Provo • Having entered spring camp with eight quarterbacks on their roster, BYU football coaches figured there would be some attrition before fall camp starts in August.
The first one happened over the weekend, as former Pine View High star Kody Wilstead asked for his release and will transfer, quite likely to a junior college. Wilstead was with the team last year after returning from a church mission, but did not play and was listed as a redshirt freshman on the initial spring roster.
“We are going to grant him [the release],” coach Kalani Sitake said. “We want him to have success and we will support him any way that we can. … He wants to get on the field and play as soon as possible, and he is looking for a different place to do that.”
After the fourth practice on Monday, it is apparent during the media viewing portions of camp that sophomore Joe Critchlow, freshman Zach Wilson and junior Beau Hoge are getting the bulk of the repetitions in 7-on-7 work and team scrimmages.
Senior Tanner Mangum, who is recovering from an Achilles injury, is getting in some light work in non-contact situations and said Monday that he is on track to be 100 percent some time this summer.
“Right now we are on schedule,” Mangum said. “We are just taking it day by day, week by week, making sure we meet our milestones. It feels really good. My body feels good and I am happy with the progress.”
The remaining quarterbacks in camp are freshmen Stacy Conner and Baylor Romney and sophomore Hayden Griffits, who is injured and was wearing a protective boot on his foot Monday.
“Kody is a good friend of mine and he made a personal decision [to leave],” Hoge said. “Eight is a lot of quarterbacks, and Kody felt, I guess, that it was best for him to try somewhere else. We all loved having Kody in the quarterback room. He was a great guy to have around.”
As for his own health, Hoge said he has recovered from a toe injury and a concussion that caused him to miss the last three games of 2017, games that Critchlow started.
“I’ve never felt better,” he said.
Sitake said he wants a lot of quarterbacks and was sad when he had a “really good conversation” with Wilstead and learned the St. George native wanted a release.
“I would just rather have too many than none,” Sitake said. “So If there is a great one sitting there, I am going to recruit him. I want the best players here, and if we hurt people’s feelings, then so be it. It is just part of football.”
Wilson, the freshman who graduated early from Draper’s Corner Canyon High so he could enroll in January and participate in spring ball, had a good day Monday and outplayed Critchlow, who was intercepted by Isaiah Armstrong.
“From what we’ve seen, [Wilson] is a little further ahead,” Sitake said. “I think the early start, being here midyear, has been good for him.”
Sitake said the Cougars will practice at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Thursday to get in some more live work in full pads. BYU has a one-day spring break on Friday, which is better than the no spring break the Cougars got when Sitake played, he reminded his players. … Along with Wilstead, several other underclassmen who were on the 2017 roster have chosen to leave the program. That list includes junior college transfer offensive lineman John Vaka, defensive lineman Solomone Wolfgramm, receiver Taggart Krueger and defensive back/linebacker Garrett England.