BYU Football starts in just 54 days, the rest of college football begins in only eight weeks.
As excited as I am about the BYU Football season starting, I am nearly just as excited for the first weekend of college football. With Auburn vs Oregon, Florida vs Miami and Boise State vs Florida State among others all on one day, I may as well be unable to move because I won’t be getting off the couch at all.
Interestingly, week one in college football sort of has a bowl game feeling with good games going off everywhere between two teams that are from different conferences, but week two is sort of the dead week in college football. The biggest games are West Virginia vs Missouri, Texas A&M vs Clemson, LSU vs Texas and then BYU vs Tennessee. Everyone else is either playing a bad G5 team or FCS schools.
While I have plenty of complaints about BYU’s scheduling that I won’t mention, l̶o̶a̶d̶e̶d̶ ̶f̶r̶o̶n̶t̶ ̶e̶n̶d̶ ̶o̶f̶ ̶a̶ ̶s̶c̶h̶e̶d̶u̶l̶e̶,̶ ̶k̶n̶o̶w̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶y̶o̶u̶r̶ ̶b̶o̶w̶l̶ ̶g̶a̶m̶e̶ ̶b̶y̶ ̶w̶e̶e̶k̶ ̶f̶o̶u̶r̶,̶ ̶g̶e̶t̶t̶i̶n̶g̶ ̶t̶o̶o̶ ̶m̶a̶n̶y̶ ̶i̶n̶j̶u̶r̶i̶e̶s̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶f̶i̶r̶s̶t̶ ̶f̶i̶v̶e̶ ̶g̶a̶m̶e̶s̶,̶ ̶n̶o̶ ̶c̶o̶n̶f̶e̶r̶e̶n̶c̶e̶ ̶c̶h̶a̶m̶p̶i̶o̶n̶s̶h̶i̶p̶,̶ ̶n̶o̶ ̶c̶l̶e̶a̶r̶ ̶p̶a̶s̶t̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶t̶h̶e̶ ̶C̶P̶F̶ ̶a̶n̶d̶ ̶l̶e̶s̶s̶ ̶s̶i̶g̶n̶i̶f̶i̶c̶a̶n̶c̶e̶ ̶i̶n̶ ̶r̶i̶v̶a̶l̶r̶y̶ ̶g̶a̶m̶e̶s̶.̶ one of the advantages is that while the hype of the season starting is still strong, BYU Football is playing good opponent after good opponent.
Today’s player on the countdown like the last two players (see my train of thought when I ranked these three) would have a much higher ranking if we took into account the post BYU career.
No. 54 Kalani Sitake – Fullback – 1994, 1997-2000
Fun fact, Kalani Sitake while playing for BYU had the name Fifita-Sitake on his jersey, the first name meaning “gift from heaven”.
Technically speaking we can get away with the typical format of having the three rankings written out and give him a grade on all of those, but Sitake is more of a lineman than a running back. Originally, to give some respect to Sitake I was going to rank him in the 90’s with a bunch of other players that are remembered mostly for their time after BYU but may not have otherwise been a Top 100 player..
Then I watched him play.
While Sitake didn’t put up super good numbers per say, he was a super version of Brayden El-Bakri or Tanner Balderree in every way except for perhaps Brayden’s special team hits. Kalani Sitake was a really good lead blocker opening up huge holes for the halfback to get through. This was done over and over and over again while Sitake was playing.
While he only scored one touchdown as a Cougar, Sitake had some pretty good statistics for a fullback as well totaling 536 receiving yards and 400 rushing yards with a touchdown reception. Also his 8.6 yards per reception is very high for a running back and from I was able to see, most of the time two of those yards came from him running people over as he was getting tackled.
During most of his playing time, the Cougars ran an i-formation or a three man backfield set, something that was only used when Lavell Edwards had a good fullback which also shows that the coach trusted him enough use him instead of another receiver as a decoy, the latter being the more popular option in today’s game.
To give some perspective on the impact Sitake had in blocking and opening up his teammates, while Sitake played, the Cougars had three 1,000 yard rushers which was really rare for BYU. The 20 seasons before Sitake arrived, the Cougars only had one season with a 1,000 yard rusher.
It is no wonder why since Sitake arrived as the head coach, the fullback has seemed to find it’s way back into the offense.