An eventful offseason in Provo continues with the announcement of the release and transfers of fullback Iona Pritchard and quarterback Billy Green. Pritchard will transfer to Oregon State to play his senior year with his younger brother, Baker, who also announced his transfer from BYU this offseason. Green’s landing spot is unknown.
Pritchard came to BYU with the expectations of filling a similar role to the one Manase Tonga held from 2005-2007 and 2009. Pritchard played for the powerhouse Bingham High Miners, mostly as a defensive player. He had a promising freshman season in 2008, playing both linebacker and fullback. Pritchard was a contributor and recorded a forced fumble against Utah State. Coach Bronco Mendenhall and fans were excited for him to be a factor after his LDS mission.
Unfortunately, Pritchard suffered a terrible injury, where he fractured his leg and dislocated his ankle, on a kick return during a Fall Camp scrimmage shortly after his return from his mission in 2011. Pritchard was used sparingly in 2012 and 2013, with his primary role being lead blocker. In 2014, he likely would have been used on special teams and in goal line situations.
The 6’2” 206 lb. Billy Green was a two star dual threat quarterback recruit from Washington that was part of the 2013 class. Green was an all-state QB in his junior and senior seasons of high school and threw for nearly 3,000 yards and 46 touchdowns as a senior, leading his team to an 11-1 record. Green enrolled early at BYU and ran the scout team in 2013. He saw action against Idaho State in November, changing what most believed would be a redshirt season for the freshman.
Green likely saw the writing on the wall at the QB position at BYU. His likelihood of seeing the field increased when Ammon Olsen announced his intentions to transfer back to SUU, but Taysom Hill is entering his junior season as the returning starter and senior Christian Stewart is tabbed as #2. Looking ahead, Green also must have taken the return of Tanner Mangum and addition of Trent Hosick in 2015 into account when making this decision.
While neither Pritchard nor Green were expected to be major contributors in 2014, it is never fun to see players leave the program. Since the disappointing finish in the Fight Hunger Bowl in December, BYU fans have had an up and down ride through the offseason. Ammon Olsen announcing his decision to transfer, a promising recruiting class, the confidence and optimism that accompanies every program during spring football, scheduling and conference realignment angst, and most recently the improper benefits investigation have Cougar fans begging for August 29 to get here as soon as possible.