In the “out of left field” category, it was reported on Friday night, by the BYU Beat Writer for the Salt Lake Tribune Jay Drew, that per Francis Bernard’s brother, the BYU linebacker wants to transfer to Utah. Go check out the full story by Drew for more.
Francis Bernard wants to transfer to @Utah_Football, but @BYUfootball won't let him, his brother says. https://t.co/ZZ8ut4zDy5 pic.twitter.com/DTD0datdyc— Salt Lake Tribune (@sltrib) August 19, 2017
Bernard has been, by the sounds of it, suspended due to some kind of honor code violation, but BYU doesn’t disclose those. And per the article by Drew, it sounds like not a lot has been communicated to Bernard or his family, either, which is a big issue all in itself. The school did release a statement saying that Bernard was going to use his red shirt this year due to some “personal reasons.”
If this is true, and as of now there has been nothing from Bernard himself, or any BYU coaches, there are a lot of dominos to fall. First, if he wasn’t to leave, will the school release him to transfer to Utah? That’ll be a bit of a test for Kalani Sitake, who said he’d grant a release to any player that wanted to leave. Then there are some timeline issues, like if he did want to come up here, and with classes starting, when would he be eligible? Using that red shirt for a transfer year would be really handy.
I know after moving to linebacker from full/running back, Bernard had a nice season last year, and was a headache for Utah in the rivalry game last season - including a very impressive interception. He also was suspended for the bowl game due to violating some team rules, which was never disclosed. If Bernard does find his way up to Utah, the Utes are graduating their main backers this year, so while he wouldn’t be able to add anything next year due to transfer rules, he could add to the depth of the position the year after, which is always welcome.
This is a very interesting story, and likely something that is just getting started. It’ll be interesting to see if Sitake has a statement within the next couple of days, and if Bernard comes out and says anything himself.