Friday night’s Big 12 home opener for the BYU Cougars, a matchup with fellow conference newcomer Cincinnati, is expected to be close and competitive.

The Cougars were originally favored to win the 8:15 p.m. MDT clash at LaVell Edwards Stadium by a few points, but the line has swung quite drastically in the Bearcats’ direction and now the visitors are slightly favored.

“My whole life, growing up I was always a BYU fan, and I remember taping pictures of BYU kickers I found on Google images onto a wall in my bedroom. It was something I thought about for so long, and then with all the preparation and the buildup, I was ready for the moment.” — BYU kicker Will Ferrin

If the first contest between the schools since 2016, and second overall, comes down to a field goal, BYU appears to be in good hands after the kicking game was deemed to be shaky last spring as competition began to replace the all-time leading scorer in school history, Jake Oldroyd.

Boise State transfer Will Ferrin, who played locally for Davis High in Kaysville, won the starting kicker job coming out of preseason training camp and so far has been solid for the 3-1 Cougars.

Ferrin is 3 for 4 on field goal attempts and 15 for 16 on PATs.

Winning the starting job after a lengthy battle with fellow newcomers Matthias Dunn and Jordan Kapisi “means a lot,” Ferrin said last week. “It is all a process. I don’t really look at is as much as man vs. man competition, and I don’t think any of the other kickers did, either.”

Special teams coach Kelly Poppinga said on Sept. 13 that the competition was close, but Ferrin’s consistency and slightly better record in fall camp won the day.

“For me, it was a lot more about preparing for that moment when I got on the field so I could be as ready as possible,” Ferrin said. “That was everything I wished for. I feel lucky to be here.”

Ferrin drilled his first field goal attempt as a Cougar, a 43-yarder against Arkansas.

“That was awesome,” he said. “My whole life, growing up I was always a BYU fan, and I remember taping pictures of BYU kickers I found on Google images onto a wall in my bedroom. It was something I thought about for so long, and then with all the preparation and the buildup, I was ready for the moment.”

BYU kicker Will Ferrin kicks off at Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville on Saturday, Sept. 16, 2023. | Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

He said they were pictures of Justin Sorensen, Jonny Linehan, Skyler Southam, but not Oldroyd, who did a lot of his kicking for the Cougars when Ferrin was on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

“I didn’t know Jake well until recently,” Ferrin said. “I have gotten to know him recently and he’s a great guy, really helpful.”

Ferrin said he didn’t have an offer from BYU out of high school. He had preferred walk-on offers from Utah and Utah State, from Utah as a punter and from the Aggies as a kicker and kickoff guy. 

Because he did all three in high school, he picked Utah State and then headed off on his mission. However, USU had a coaching change while he was in Canada, he kind of got lost in the shuffle, and so he followed former USU interim head coach Frank Maile to Boise State when he returned from his mission.

He did some kicking off for the Broncos, recording 20 touchbacks on 45 attempts, but didn’t attempt a field goal or PAT.

Ferrin entered the transfer portal at about the same time that Poppinga was making the move from Boise State to BYU, but his first contact with BYU wasn’t Poppinga. It was defensive analyst Gavin Fowler.

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“I have a lot of respect for coach Poppinga, so when he came down here it was a lot sweeter and made the deal a lot better,” Ferrin said. “I wouldn’t say he was the main reason, but he definitely made it better coming down here.”

Ferrin wore No. 45 at Boise, and is sporting No. 44 for BYU, unusual numbers for kickers. What gives?

“I have never actually picked my own number, and I have been a kicker since fifth grade,” he said. “I don’t know if BYU was trying to keep me close to my Boise State number, or not. I have never seen a kicker wear this number, but I have embraced it now. I love it. I’m going to keep it.”

He doesn’t plan on giving up his starting job, either, although he says if he does, the position is on capable feet, despite what fans and the media might have reported back in spring when the kicking game was a disaster.

Cougars on the air


Cincinnati (2-2)
at BYU (3-1)
Friday, 8:15 p.m. MDT
LaVell Edwards Stadium
TV: ESPN
Radio: 102.7 FM/1160 AM


“I can’t speak for the other kickers, but for myself I was trying to get settled here and the first couple of weeks of spring ball, I struggled a lot,” Ferrin said. “There were definitely struggles, but then I got more settled, more healthy, and ready to go.

“It was definitely a great experience for me to learn to keep a positive mindset and not get caught up with misses, not get caught up with percentages, and just think 1 for 1 every time,” he concluded.

Ferrin is married (to Courtney) and is a redshirt sophomore, so he has two years of eligibility remaining beyond this season. He just got into BYU’s business program and has about two years of classes remaining to graduate.

BYU kicker Will Ferrin attempts a kick during a game against Arkansas Sept. 16, 2023. | BYU Photo