Doctors Telling BYU’s Sorensen to Sit Out
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.