PROVO — Going into the 2018 season, BYU freshman wide receiver Gunner Romney, a four-star prospect from Chandler, Arizona, was expected to make an immediate impact on the Cougar offense.
However, he suffered a hamstring injury before fall camp began, which slowed down his progress. Then he re-aggravated it in the middle of the season, which limited his playing time again.
As BYU prepares to meet Western Michigan in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise on Dec. 21, Romney has caught 13 passes for 162 yards and two touchdowns in nine games this season.
“I wasn’t really healthy until midway through the season,” Romney said. “Then a couple of weeks ago, I re-hurt it again. I’ve been set back a little again and I’m fighting through it right now. It’s been a season where I’ve had to deal with adversity to get through.”
“He got the injury bug. There wasn’t a game this year where he was 100 percent. The times we were able to see him on the field was when he was healthy enough to play,” said wide receivers coach Fesi Sitake. “I still think he isn’t close to reaching that ceiling of what we know what he can do. This offseason is going to be huge for him, being able to get in that college strength and conditioning program. I think he’s got a real bright future.”
Romney said an LDS Church mission is not in his plans right now and he expects to return for his sophomore year next fall.
“It was definitely a new experience, especially coming off of some injuries,” Romney said of his freshman campaign. “I’ve been trying to build my way back up. I think I can grow from it the next couple of years to be able to know what I need to do to get better. I know what I need to do to be able to progress throughout my career.”
As for the bowl game, Romney's status is uncertain.
“I’m better. I’m not practicing 100 percent yet,” he said. “I’m getting there.”
“He should be able to play. He’s still nursing the same hamstring that caught him in the middle of the season. It’s a matter of him feeling ready to go,” Sitake said. “He’s been taking some team reps here and there. We’ll see. We plan on playing him. But there’s been times when we didn’t think he would play and he did and there’s been times where we thought he’d play and he didn’t.”
What is Romney expecting for his first bowl game?
“It’s going to be freezing but I’ll be ready for it. It’s my first bowl. I don’t really know what to expect,” he said. “Everybody says it’s an awesome experience. I’m just hoping to go and learn from it and get one more game experience and be able to compete and win another game.”
’TIS THE SEASON FOR TRANSFERS: On Thursday, BYU wide receiver Akile Davis announced via social media that he's transferring.
“I want to thank BYU and the coaches for the opportunity to get an education from this great university,” Davis wrote. “With that being said, I will be grad transferring. I am on the transfer portal and coaches are free to contact me. Thanks again BYU. Go Cougars.”
The junior from DeSoto, Texas, caught four passes for 47 yards this season.
Davis is the third BYU player to announce in recent days intentions of transferring, along with linebacker Christian Folau and defensive lineman Wayne Tei-Kirby.33 comments on this story
BUSY TIME OF YEAR: Not only is BYU preparing for a bowl game by practicing almost daily, but the players are also preparing for final exams. Meanwhile, coaches sometimes are missing practices because they’re out recruiting. The early signing period begins Dec. 19.
“Our bowl game is right in the middle of finals. So a lot of our guys are taking finals early, which is tough,” said quarterbacks coach Aaron Roderick. “Some of them will have to take finals at the bowl site with our academic people. It’s a tough time with that. We’re all recruiting. We have a huge recruiting weekend this weekend. We have 15 or 16 (recruits) coming in. Then the game. Winning the game is No. 1 for me. I want to win this game and I think our players do, too.”