Eye on the Y is The Salt Lake Tribune’s weekly newsletter covering BYU athletics. Subscribe here.
Even though the football season is over, it really isn’t. Six Cougars were invited to play in postseason events in January — four of which have wrapped up already.
Wide receiver Micah Simon and defensive back Beau Tanner participated in the College Gridiron Showcase and Symposium Jan. 3-8 in Fort Worth, Texas. Last Saturday, defensive back Austin Lee played in the East-West Shrine Bowl in Florida, while defensive back Dayan Ghanwoloku was part of the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl at the Rose Bowl.
The other two players — wide receiver Aleva Hifo and linebacker Austin Kafentzis — will show their chops at the Hula Bowl All-Star Game on Sunday. The game will include players from all NCAA football divisions, along with international players from Japan, Canada, Australia and the UK.
Of those that have already played in their respective postseason event, it seems the one that has made the most noise was Dayan Ghanwoloku.
The Liberian cornerback was featured on the NFL.com website the morning of the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. His story is one that BYU fans know well.
While many players work hard and long to make their NFL dreams come true, Dayan may have come the furthest.
The story follows Dayan's move to the U.S. When he was only 5, taking his first flight ever with his older sister Yassah to leave their war-torn homeland. Their mother was unable to take care of them, so his dad's new wife took them in while their father continued playing soccer at BYU-Hawaii – which he would eventually eventually give up to take care of his children.
What I hadn’t previously known was one of Dayan’s first experiences after he arrived in Salt Lake City. His first meal was chicken noodle soup – something he had never even heard of. He and his sister instead put their hands in the soup and started picking out the rice — the only piece of food they did recognize.
Saturday evening, he was no longer unknown. Dayan knew what to do and he did it.
In one of the plays of the game, the former Cougar stripped former Ohio State tight end Rashod Berry and even recovered the fumble himself.
The stand-out play was fitting for BYU’s 2019 second-leading tackler. As a senior, Dayan also broke the school record for career fumble recoveries, while recording two interceptions, two sacks and one rushing touchdown.
I guess now we'll have to wait a few more months to see what his fate is in the NFL draft.
The Cougar men’s basketball team is entering a tough week. After losing at Gonzaga last Saturday, the Cougars continue their three-game road swing with games at Pacific and San Francisco Thursday and Saturday, respectively.
It’s going to be tough. Both teams, along with BYU, are part of the five-way tie for second in the West Coast Conference standings. And they’re both playing really well right now.
On Tuesday, coach Mark Pope talked about how tough it is to win these games on the road — both the Tigers and the Dons play really well on their home courts. And then there’s also the fact that the Alex G. Spanos Center in Stockton is not that well-lit, Pope joked.
“I keep thinking that – I’m going to get in big trouble for this – but I keep almost wanting to bring, like, some flashlights so we can see a little bit better,” Pope said. “But they’re good, man. They’re really good.”
After retooling last season — and missing the NCAA Tournament — in the process, the BYU men’s volleyball team is definitely back.
The Cougars are 12-0, their best start since the 2008 season, and once again have the look of a Final Four contender.