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PROVO — More than 1,000 players entered the transfer portal last year, and at least as many are expected this season when the NCAA opens the current transfer window Monday.
Some of those players leaving will depart from local universities like BYU, Utah and Utah State. It's part of the natural rhythm of college football in the modern era. But not all of those players hold ill will toward their departing schools.
Quite the contrary, at least for former BYU wide receiver Terence Fall, who announced his decision Sunday.
"I want to thank my coaches who played a role in my time here," Fall told the KSL.com Cougar Beat podcast. "I'm forever grateful to these guys; I've had nothing but fun at BYU. It's been an amazing experience. I've grown as a man, and I've made a lot of connections and friendships that I'll have for the rest of my life.
"This decision was made in a personal way. I have nothing against the program. But, personally, I think it's time for me to move on to something new. I had great exit meetings with coach Fesi (Sitake) and other coaches, and we left on good terms."
Fall spent three years at BYU, including playing in three games as a true freshman during the non-counting COVID-19 season of 2020 and four more as a redshirt last yer while recovering from an injury. The Paris native who moved to California at 16 years old and played one season of high school football at Aquinas High in San Bernardino, California, played in all 12 games for the Cougars in 2022 — mostly on special teams — while accumulating one catch for 19 yards against South Florida and scoring on a 25-yard jet sweep against FCS Utah Tech.
On that note, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Fall leaves with his name in the record books: he became the first European-born player in BYU football history to score a touchdown, though he credits his teammates like lead blockers Houston Heimuli and Carter Wheat for the success of that particular play in the 52-26 win over the Trailblazers.
"I didn't know about that until a couple of days after the game. ... I didn't realize it was such a unique thing," said Fall, a former rugby union player who is fluent in French, English and Spanish. "It went very fast. It wasn't really my touchdown, but the team touchdown, and Houston's touchdown. He led the whole way in blocking.
"It was a great job by everybody, even Jacob (Conover) selling the run. It was more of a team touchdown than mine."
Fall chose BYU over offers from Cal Poly, Sacramento State and a few others. But he hasn't heard from any potential transfer destinations since the portal doesn't open until Monday, Dec. 5. Certain FCS players, as well as FBS players whose coaches were fired or otherwise stepped down, could enter their names before the formal window opened for all players.
Fall wanted to be at BYU, but he also wanted to play; his decision didn't come down to name, image and likeness benefits, either. International students like Fall are forbidden from participating in NIL due to their student visa restrictions.
After playing behind receivers like Puka Nacua, Gunner Romney and Brayden Cosper, who all have been candidates to move on from BYU in recent weeks, Fall is looking for new opportunities. He also found himself behind receivers like Kody Epps, Chase Roberts, Keanu Hill, while Hobbs Nyberg, Tanner Wall, Kyson Hall, Parker Kingston, Dom Henry and Kade Moore — to say nothing of future incoming receivers like Corner Canyon star Cody Hagen and Pine View speedster Dominique Mackenzie — will also compete in that room, making playing time a scarce commodity.
"As a receiver, I think I bring a certain mentality," Fall said. "I don't let anybody dominate me on the field. I want to control every route I run on the field, and I take pride in route running.
"Wherever I end up, I hope I can showcase that."
Also among BYU's transfers is backup quarterback Jacob Conover, the former four-star recruit from Chandler, Arizona, announced his intentions Friday on social media. Similar to Fall, he said that the past three years since returning from a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and enrolled at BYU "have been some of the greatest times of my life."
"They have involved moments, memories, and relationships that will last a lifetime," Conover wrote in a post on social media. "I am so grateful for the love and support I received during my time here from my teammates, staff, and fans. I'm thankful for the opportunity I had to attend this university and pursue my athletic and academic goals. I believe everything happens for a reason and that God has a plan for everyone."
When one door closes another one opens. Thank you Cougar Nation💙 pic.twitter.com/9j7obCHJVf— Jacob Conover (@JacobConover17) December 2, 2022
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound third-year freshman returned from a church mission just weeks prior to the 2020 season and immediately reported to campus to help run the Cougars' scout team. He departs Provo after playing in just five games, completing 5-of-11 passes for 45 yards with one rush for 5 yards.
The former four-star prospect and ESPN top-300 recruit nationally chose BYU over offers from Alabama, Arizona State, Arizona, Ole Miss, Oregon State and South Carolina after a high school career that included three consecutive state titles and more than 10,000 passing yards and 102 touchdowns at Chandler High, where he was teammates with BYU receiver Gunner Romney.
On Saturday, one of Conover's developing offensive lineman announced he was entering the portal, as well. Campbell Barrington, who started or played in 15 games at tackle over the past two seasons, said he was "excited for what the future holds" in entering his name into the transfer portal. BYU linebacker Tate Romney, a first-year returned missionary freshman who played in three games in 2022, added his name to the portal Monday, according to 247Sports.
Logan Fano, the former four-star defensive line recruit from Timpview, announced Tuesday that he was entering the portal. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound freshman missed his first season with the Cougars after suffering a knee injury in spring practices.
Keenan Pili, the former three-star linebacker from Timpview who had 190 tackles and three sacks in four seasons with the Cougars, added his named to the portal as a graduate transfer Friday.
Here are the BYU players who are entering the transfer portal. Check back regularly throughout the offseason as more players make their decisions.