Eye on the Y: BYU linebacker Chaz Ah You’s comeback starts now

The Tribune’s weekly roundup of news and notes from around the Big 12 conference.

Brigham Young linebacker Chaz Ah You (3) in action against the Toledo during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019 in Toledo, Ohio. (AP Photo/Rick Osentoski)

Provo • About 30 minutes after BYU’s third spring practice wrapped up, Chaz Ah You was still in the midst of a walk-through.

With a pair of trash cans acting as offensive players, Ah You was mimicking plays with the rest of the linebackers in shorts and a T-Shirt. Occasionally, he would pause and give some guidance to the younger players in the group. Then it was right back to work.

Seven months ago, when he was sitting in Kalani Sitake’s office debating whether to redshirt last year, this was the scene they both envisioned. A sixth-year player, who had a career ravaged by injuries, taking a leadership role on a young defense.

“That was definitely something Kalani talked about,” Ah You said. “We knew we were going to lose a lot of guys going into this season. So he kind of brought that up, having some leadership going into the Big 12.”

BYU played the long game with Ah You. It could have rushed him back from an injury in 2022, burning his final year of eligibility.

Instead Sitake told him to take his time, recover and be ready to play a much bigger role when everyone leaves. Besides, BYU already had an overly loaded linebackers room last year.

This helps explain his usage last year. He didn’t play in fall camp, then started lightly appearing in practice around Week 4. He tried to play in a game in Week 9 — knowing he could play the final four games and still maintain a redshirt. But he aggravated his undisclosed injury and shut it down.

“We were really trying to take our time and be patient with it. I wanted to have a healthy offseason this year and so those four games were a luxury anyway,” Ah You said. “I wasn’t even guaranteed those games.”

Quick hits

Wide receiver Kody Epps is out during spring ball. Here is his timeline to return, and what this spring will look like as he develops a relationship new QB Kedon Slovis.

Big 12 commissioner Brett Yormark spoke about potential expansion at the Big 12 tournament.

Around the Big 12

Baylor — What are the realistic expectations after a down year in Waco?

UCF — Is making a push to recruit in Orlando.

Cincinnati — The story behind new head coach Scott Satterfield.

Houston — Could the Cougars go to the Final Four in their hometown?

Iowa State — Has just the 14th player in WBB history to score 3,000 points.

Kansas — Is looking at the health of the running backs as spring practice grinds on.

Kansas State — Is taking a pause on spring practice for spring break. What have the Wildcats learned thus far?

Oklahoma — Just got a commitment from a 2025 quarterback, Kevin Sperry.

Oklahoma State — Is getting a makeover at the wide receiver position.

TCU — Week 1 opponent Colorado, featuring Deion Sanders, is already talking about the Horned Frogs.

Texas — Like BYU, the Longhorns have already put on pads.

Texas Tech — Mike Leach stories that have nothing to do with football.

West Virginia — Where should the Mountaineers go in the transfer portal?