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Junior college transfer running back added to BYU football roster, will compete in 2020

Hinckley Ropati, a sophomore from Cerritos College in California, will be immediately eligible to play, replaces USU-bound Devonta’e Henry-Cole on Cougars’ roster

SHARE Junior college transfer running back added to BYU football roster, will compete in 2020

Head football coach Kalani Sitake talks with members of the media after BYU opened football practice at the indoor facility in Provo on Wednesday, July 31, 2019.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

PROVO — It didn’t take BYU long to replace Utah State-bound Devonta’e Henry-Cole on its roster of running backs.

The Cougars announced via Twitter on Thursday that they have added junior college transfer Hinckley Ropati to their lineup for the upcoming 2020 season. 

Ropati is a 5-foot-11, 210-pounder who will be a sophomore this season. He ran for 647 yards and 10 touchdowns last season at Cerritos College in California and is from Downey, California.

Ropati committed to BYU last month and was originally going to play another season at Cerritos, but junior college football throughout the country has been moved to the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Asked about the former Ute ball-carrier Henry-Cole, known as “DHC,” moving on to USU after going through some spring and summer workouts with BYU, Cougars coach Kalani Sitake said his program would be fine.

Henry-Cole “was here during our (player-run-practices) and he was here during our workouts and stuff,” Sitake said. “He knows how good we are at our running back corps. I think we’re going to be fine.”

Ropati joins a group that includes junior Lopini Katoa, sophomore Tyler Allgeier, sophomore Sione Finau (currently out with an ACL injury) and redshirt freshman Jackson McChesney.

Also in the running backs room for new RBs coach Harvey Unga are freshman Bruce Garrett and two players who were at other positions last season: speedster Luc Andrada and former DB Javelle Brown.

“It’s a deep group, a lot of talent and a lot of experience,” Sitake said. “We’re really excited about that group.”

BYU also announced Thursday that it has agreed to play at Navy on Sept. 7 to replace the game against Utah that was canceled when the Pac-12 moved to a conference games-only format.

There was also some bad news for the team on Thursday. Jacques Wilson, a junior cornerback from West Los Angeles College, announced on social media that he sustained a knee injury in practice and will be out of action for awhile.