BYU SPORTS CENTRAL
Updates and perspectives courtesy of Michael Sorensen
Coach Heather Olmstead prepares BYU for the opening round match against UCLA (4/14/21)
Women's Volleyball (4/14/21) - The #16 Cougars came out on top tonight as they sweep past UCLA, 3-0. Taylen Ballard-Nixon led the way for BYU, finishing with 13 kills on .211 hitting %. BYU was down in both the 1st and 2nd sets, but came back to rally and win both sets, 26-24 and 31-29. The 3rd set was all BYU, winning 25-17. Setter Whitney Bower dished out 38 assists and also had 11 digs. Defense was BYU's calling card, as they finished with 50 digs and 16 blocks compared to UCLA's 7 blocks. The Cougars finished with a team hitting % of .256, more than double UCLA's .115 hitting %. BYU will now face #1 seed Wisconsin on Saturday at 8:00 MST. You can watch on the ESPN app.
Kaleb Hayes (14) goes for the tackle against Oregon's Johnny Johnson lll (3)
Football (4/14/2021) - Kalani Sitaki and company officially land Oregon St. CB transfer Kaleb Hayes. Hayes has been verbally committed to BYU since January, but kept off of social media until now to declare a Cougar. Cornerbacks coach Jernaro Gilford reached out shortly after Hayes put his name in the transfer portal back in January and the pair seemed to still have the strong relationship they had when Gilford was recruiting him out of high school. Hayes had a stellar redshirt freshman year with the Beavers and was highly thought of by Pro Football Focus (PFF). However, injuries limited him to only two games as a sophomore last season. Kaleb will have two years of eligibility left with BYU. Look for Hayes to contribute immediately in the secondary for the Cougars.
BYU guard Connor Harding drives the ball down the court against the Pepperdine Waves (January 30, 2020)
Men's Basketball (4/13/2021) - According to multiple reports, Connor Harding will be transferring up the street to UVU. I suspect that UVU was a top choice to snag Harding because of his wife, Paisley Harding, still playing basketball for the women's team at BYU. Connor averaged 5.4 points and 2.6 rebounds for the Cougars last season and saw his production and role with the team diminish. Best of luck to Connor and his future with UVU!
Zach Wilson getting ready to throw at BYU's Pro Day (March 26, 2021)
Football (4/6/2021) - With the New York Jets trading away Sam Darnold to the Carolina Panthers for a 6th rounder this year and a 2nd and 4th rounder in 2022, it's a foregone conclusion that they will be drafting a quarterback with the 2nd overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft. Earlier today on ESPN's Get Up, NFL insider Adam Schefter said that he texted Zach Wilson and welcomed him to New York, confirming what most people have thought for the past month or so, which is that the BYU QB will be the next franchise player for the Jets. With Trevor Lawerence and Zach Wilson going 1 and 2 respectively, the 49ers will have a handful of quality QBs to chose from with the #3 pick. The NFL Draft begins Thursday, April 29th and will run through Saturday, May 1st. Expect a rise in green jerseys shipped to Provo in the next few months.
Women's Volleyball (4/5/2021) - The BYU women's volleyball team earned the 16 seed and a first round bye in the NCAA tournament. The Cougars will face the winner of Rider and UCLA on Thursday, April 15 at 8:30 p.m. MST on ESPN3 and the ESPN app in Omaha, Nebraska. This marks the 9th straight year BYU will have made the NCAA tournament. The Cougars have had success in the tournament in recent years, reaching the Sweet 16 seven of the past eight years, including a national championship appearance in 2014. BYU ended the season with a 16-1 record while winning the WCC league title for the sixth time in seven years.
Connor Harding gets the crowd hype during a game against Nevada (December 10, 2019)
Men's Basketball (4/5/2021) - With Connor Harding, Kolby Lee, Wyatt Lowell, and Jesse Wade all entering the transfer portal, Coach Pope has some work to do of his own to find some guys that can come in and contribute immediately. Here are 3 guys that BYU is looking at to help fill those shoes.