BYU football surprised by decision of TE Dallin Holker to transfer but just moving on
When the news broke that BYU junior tight end Dallin Holker had decided to transfer and planned on entering his name in the transfer portal in November, it certainly wasn’t what the Cougars expected.
“I think it caught most people by surprise, just with the timing of it,” BYU senior running back Lopini Katoa said after practice on Wednesday. “But he’s a brother of mine. Whatever color of jersey he is wearing in the future, I’ll support him and cheer him on.”
Holker had been a solid contributor in 2022 (nine receptions, 86 yards, one touchdown) but clearly felt like he wasn’t getting enough opportunities and that his talents might be more appreciated elsewhere.
Cougar offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick said he was “very” surprised and felt “gutted” by the news.
“I love Dallin, love coaching him and wish him the best,” Roderick said. “I really like that kid.”
When asked if the door was open for Holker to return if he wanted to, Roderick said that “would be (head coach Kalani Sitake’s) decision.”
Other players will now have to step up to take Holker’s place, although Roderick said he feels like the tight end position is in good shape.
“Isaac Rex has already been our starting tight end and he’ll keep being our starting tight end,” Roderick said. “He’s playing really good football, playing really well for us. He is not even 100% yet, so I expect him to just keep getting better.”
The option to transfer is part of the reality of college football currently and so Roderick said he believes the right thing to do is embrace it.
“I think every player should be able to go where they are happy,” Roderick said. “I’m fine with that. Whether you like it or not, you have to deal with it anyway. That’s just the way it is now. I think we have adapted well to it.”
BYU has been a program that hasn’t had a lot of players elect to leave and seek greener pastures.
“We have lost very few players in the last few years,” Rodericks said. “We’ve been a good team and we’ll keep being a good team.”
Roderick credits Sitake for creating an environment where the players want to stay.
“I think our players like playing for him,” Roderick said. “He makes football fun and he has a great perspective on football and life. It’s not for everybody obviously. But it’s also about winning. We win a lot of games here. We’ve been playing good football for a long time, which is why you are seeing us retain our players. We’ve done very well in recruiting and in the transfer portal in the last few years.”
Roderick said that his job is first and foremost to get the BYU offense ready to take the field and play at a high level. That means decisions have to be made with regards to how players are utilized.
“I’m not worried with who is happy — ever,” Roderick said. “My job is to beat Wyoming this week. We will play with whoever is available. We’ll go out there and put the best product on the field that we can.”
While that’s the reality that all teams must face, whether it be because of transfers or injuries, that doesn’t mean there aren’t strong emotions when someone leaves.
“Dallin has been a good friend and brother of ours,” Katoa said. “It’s sad to see him go. We just hope the best for him in his future career.”