PROVO — BYU fullback Manase Tonga has been conspicuously absent at fall camp. Then again, the Cougars have gotten used to life without Tonga, who missed all of last season because he was academically ineligible.
Tonga, who attended Utah Valley University last year, wasn't able to participate in spring drills because he still needed to improve his grades. Tonga is awaiting results of classes he's taken over the summer to find out if he'll be eligible.
"The latest on Manase is there's a possibility for the grades to be submitted by Friday. And if you make that a deadline, chances are it won't be met," said coach Bronco Mendenhall. "That's the latest thing I've been told. I think his finals are Wednesday, then the grades take a day or two to be submitted."
Mendenhall confirmed that Tonga, who isn't listed on the team's official roster, won't be participating in practice until next week at the earliest.
BYU is holding Tonga's No. 11 jersey for him in hopes that he will return to the program. Sophomore wide receiver O'Neill Chambers wore No. 11 last season but now wears No. 4.
ANOTHER COMMITMENT: The Cougars have secured another big commitment, bringing their total commits for 2010 to 22.
Blair Tushaus, a 6-foot-2, 275-pounder from Notre Dame Prep in Scottsdale, Ariz., pledged to BYU over the weekend. He picked the Cougars over Arizona State.
Tushaus will not play in his senior season, however, due to a knee injury he suffered recently.
OPEN PRACTICES: BYU fans are invited to attend three fall camp practices that are open to the general public.
On Friday, Aug. 14, both the 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. sessions are open to the public. Practice on Tuesday, Aug. 18 (10 a.m.), is also open to the public.
The annual Cougar Kickoff event, an opportunity for fans to meet players and coaches, will take place Aug. 18 at 6 p.m.