Home » BYU Football Articles, Featured, Headline

Doctors Telling BYU’s Sorensen to Sit Out

7 August 2012 Brett Richins 16 Comments

BYU placekicker Justin Sorensen (BYU photo).

BYU placekicker Justin Sorensen can’t seem to catch a break.

After fighting through injuries in his first two seasons as a Cougar, Sorensen could be faced with needing to redshirt this season following back surgery this winter.

Deep Shades of Blue has learned that Sorensen has been told by his doctors that he is still three months out from a return to full health, and at least one BYU team physician has recommended to Justin that he sit out the 2012 season, redshirt and get fully healed.

That would mean that BYU would be forced to hand over kicking duties to punter Riley Stephenson.

The senior from St. George, Utah handled kickoffs for the team in 2009 and 2010 while Sorensen was serving his mission in Macon, Georgia. Of Stephenson’s 129 career kickoffs, 35 have been touchbacks while four have sailed out of bounds.

Riley has never attempted an extra point or a field goal at the collegiate level however. During his junior and senior years of high school he hit 13 of 16 field goal attempts and made 134 of his 141 PATs. In practice on Monday he connected on two of three field goal attempts, hitting from 37 and 42 yards out and missing from 39.

As a punter Stephenson has been inconsistent throughout his career, but came on strong late in the season last year. In the Armed Forces Bowl against Tulsa, he placed seven of his eight punts inside the 20-yard line.

As far as Sorensen is concerned, he must feel snake bitten.

He came to BYU out of Bingham High School in South Jordan, Utah with as many accolades as a kicker could possible have, having kicked numerous 50 and even 60-yard field goals. He set the Utah state prep record with a 62-yard field goal and was named a 2007 Parade All-American and the first kicker to ever be tabbed as the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year. His kickoffs were things of legend, routinely sailing through the endzone and sometimes through the goal posts.

However, prior to his freshman season at BYU in 2008, Sorensen suffered a right quadriceps injury that hampered his performance as the Cougars’ primary kickoff specialist. Of his 79 kickoffs, 32 ended up being touchbacks, a far cry from expectations.

Then, while serving his mission, he was bitten by a brown recluse spider. The medication he was taking for the bite caused him to be wo0sey, to lose his balance and fall off of porch, badly injuring his ankle that required reconstructive surgery and a stint back home in Utah while he recovered.

After returning home from his mission in 2011, Justin, an accomplished weight lifter in high school, injured his back while lifting weights and fought through severe pain throughout the season. He ended up making just 15 of 25 field goal attempts and had just 17 touchbacks. In the offseason it was determined that it would require surgery to fix a bone spur in his spine.

Not having a healthy Sorensen on the field this year could mean the difference in some tough road games this season. If he is unable to go, the Cougars may find themselves relying on Stephenson with the game on the line. That’s something many BYU fans may not want to think about.








Welcome to the Deep Shades of Blue Community!


  • seasider said:

    The other punter on the team is Scott Arrelano. I think with practice Riley Stephenson can do the kicking and be fine but if Sorenson really is out then it might be a good idea to hold some placekicker tryouts.

  • Brian said:

    I’m sure they could get some rugby players who could kick the crap out of the ball. Not to metion if any of them are blocked, I’d hate to be the one who blocked the kick from the rugby player!

  • KentuckyCougar said:

    @seasider – I couldn’t agree more. We may need to see who else can play.

    Brett – I thought I heard we had a soccer player or two who were converting over for kicking? Can you confirm?

  • Jared (the original) said:

    Some years ago my nephew who was supposedly a good soccer player tried out for kicking duties at the Y. He told me he and a friend from his team in texas both tried out. He said they outkicked almost everyone, including the scholarship players. Still didn’t make the team. (His friend out kicked him in the tryouts) There needs to be some serious consideration if our football minds are prejudiced against soccer players in favor of football players just because their backgrounds are from the right sport. Good kickers are valuable. Soccer players are mostly good kickers. Let’s go BYU. Get em while you can.

  • BigCougar said:

    Poor Justin…he seems snakebitten (or should I say, spider-bitten?).

    Get well Justin!

  • Blue Cougar Football said:

    Nice work Brett.

    Redshirting is the right way to go.

    As I tweeted August 6

    I am all for Sorensen redshirting this year if he isn’t 100% healthy and ready. Better to have 2 great years.


    Besides, what is the drop off from JS to RS and JS to sub-100% JS?

    No need to waste a year for the sake of being a “tough guy.” BYU needs to get out of Sorensen what they wanted when they recruited him, and that necessitates a redshirt.

    As long as Riley Stephenson can do better than 15 of 25 on field goals he will be an upgrade. Since he kicked in High School, I think with practice he will be fine.

    Take the pressue off of Sorensen. Let him heal normally w/o being rushed to return.

  • Neal said:

    @ Jared – There’s already proof that they are not prejudiced against players from other sports, as they asked one of the Rugby players to come try out as an RB, and he did. Laiske is on the team, and he has never played football. It should be interesting. I’m sure that your report from your nephew was a bit….biased. If a kid tries out, and he can help the team win, then he’ll be on the team.

  • FL Cosmo said:

    Say a female soccer player walks on to the team. Could BYU be the only place that would work, or not even BYU?

  • Seasider said:

    Bronco in his latest interview seems optimistic Sorenson will still be able to play this season. Not considering redshirting him at this point.

  • Eastsider said:

    Mendenhall can be a bonehead sometimes. This may be one of them.
    Kicking positions get overlooked. It may make the difference this season.

  • IDCougar said:

    Taysom Hill was a terrific kicker in High School. With a playoff game on the line, he kicked a 52 yard field goal and won the game.

  • Walt Hanssen said:

    No one can be as good as Sorensen when he is healthy. Why doesn’t his family take him to LA or the Mayo Clinic or wherever they have the best back specialists?

  • Brett Richins (author) said:


    I’ve been told that he has wanted to go see Craig Beuhler, the former chiropractor for John Stockton, but that BYU has not been cooperative.

  • Rev S.B. Western DD. PhD. said:

    Gee will- ick-kers, maybe we should have picked up a JC kicker as insurance? The Penn State kicker wasn’t too bad maybe Bronco should have looked at the guy, before he went on to Texas. When Tayson Hill is the possible new kicker, as great as he is at QB I don’t think he’s better than an average high school kicker. It’s panic time, comb through the student body, out of 14,000 men there has to be a decent soccer player with a good foot. Think back to last year and how the inconsistency hurt or years when we didn’t have any talent in the spot, it can be rugged when you’re helpless outside the 25 yard line, it’s score a TD or don’t score at all.

  • walt hanssen said:

    Rev S.B. Western DD. PhD even though we haven’t seen Justin kicking yet since Brett wrote this article Coach has said every time he has been asked that Sorensen is going to play so evidently he is not worried about him.

  • Walt Hanssen said:

    I did hear that he had an injection on Friday, I think, so Coach is counting on him come hell or high water.

Leave your response!

Add your comment below, or trackback from your own site. You can also subscribe to these comments via RSS.

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

You can use these tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

This is a Gravatar-enabled weblog. To get your own globally-recognized-avatar, please register at Gravatar.

+ four = 13