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BYU’s Kenneth Rooks won a showdown between the country’s best collegiate steeplechase runners at the NCAA championships in Austin, Texas. His victory gave BYU its first NCAA individual champion in four years.

Programming note: Cougar Insiders is going on a brief hiatus for the rest of June but will return in July.

Cougar Insider predictions

Question of the week: With the latest QB commitment, what does BYU’s quarterbacks room of the future look like and will the Cougars offer another in the class of 2024?

Jay Drew: It was a newsy weekend for those interested in BYU’s future quarterback situation, as the Cougars got a commitment from Enoch Watson, an Arizona prospect who will play for former BYU QBs Max Hall and Ty Detmer at American Leadership Academy in the Grand Canyon State this fall. Watson played last year at Coconino High in Arizona. He plans to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before enrolling, so Cougars fans probably won’t see the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder until 2026. 

In the more immediate future, fans should pay attention to Maealiuaki Smith, a three-star prospect who made an official campus visit to BYU this past weekend. Smith has offers from plenty of Power Five schools, and is very much a priority for BYU coaches. Smith has told that he also has visits scheduled to Oklahoma State and Michigan State. He’s big-time, according to sources within the program who would love to see the 6-4, 195-pound dual-threat QB in royal blue as a possible successor to Kedon Slovis in 2024.

Of course, BYU already has several signal-callers in the QB room waiting for their chance to shine in 2024, most notably junior college transfer Jake Retzlaff, Boise State transfer Cade Fennegan and Springville High product Ryder Burton. Offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick has said he wants to add at least one QB per recruiting cycle, maybe two if that’s possible, and one is headed out on a mission.

Dick Harmon: With NFL-drafted QBs Jaren Hall and Zach Wilson on his resume, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick has a unique pitch to present to recruits like Enoch Watson and Maealiuaki Smith. We saw this work last year when BYU signed the No. 1 juco quarterback Jake Retzlaff and Pitt/USC transfer Kedon Slovis. When you have momentum, you keep it going. Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy is on record saying Slovis would have been drafted if he’d put his name in this past cycle. After 2023, Slovis could be added to Roderick’s QB draft run.

While Watson committed this past week, BYU has upcoming visits from former Washington commit E.J. Caminong on June 19, and Carson Su’esu’e on June 12. Su’esu’e has visited Oregon State and Texas A&M with other stops at BYU and Cal planned.

Roderick has a unique relationship with West Coast NFL and college quarterback whisperer John Beck. Their tag-team approach to teaching, developing and identifying talent has paid off with Wilson, Hall and Slovis. Roderick and his boss Kalani Sitake have developed a philosophy to be aggressive with the passing game and that has appealed to recruits. 

I think BYU’s QB room is solid, with Retzlaff, Fennegan and Ryder Burton in the wings as a veteran like Slovis takes the lead. This will be fun to watch develop. If Max Hall and Ty Detmer have recommended Watson, it’s an endorsement to take seriously.

Cougar tales

This analysis breaks down if BYU’s transfer portal experience this spring has been a positive or negative with comings and goings in football. The brother of Zach Wilson, Isaac Wilson is a four-star recruit out of Corner Canyon High and has chosen a different path as chronicled in this piece by Jay Drew. The Cougars get a commitment from an Arizona QB at Queen Creek.

From the archives

How big man transfer Aly Khalifa, ‘The Egyptian Magician,’ made connections with BYU
Two moments at Tennessee that shaped two futures

From the Twitterverse

Aidan Robbins receives ranking (@CamMellor)

Cougar fans get Big 12 love (@GamblinGauchos)

Good things for those who wait (@nate_meikle)

Extra points

Ultimate BYU man to lead BYU to Big 12 (Football Scoop)

Vikings like what Jaren Hall brings (Deseret News)

Kedon Slovis’ NFL ability is obvious (KSL Sports)


Comments from Deseret News readers:

Articles like this drive the yewts into their wild, frenzy of spewing hatred toward BYU with little or no objectivity. Sure star ratings matter, but they are not the holy grail.

No. 1 — It’s not that unusual for a junior to have no stars. Can you at least wait and see how he does in his senior year of high school before you launch your assault. (I’m sure that doesn’t fit into your narrative.)

No. 2 — I trust Max and Ty’s assessment more than yours and the media outlets. I’m just guessing that Max’s assessment was pretty strong, otherwise Kalani wouldn’t have offered.

No. 3 — Can you remind me how many stars Kincaid had? I’ll give you a hint, he did not receive a star or recruit ranking from 247Sports,, or ESPN. In my opinion, he’s the best football player to come out of Utah in a decade.

— CougfaninTx

I think it’s interesting to note that Khalifa is not a lean, thin 6-11. He’s big, with some meat 🥩 on the bones. As long as he continues to move up and down the court as expected he should be a great addition.

— Elwood P. Suggins