Patrick Kinahan: Selfless or selfish, Holker's defection from BYU reflects reality

BYU's Dallin Holker runs the ball during practice in Provo on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021.

BYU's Dallin Holker runs the ball during practice in Provo on Thursday, Aug. 5, 2021. (Laura Seitz, Deseret News)



Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

PROVO β€” Forget about all the rah-rah, team-first philosophy college football coaches constantly preach to their players.

In simple terms, BYU tight end Dallin Holker this week bolted three games into the season in search of a bigger role to showcase his skills for a future NFL career. Apparently sacrificing for the good of the team, as we expect athletes to do, wasn't for him.

His father said as much in an interview with the Deseret News. His son will transfer to "somewhere that will utilize their ends and allow him to get on the field and help his team."

Granted, Holker's decision to leave after three games is a bad look. But he also has pertinent reasons, likely among them the rule that allows players to appear in up to four games in a season without burning a year of eligibility.

If Holker and his father believe a transfer enhances his NFL prospects, good for them. It's easy to stargaze when they see tight end Brant Kuithe pile up massive numbers at rival Utah (hint, hint).

And, oh by the way, Kuithe is a senior with an excellent chance to make an NFL roster next season. Same goes for backup Dalton Kincaid.

No doubt that losing the athletic Holker, who was listed as a backup to starter Isaac Rex, is a blow to BYU's offense. But the coaches are thinking along the lines of addition by subtraction.

Overall, borrowing from the classic chicken-and-egg argument, which comes first: helping the team or helping yourself? Because Holker has played in each BYU game this season, even catching a touchdown pass against South Florida, it's easy to surmise personal statistics rank above winning.

Selfless or selfish? Depends on the opinion.

Hours after multiple outlets confirmed the story, BYU tight end/fullback Masen Wake tweeted out "Ride or die with these dudes" above a picture that included himself and three other tight ends. Holker was not in the photograph.

Former BYU defensive back Derwin Gray, who keeps a close association with BYU, tweeted "Selfishness or TEAM. Being apart of something bigger than you means that I must sacrifice my personal goals for the teams goals." It included the saying "Together Everyone Achieves More" with the first letter of each word spelling out team.

Former BYU quarterback and Major League pitcher Ryan Hancock tweeted, in part, "from my personal experience, the grass is not always greener."

Clearly, for some, Holker broke the code β€” you know, the part about no 'I' in team.

But take a step back and examine the current state of college football. For that matter, extend it to all of college sports in general.

Players across virtually in every sport in men's and women's athletics around the country are transferring at unprecedented rates, thanks to the relatively new rules that allow immediate eligibility. Playing time or an athlete's role on a given team often has no factor.

Does the same ride or die attitude extend only to players transferring out of a program? Like many teams, BYU has multiple players listed on the two-deep depth chart who saw plenty of time with their prior teams.

Let's face it, players hop-scotch rosters for any and every reason with little regard for team loyalty. Selective outrage rings hollow in these cases.

BYU fans love to revel in the lore of Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young, who was buried on the depth chart and was ready to quit the team. Good on him for sticking it out, climbing all the way from something like eighth string to become the starter.

At the same time, Max Hall and Taysom Hill fit in well as starting quarterbacks after transferring from other programs. As with Holker, both had their individual reasons.

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Patrick is a radio host for 97.5/1280 The Zone and the Zone Sports Network. He, along with David James, are on the air Monday-Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m.

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