on the third day, but Nelson is carving up the defense. He was 8-for-8 passing in team drills on Monday, after going 7-for-10 on Saturday.
It is apparent that BYU coaches don't know if they will be able to count on junior kicker Justin Sorensen this season after the Bingham High graduate underwent back surgery last winter. They tried some field goals and a PAT for the first time Monday, but senior Riley Stephenson and backup QB Hill did the kicking.
Stephenson was 2-for-3 on his FG attempts, making 37- and 42-yarders and missing a 39-yarder, while Hill who kicked at Highland High in Pocatello, Idaho made a 25-yard field goal and an extra point.
BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said he planned to meet with Sorensen later Monday to discuss the kicker's status. It is possible that Sorensen will be asked to redshirt.
Receiver Cody Hoffman and safety Joe Sampson were held out of practice for the third straight day, due to discipline issues. ... Returned missionary Craig Bills saw time with the first team defense Monday in Sampson's absence and Mendenhall said he is "pleasantly encouraged" by Bills' readiness.
What we learned • Quarterback Riley Nelson is having an accurate camp. He followed Saturday's 7-for-10 performance with an 8-for-8 outing on Monday.
Who looked good • With several young players missing practice to prepare for finals week, running back Adam Hine got some extensive work and made his reps count.
Who was missing • Receiver Dallin Cutler was held out with a hamstring strain, while receiver Cody Hoffman and safety Joe Sampson missed practice for the third-straight day for disciplinary reasons.