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How many returned Latter-day Saint missionaries are playing college football this season?

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BYU linebacker Isaiah Kaufusi (53) intercepts the ball and runs for a touchdown in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. Kaufusi is one of 73 Cougars to serve a Latter-day Saint mission.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

More than 135 players on Football Bowl Subdivision rosters for the 2020 season have served full-time missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The team with the most returned missionaries should come as no surprise. Of the 122 players on Brigham Young University’s roster, 74 — about 60% — have served missions around the globe.

The team with the second-most returned missionaries is the University of Utah with 25. Utah State University has 16, followed by Stanford University with seven. Air Force, Boise State, and Hawaii each have two, and Arizona State, Kansas State, New Mexico, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Oregon, Oregon State, Virginia and West Virginia each have one.

In many cases, two years of real life experience as Latter-day Saint missionaries have prepared these young men to navigate the challenges of a global pandemic. Read about the personal experiences of players at Stanford, BYU and Arizona State.

The following list is not all-inclusive. If you are aware of a returned missionary on an FBS roster not listed, send an email to ttoone@deseretnews.com with the player’s name, team and where he served his mission.

Air Force (2)

Ethan Erickson: South Jordan, Jr., LB. Served in Japan.

Ethan Schofield: Cedar Hills, So., OL. Served in Indonesia.


Adam Haynes, left, Christian Swensen, Charlie Carl Baggett IV, Parker Workman and Ethan Erickson are five Bingham High School seniors who have received offers of appointment to U.S. Service Academies. They’re pictured at Bingham High School in South Jordan on Wednesday, April 6, 2016. Erickson served a mission in Japan and now plays football for the Air Force Academy.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Arizona State (1)

Case Hatch: Gilbert, Arizona, So., TE. Served in Florida.

Boise State (2)

Cade Fennegan: Dallas, Texas, Fr., QB. Served in Argentina.

Riley Whimpey: San Clemente, California, Sr., LB. Served in Wisconsin.

BYU (74)

Chaz Ah You: Saratoga Springs, Jr., LB. Served in California.

Sam Allred: Richardson, Texas, Sr., DB. Served in California.

Truman Andrus: El Dorado Hills, California, Fr., LB. Served in Florida.

Clark Barrington: Spokane, Washington, So., OL. Served in Uganda.

Tyler Batty: Payson, Fr., DL. Served in Spain.

Chayce Bolli: Cave Creek, Arizona, Fr., WR. Served in Ghana.

Jacob Boren: Salt Lake City, So., WR. Served in Pennsylvania. 

Matt Bushman: Tucson, Arizona, Sr., TE. Served in Chile.


Tight end Matt Bushman walks off the field after a BYU football practice in Provo on Friday, March 6, 2020. Bushman served his mission in Chile.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Ben Bywater: Salt Lake City, Fr., LB. Served in Guatemala.

Brady Christensen: Bountiful, Jr., OL. Served in New Zealand.

Jacob Conover: Chandler, Arizona, Fr., QB. Served in Paraguay.

Matthew Criddle: Highland, Jr., LB. Served in Ecuador.

Zac Dawe: Pleasant Grove, Sr., DL. Served in Texas.

Theo Dawson: Jackson, Wyoming, So., RB. Served in Chile.

Bracken El-Bakri: Cottonwood Heights, Sr., DL. Served in Texas.

James Empey: American Fork, Jr., OL. Served in Portugal.


BYU center James Empey prepares to snap the ball to quarterback Zach Wilson during warmups in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 17, 2018. Empey served his mission in Portugal.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

Mason Fakahua: Cedar City, Fr., QB. Served in New Zealand.

Seleti Fevaleaki: Corona, California, Fr. DL. Served in Missouri.

Sione Finau: Kearns, So., RB. Served in California. 

Kavika Fonua: Syracuse, Sr., LB. Served in Canada.

JT Gentry: Littleton, Colorado, So., DL. Served in Hungary.

Kyle Griffitts: Windermere, Florida, Sr., TE. Served in Argentina.

Talmage Gunther: Cedar Hills, Fr., WR. Served in Zimbabwe.

Jaren Hall: Spanish Fork, So., QB. Served in California. 

Ammon Hannemann: Highland, Fr., DB. Served in California.

Bentley Hanshaw: Moorpark, California, Fr., TE. Served in Australia.

Caden Haws: Little Rock, Arkansas, Fr., DL. Served in Utah.

Chandon Herring: Gilbert, Arizona, Sr., OL. Served in Washington, D.C. 

Britton Hogan: Salt Lake City, So., DS. Served in Texas.

Drew Jensen: Salt Lake City, So., LB. Served in Argentina.

Jared Kapisi: Pukalani, Hawaii, Sr., DB. Served in Arizona.

Lopini Katoa: American Fork, Jr., RB. Served in Missouri.


BYU players celebrate after teammate Lopini Katoa (4) scored a touchdown against Western Kentucky at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. Katoa served his mission in Missouri.

Yukai Peng, Deseret News

Isaiah Kaufusi: Cottonwood Heights, Sr., LB. Served in Tonga.

Jackson Kaufusi: Cottonwood Heights, So., LB. Served in Australia.

Harris LaChance: Herriman, So., OL. Served in Tennessee.

Hirkley Latu: Kahuku, Hawaii, So., DL. Served in Georgia.

Sam Lee: Escondido, California, Sr., LB. Served in Philadelphia.

Uriah Leiataua: Compton, California, Sr., DL. Served in Samoa.

Preston Lewis: Alpine, Fr., LB. Served in England.

Freddy Livai: Fontana, California, Fr., DL. Served in Tonga. 

Hayden Livingston: Rigby, Idaho, So., DB. Served in England.

Kieffer Longson: San Ramon, California, Sr., OL. Served in Toronto. 

Lane Lunt: Pima, Arizona, Jr., TE. Served in Washington.

Atunaisa Mahe: West Jordan, So., DL. Served in Tonga.

Jackson McChesney: Highland, Fr., RB. Served in Chile.

Kade Moore: Lehi, Fr., WR. Served in Cambodia.

Joe Nelson: Issaquah, Washington, Fr., WR. Served in Brazil.

Jake Oldroyd: Southlake, Texas, So., K/P. Served in Chile.


With a city background in Chile, Elder Jake Oldroyd poses for a photograph during his mission. Oldroyd is BYU’s kicker.

Oldroyd family photo

Jacob Palu: Provo, Fr., DL. Served in Japan.

Neil Pau’u: Santa Ana, California, Jr., WR. Served in Utah.

Connor Pay: Highland, Fr., OL. Served in Washington, D.C.

Keenan Pili: Provo, So., LB. Served in Florida.

Alema Pilimai: Tustin, California, So., DL. Served in Micronesia. 

Mitchell Price: Pleasant Grove, Jr., DB. Served in Montana.

Kade Pupunu: Draper, Fr., LB. Served in Uruguay. 

Morgan Pyper: Idaho Falls, Idaho, So., DB. Served in Italy.

Ryan Rehkow: Veradale, Washington, Fr., P. Served in England.

Rhett Reilly: Valley Center, California, So., QB. Served in Argentina.

Isaac Rex: San Clemente, California, Fr., TE. Served in Samoa.

BYU Cougars tight end Isaac Rex (83) catches the a touchdown pass during a game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo in 2020.

BYU tight end Isaac Rex (83) catches a touchdown pass against Western Kentucky’s Beanie Bishop (29) at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020. Rex served his mission in Samoa.

Yukai Peng, Deseret News

Austin Riggs: Eagle, Idaho, Fr., DS. Served in Zimbabwe.

Baylor Romney: El Paso, Texas, So., QB. Served in California. 

Andrew Slack: Springville, Fr., DL. Served in Fiji.

Ethan Slade: Orem, Fr., DB. Served in Chile.

Justen Smith: Sandy, Fr., K/P. Served in Argentina.

Gabe Summers: Saratoga Springs, So., DL. Served in Texas.

Pepe Tanuvasa: Tigard, Oregon, Jr., LB. Served in Florida.

Khyiris Tonga: West Valley, Sr., DL. Served in Kansas.


BYU defensive lineman Khyiris Tonga poses for a photo at the Indoor Training Facility at BYU in Provo on Wednesday, Aug. 7, 2019. Tonga served his mission in Kansas.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

Max Tooley: Bountiful, So., LB. Served in England.

Earl Tuioti-Mariner: Topeka, Kansas, Jr., DL. Served in South Africa.

Ben Tuipulotu: Fort Mill, South Carolina, Fr., TE. Served in Chile.

Hank Tuipulotu: Fort Mill, South Carolina, So., TE. Served in England.

Joe Tukuafu: Glendale, Utah, Jr., OL. Served in Argentina.

Chase Wester: Hoschton, Georgia, Jr., RB. Served in Zambia.

Seth Willis: Newton, Connecticut, Fr., OL. Served in Utah.

Hawaii (2)

Kamuela Borden: Pearl City, Hawaii, So., DL. Served in Oregon.

Hekili Keliiliki: Bentonville, Arkansas, Jr., RB. Served in Australia.

Kansas State (1)

Tyrone Taleni: Savai’i, Samoa, So., DL. Served in Arkansas and Tennessee.

New Mexico (1)

Kyle Stapley: Morgan, Sr., OL. Served in Iowa and Missouri.

Northwestern (1)

Maxwell Skidmore: Spokane Valley, Washington, Fr., OL. Served in Peru.

Oklahoma State (1)

Sione Asi: Reno, Nevada, Jr., DL. Served in Canada.

Oregon (1)

Logan Sagapolu: Lehi, Fr., OL. Served in Hawaii.

Oregon State (1)

Riley Sharp: Salt Lake City, So., LB. Served in North Carolina. 

Stanford (7)

Levani Damuni: Providence, So., LB. Served in New Zealand.

Simi Fehoko: Sandy, Jr., WR. Served in Seoul, South Korea.

Houston Heimuli: Woods Cross, Sr., FB. Served in Indiana.

Spencer Jorgensen: Provo, So., S. Served in Thailand.

Tangaloa Kaufusi: Salt Lake City, Jr., LB. Served in Taiwan.


Elders Tanner McKee and Pedro Cabral, missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, walk a narrow street in Paranaguá, Brazil, on Saturday, June 1, 2019. Tanner returned from his mission last spring and is now playing football for Stanford University.

Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

Tanner McKee: Corona, California, Fr., QB. Served in Brazil.

Gabe Reid: American Fork, Sr., LB. Served in American Samoa. 

USC (1)

Tayler Katoa: Layton, So., LB. Served in Virginia.

Utah (25)

Jake Biggs: Provo, Fr., S. Served in Mexico.

Britain Covey: Provo, Jr., WR. Served in Chile.


Utah wide receiver Britain Covey runs for a touchdown against USC in 2018. Covey served his mission in Chile.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

Cole Fotheringham: San Clemente, California, Jr., TE. Served in Nicaragua.

Mufi Hill-Hunt: Sandy, Sr., TE. Served in Virginia. 

R.J. Hubert: Logandale, Nevada, Jr., S. Served in Mississippi. 

Devin Kaufusi: Provo, Jr., DL. Served in Germany.

Jaren Kump: Riverton, Fr., OL. Served in Brazil.

Semisi Lauaki: Hawthorne, California, Fr., DL. Served in Papua New Guinea.

Hunter Lotulelei: West Valley City, Fr., OL. Served in Washington, D.C.

Johnny Maea: Salt Lake City, So., OL. Served in Panama.

Simi Moala: Hawthorne, California, So., OL. Served in Tonga.

Gavin Nawahine: Meridian, Idaho, Fr., DL. Served in Samoa.

Ali’i Niumatalolo: Annapolis, Maryland, Sr., TE. Served in Chile. 

Fua Pututau: Salt Lake City, So., DL. Served in Honduras.


Utah defensive lineman Hauati Pututau tackles USC’s Stephen Carr at Rice-Eccles Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018. Pututau served his mission in Orlando, Florida.

Holli Joyce, Holli Joyce

Hauati Pututau: Salt Lake City, Sr., DL. Served in Florida.

Taniela Pututau: Salt Lake City, Fr., TE. Served in Hawaii.

Tennessee Pututau: West Valley City, Fr., DL. Served in Colorado.

Soa Rosales: Provo, Fr., TE. Served in Tonga.

Dylan Slavens: Springville, Jr., WR. Served in Argentina.

Skyler Southam: Heber City, Jr., K. Served in Chile.

Miki Suguturaga: Kaneohe, Hawaii, Fr., DL. Served in France.

Mika Tafua: Laie, Hawaii, Jr., DE. Served in Washington.


Utah defensive end Mika Tafua (42) gets to UCLA quarterback Wilton Speight (3) during a game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Friday, Oct. 26, 2018. Tafua served his mission in Washington.

Steve Griffin, Deseret News

Junior Tafuna: South Jordan, Fr., DL. Served in Cape Verde. 

Pita Tonga: Taylorsville, Sr., DL. Served in Peru.

Devaughn Vele: San Diego, California, Fr., WR. Served in Samoa.

Aliki Vimahi: Kahuka, Hawaii, Fr., DL. Served in Pennsylvania.

Utah State (16)

Josh Bowcut: Sherwood, Oregon, Fr., OL. Served in Arizona.

Taylor Compton: Logan, Sr., WR. Served in Argentina.

Ritisoni Fata: Redlands, California, Sr., DL. Served in Texas.

James Hansen: Fontana, California, So., DL. Served in Florida.

Nick Heninger: South Jordan, Sr. LB. Served in the Philippines.


Utah State linebacker Nick Heninger (42) tackles New Mexico’s Trae Hall (10) during a game Thursday, Nov. 26, 2020, in Logan, Utah. Heninger served his mission in the Philippines.

Rick Parker

Sage Hill: Clam Gulch, Alaska, Fr., OL. Served in Mexico. 

Mata Hola: Sandy, Fr., LB. Served in California.

Mosese Manu: West Bountiful, Sr., TE. Served in Tonga.

Wade Meacham: Layton, So., OL. Served in Singapore.

Bryce Mortenson: Smithfield, So., TE. Served in Peru.

London Rockwood: Sandy, Fr., WR. Served in Peru.

Josh Sterzer: Salt Lake City, Fr., TE. Served in Mexico.

Izzy Vaifo’ou: Salt Lake City, Fr., LB. Served in the Philippines. 

Kyle Van Leeuwen: Provo, Fr., WR. Served in Peru.

Crew Wakley: Sandy, Fr., S. Served in Texas. 

Logan Wood: Grand Junction, Colorado, Fr., OL. Served in Mexico. 

Virginia (1)

Wayne Taulapapa: Laie, Hawaii, Jr., RB. Served in Nicaragua.

West Virginia (1)

Michael Brown: Compton, California, Sr., OL. Served in the Philippines.