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BYU honors 15 seniors before SDSU game, including a player who was just put on scholarship

Fullback Kyle Griffitts, who says he hasn’t decided if he will be back as a player or an assistant coach, realized a lifelong dream earlier this week when he went from walk-on to scholarship player

BYU’s Kyle Griffitts is honored before the Cougars’ game against San Diego State at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020.
Courtesy BYU photo

Growing up a BYU football fan in Florida, Kyle Griffitts would get teased a lot for insisting on wearing BYU gear everywhere he went.

But he didn’t care. Griffitts had a dream of earning a football scholarship to play for BYU, and he wasn’t about to let a few good-natured jabs get in the way.

He was also undeterred when he had to walk on to BYU out of Windermere, Florida, believing that he would eventually land some financial aid.

That day came earlier this week, as head coach Kalani Sitake put the 6-foot-3 senior fullback on scholarship, retroactive to the beginning of the season.

“A lot of tears were shed in Kalani’s office,” Griffitts said. “I won’t go into details, but it was sweet.”

Griffitts was one of 15 seniors honored before BYU’s late game against San Diego State on Saturday night, but he’s not entirely sure yet what his future holds. Like the others, he can return next year to take advantage of the so-called “free year” that the NCAA is giving all student-athletes this year due to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Griffitts would like to eventually coach, so he will be back next year — as a coach or a player. He’s not sure yet.

Quarterback Zach Wilson said Griffitts already acts like a coach in the tight ends room, because he is a natural-born leader and has also been around for four years.

“I have been here for a lot of his process and I was so excited for him. What a great opportunity,” Wilson said. “No one deserves it more than him, and I know he has never said anything about it to anybody, but that was one of his goals in life and I know it means a lot and I know the effort he is going to give the rest of the season, and the rest of his time here at BYU is just going to be there because of what Kalani has given him.”

It was easily the most subdued Senior Night in stadium history, with no spectators allowed into LaVell Edwards Stadium for the second straight home game. Only players’ and coaches’ family members from both teams were allowed.

“I think a lot of the seniors (know that) they are given that year to come back and play,” Sitake said Monday. “It is going to be up to them. I don’t think they have all decided for sure what is going to happen.”

The other 14 seniors honored were Zayne Anderson, Matt Bushman, Zac Dawe, Bracken El-Bakri, Kavika Fonua, Chandon Herring, Tristen Hoge, Jared Kapisi, Isaiah Kaufusi, Kieffer Longson, Khyiris Tonga, Jeddy Tuiloma, Troy Warner and Chris Wilcox.

Wilcox has said he’s moving on, while Hoge has hinted as much on social media.

Bushman, who didn’t play the entire season due to an Achilles injury sustained in fall camp, and defensive tackle Tonga will probably turn pro, although neither star has said anything definitive yet about his plans.

BYU shorthanded vs. SDSU

After getting injured in last week’s 22-17 loss to Coastal Carolina, three of BYU’s top offensive players weren’t able to play against SDSU. Receiver Gunner Romney (concussion), running back Tyler Allgeier (undisclosed) and offensive lineman Clark Barrington (undisclosed) sat out on Saturday, but Sitake has said the injuries are not season-ending.