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The perfect storm: Troy Warner aiming high in what will be his final season at BYU

Fred Warner has seen a great deal of success in his football career, and his younger brother, Troy Warner, hopes to realize at least some of that same success after incurring multiple setbacks

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Utah Utes wide receiver Raelon Singleton (11) has the ball knocked free by Brigham Young Cougars defensive back Troy Warner (1) in Provo on Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

PROVO — Remember Troy Warner?

For the some BYU fans, it’s been a while since the name even registered as a potential leader and perhaps even a star for the Cougar defense. But he’s still around, and more determined than ever to make the type of impact his recruiting profile and early returns within the BYU football program dictated.

“In my opinion, he’s playing the best ball he’s ever played... We’re counting on him and expect a lot from him this fall.” — BYU safeties coach Preston Hadley on Troy Warner

And BYU coach Kalani Sitake has noted a lot of it.

The Cougar head coach noted the determination shown through the early portion of spring practices to the media last week, highlighting the redshirt senior defensive back when asked which players have stood out to him so far.

“He’s stepped it up a lot, in terms of his game,” Sitake said. “So I’m just really excited about him.”

For Warner, it’s been a while since he first signed with BYU as a consensus 4-star prospect out of Mission Hills, California — a designation handed to only the elite prospects across the country. Like his older brother, Fred Warner, Troy Warner could have signed with just about anyone on the West Coast and elsewhere, and strongly considered signing with USC before resting on BYU.


Brigham Young defensive back Troy Warner (11) breaks up a pass intended for Boise State wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck (82) during the first half of an NCAA football game between Boise State and Brigham Young in Boise on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016.

Nick Wagner, Deseret News

During his initial season, Troy made an immediate impact, perhaps even one bigger than Fred, in being named a starter for the 2016 season at cornerback. The following 2017 season saw him expand his role, playing at various defensive positions until everything was derailed in late October courtesy of a lisfranc injury, which has caused complications in his play up until late during the 2019 season.

Several additional issues have surrounded the initial injury to his foot, including the damage of bones in the area of the injury and a major reaggravation just prior to the 2019 season, which left him on the sidelines until late in the year.

“It’s so frustrating when you experience injuries — especially the one I had,” Troy Warner said. “It’s lingered, and to be in a position where I can’t really help my team or myself — it’s just so frustrating.”

What hasn’t proven frustrating for Troy Warner has been watching Fred Warner’s success in the NFL.

Drafted in the third round in the 2018 NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers, the former standout BYU linebacker has risen to become one of the premier defensive players in the league. Troy Warner has noted all of it and couldn’t be happier for the person he’s considered his role model since a very young age.

“It’s kind of surreal, honestly,” Troy Warner said of watching his older brother perform on Sundays. “... We’ve been best friends since I came out of the womb, and we’ve been competing since a very young age.”

Troy Warner speaks of competing with Fred in just about everything — sometimes leading to some minor scuffles, although he couldn’t be more grateful for everything big brother was and is to him to this day.

“I don’t think people realize just how big of a role model he was for me at such a young age,” Troy Warner said. “He always did things the right way and I just always wanted to follow in his lead.”

The intent for the 6-foot-1 200-pound senior safety now is quite obvious: continue following big brother to a big senior season and then hopefully to the NFL.

Doing as much won’t be easy, though, as time his time to show what he’s truly made of is now compressed to just one last season. But fortunately the early returns have proved impressive, with BYU safeties coach Preston Hadley lending praise.

“In my opinion, he’s playing the best ball he’s ever played,” Hadley said. “Just (considering) the work he’s put in and it makes sense. ... We’re counting on him and expect a lot from him this fall.”

Hadley needs Troy Warner to be at his best, given the graduation of many of his top safeties from a year ago. A lot voids have been left, and not just athletically, but in leadership, too, with the prospect of replacing 2019’s senior standouts, such as Austin Lee, a daunting prospect.

It’s all creating what could very well be deemed a perfect storm for Troy Warner to go out in top form at the conclusion of his senior season, although there’s still a lot of work ahead.

“I’m just hungry,” he concluded. “I have a lot to prove to myself and I’m determined to do it.”