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'I can have an impact in this state': Why BYU's Isaiah Herron changed his mind about leaving Provo

By Sean Walker, KSL.com | Updated - Jun. 24, 2020 at 4:34 p.m. | Posted - Jun. 24, 2020 at 3:55 p.m.



PROVO — BYU cornerback Isaiah Herron had his name in the transfer portal last week, ready to move on from the Cougars and find a new home.

Just a few days later, he decided to come back to his former team. And the reasons may have less to do with football or playing time than you think.

The 6-foot-1, 175-pound cornerback from Las Vegas announced Wednesday that he will return to the Cougars, where he is expected to see significant playing time as a redshirt sophomore in 2020.

But he also expects to use his voice to provide needed societal change in the wake of a worldwide movement for racial equality, he announced on Instagram.

“I want to make clear that my intentions to leave were not because of BYU. This place has been nothing but great to me by providing opportunities and relationships that I’m grateful to have,” Herron wrote. “The reason I wanted to leave was due to the current climate in America in regards to racial injustice and the killing of unarmed black men and women. I felt a historically black college was the best place that I could help tackle these injustices because of the culture and locations of the schools.”

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I want to start off by saying thank you to all the Historically black colleges and universities willing to give me an opportunity after I put my name in the transfer portal. I also want to thank BYU, from the entire football staff to the president. I want to make it clear that my intentions to leave were not because of BYU. This place has been nothing but great to me by providing opportunities and relationships that I’m grateful to have. The reason I wanted to leave was due to the current climate in America in regards to racial injustice and the killing of unarmed black men and women. I felt a historically black college was the best place that I could help tackle these injustices because of the culture and locations of the schools. With a little more time to think I have made the decision to stay here at BYU. I realized I can have an impact in this state by opening eyes here and help other African Americans in Utah because of the small amount of diversity that’s here. I’m looking forward to using my opportunities here to make a positive impact.

A post shared by Isaiah Herron (@isaiah.herron) on

Herron said he received multiple opportunities from historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) since he put his name in the transfer portal. But now is not the time to leave.

His business in Provo — football aside, even — has just begun.

“With a little more time to think, I have made the decision to stay here at BYU,” he continued. “I realized I can have an impact in this state by opening eyes here and help other African Americans in Utah because of the small amount of diversity that’s here.

“I’m looking forward to using my opportunities here to make a positive impact.”

Herron started seven of 11 games at cornerback in 2019, recording 22 tackles, two tackles for loss and two pass breakups. He had a season-high five tackles in the Cougars’ 30-27 upset of then-No. 24 USC.

As a third-year sophomore, Herron will join a defensive back room that skews younger, though seniors Troy Warner and Chris Wilcox, and junior college transfer senior Dimitri Gallow will be among the group’s top leadership.

Many of those players are also using their voices to rally for change to the system. Several players, including Warner and Wilcox, were involved in filming and producing a video on BYU's social media channels standing up for the Black Lives Matter movement and calling for justice for victims of police brutality.

He’ll also have a voice in raising awareness for Black Americans in Utah — a voice that has not gone unnoticed in recent weeks. Brigham Young University recently announced an eight-member panel that will begin to identify and address racial inequality in the campus community, and the football team recently posted the aforementioned video on social media calling for an end to police brutality and improvement in racial injustice in wake of several killings of Black people around the nation like George Floyd in Minneapolis.

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