PROVO — Former Utah running back Devonta’e Henry-Cole signed a National Letter of Intent in February to play for rival BYU, but it appears the graduate transfer known as “DHC” will never play a down for the Cougars.
Instead, it is more likely that Henry-Cole lines up against BYU this season, if there is one.
DHC is trying to get released from his NLI and transfer to Utah State, a source close to the situation confirmed to the Deseret News on Monday. The source would not totally back up other published reports that the running back has been released from BYU, saying that “apparently there (are) some things still being worked out.”
Henry-Cole did not return phone calls or reply to several text messages throughout the weekend or Monday.
At any rate, his departure from BYU comes as a blow to the Cougars, who were hoping to pair the senior with returners Lopini Katoa, Tyler Allgeier, Sione Finau and Jackson McChesney to form one of the better backfields in recent memory.
Henry-Cole graduated from Utah in April with a degree in sociology. In his three seasons at Utah, he accounted for 469 combined rushing and receiving yards, on 90 touches, and scored four touchdowns.
Last March, in his first public comments since announcing the transfer in late January, Henry-Cole told the Deseret News that Utah coaches “were upset” when he told them he was transferring to BYU, but he held no ill-will toward the school.
“The last couple of years, I just wasn’t happy (at Utah),” he said on March 23. “So I think it was best for me to transfer. I did my four years. I have been a team player. It is my senior year so I want to do what is best for me this coming year.”
Henry-Cole was not able to participate in BYU’s six spring camp practices in March because he had not graduated from Utah at the time. Sources say he has only participated in a couple player-run practices at BYU this summer and none the past few weeks.
That he would try to transfer to Utah State, where he will be reunited with former Utes quarterback Jason Shelley, his good friend, has been the worst-kept secret in Provo.
When they signed Cole-Henry in February, BYU coaches raved about his abilities, and believed he could have the type of impact the South Carolina’s Ty’Son Williams had before getting injured in late September last year.
“He was just easy to get along with and I was really impressed with the maturity that he had, the gratitude that he had for Utah, the things he did there, the things they provided for him there. Just a genuine young man,” said BYU coach Kalani Sitake in February.