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JUCO running back Hinckley Ropati verbally commits to BYU

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BYU players run onto the field as they and Hawaii prepare to play at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Oct. 13, 2018.

JUCO running back Hinckley Ropati committed to BYU football program Friday, July 10, 2020.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Perhaps lost a bit in the college football news of the past few days, BYU picked up a commitment from a junior college running back late Friday.

Hinckley Ropati, a prospect in the 2021 recruiting class who played last season at Cerritos College in California, announced his commitment via Twitter.

“After much prayer and conversations with my family, I’m blessed and excited to announce that I’ll be pursuing my dreams and academic endeavors at Brigham Young University!! Thank you Coach Sitake, Coach Grimes, Coach Roderick, Coach Unga!” Ropati wrote in announcing his decision.

His Cerritos team bio indicates Ropati would like to transfer to BYU, West Virginia or Stanford. That goal became one step closer to reality Friday night.

Ropati played alongside leading rusher Carl Odom — a West Jordan High alum who committed to play for Division II Angelo State in 2020 — for Cerritos last season.

The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Ropati, who prepped at Downey High School in California, rushed for 647 yards and 10 touchdowns on 109 carries in 2019, averaging 5.9 yards per carry and 58.8 yards per game. Ropati also had 19 receptions for 269 yards, averaging 24.5 yards per catch.

His top overall performance of the year came in the season finale, a 46-39 win over Ventura, when Ropati had 190 all-purpose yards. He ran for a season-high 95 yards and three touchdowns while averaging 8.6 yards per carry and added four receptions for 88 yards. Ropati’s final touchdown carry — a 14-yarder in the fourth quarter — gave Cerritos a two-score lead with just under six minutes to play.

Ropati is the fifth commit in BYU’s 2021 recruiting class, per 247 Sports. He joins Timpview High athlete Raider Damuni, Romeo, Michigan, offensive tackle Weston Jones, Maple Mountain High wide receiver Kyson Hall and East High outside linebacker Ricky Wolfgramm, all rated three-star prospects by 247 Sports.