It shouldn’t come as a surprise to fans of college football in Utah to hear that there are players who are going to suit up for the BYU Cougars, Utah Utes and Utah State Aggies who are old — at least within the world of college football.

According to The Athletic’s annual “Wait, They’re Still Playing College Football?” team, this might be the most advanced (in years) that college football in Utah has ever been. At least recently. (The complete “Wait, They’re Still Playing College Football?” team can be found here.)

That is to say, there are some notable oldies littered across BYU’s, Utah’s and Utah State’s rosters entering the 2024-25 season.

Brigham Young Cougars defensive end Tyler Batty (92) encourages the fans as BYU and Oklahoma play at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Saturday, Nov. 18, 2023. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Here are the players highlighted by The Athletic that come from FBS programs in Utah:

Two players who used to play for BYU and Utah also made The Athletic’s list:

Of the 39 players that The Athletic included on the “team,” 20% of them have played for an FBS program in Utah and 15% of them will be playing for a Utah-based program this season.

Interestingly enough, missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are not the primary reason for the advanced age of most of them — here’s looking at you, Batty and Pili — though it is still reasonable to expect that Utah-based programs are older on average than most due to returned missionaries.

In the case of the notable oldies singled out by The Athletic, transfers and injuries have kept them in the sport far beyond what was once considered normal, plus they also benefitted from the NCAA-gifted COVID-19 year.

Take Rising. Rising’s first year of college football came in 2018 at Texas. He then transferred to Utah and sat out the 2019 season, suffered a season-ending injury in Game 1 of the 2020 season and then missed the entire 2023 season with another season-ending injury.

Rising has been on a college football team for six years now and has sat out nearly all of four seasons.

It isn’t just Rising, though.

Bohanon’s first year of college football was also 2018. He redshirted that year with Baylor. He played sparingly the next two years — 2019 and 2020 — with the Bears, before bursting on the scene in 2021. After losing the starting job during the following offseason, though, he transferred to USF and suffered a season-ending injury. And then, finally, he transferred to BYU this offseason.

Kuithe never transferred, but multiple season-ending injuries have kept him in the sport.

Petras has had both a season-ending injury and a transfer that have kept him eligible.

Bernard too has been undone by injuries, helping him maintain his eligibility despite his first year of college football coming in 2019.

Batty has been largely injury-free, but due to his two-year mission in Malaga and Spain, he didn’t play until the 2020 season, despite graduating from high school in 2017.

Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham and Utah Utes QB Cameron Rising (7) listen to a official as Utah and Penn State play in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, on Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. | Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Of course, none of the Utah-connected players are the oldest or longest tenured in college football.

That honor belongs to Miami TE Cam McCormick, who spent seven seasons with the Oregon Ducks before transferring to Coral Gables last offseason. He’s potentially the first ever ninth-year senior.

No state has a larger percentage of oldies set to play college football next season, though, than Utah.

(Florida comes in a close second with five, plus a former Florida collegian — Dillon Gabriel — now playing elsewhere.)

Be sure to watch them play this fall. You never know, this season may actually be their last. But probably not.