Puka Nacua has played his final snap for BYU.
The Cougars’ star wide receiver announced on Instagram Wednesday morning that he is declaring for the 2023 NFL draft.
It’s not a surprising move, after Nacua accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl last month.
Nacua has played for BYU the past two years after transferring from Washington.
“I want to recognize my brothers that I shared the field with at BYU and UW, whom I have created great friendships with, as well as the coaches/staff that has helped support and push me to where I am now,” Nacua said in his Instagram post.
“I will see you all on Sundays this fall.”
What did Puka Nacua accomplish at BYU?
During his time in Provo, he put up 91 receptions for 1,430 yards and 11 touchdowns, while adding 357 rushing yards and five more scores.
Nacua had seven 100-yard receiving games for the Cougars over the past two seasons.
In perhaps his shining moment at BYU, he had a career-high 14 receptions for 157 yards and two touchdowns — including the game-winner — in the Cougars’ win over Boise State in November.
He also proved to be reliable in the run game, largely on jet sweeps — during the 2022 season, Nacua ran the ball 25 times for 209 yards and five touchdowns.
Despite missing four games this season because of injury, including the team’s bowl game, Nacua still led the Cougars in receptions (48), receiving yards (625) and receiving yards per game (69.4) while adding five receiving touchdowns.
Prior to his time at BYU, Nacua played two seasons for the Pac-12’s Huskies. He was a four-star prospect coming out of Orem High in the 2019 recruiting class and was the Deseret News’ Mr. Football in 2018.
His position coach at BYU, Fesi Sitake, shared a few words of thanks once Nacua made his decision to pursue a pro career official.
“Happy for you @AsapPuka! Thanks for all you’ve done for this program,” Sitake said on Twitter. “Whether the day was good or bad, you always took it with a smile and we will miss that! Go be great! Love you big dawg.”
What does BYU’s wide receiver room look like without Puka Nacua?
Even with Nacua gone, Sitake indicating that Gunner Romney’s time at BYU is over and Brayden Cosper announcing he won’t return, the Cougars still return several wide receivers with extensive experience.
Freshman Kody Epps proved to be a go-to target during the 2022 season before suffering a season-ending injury eight games in. He finished the year with 39 catches for 459 yards and six touchdowns.
With BYU dealing with so many injuries at wide receiver this season, sophomore Keanu Hill — one of the few receivers to play all 13 games — made the most of his opportunities and had 36 receptions for 572 yards and a team-high seven touchdown catches.
Also back is freshman Chase Roberts, who had 22 catches for 357 yards and three touchdowns, including a breakout game in the Cougars’ win over Baylor.