PROVO, UTAH (ABC4 Sports) – The 23rd-ranked BYU Cougars will host 19th ranked Arizona State on Saturday nigh, and it’s going to be another chance for Cougar defensive back Isaiah Herron to make his mark.
When Keenan Ellis went down with an injury in BYU’s opening game against Arizona, Herron was called in to replace him.
Next week against Utah, Herron had a fumble recovery and two pass breakups and has solidified his spot in the lineup as the Cougars ended a 9-game losing streak to the Utes with a 26-17 victory.
“Seeing Keenan go down motivated a lot of us, made me want to play better,” said Herron. “His injury brought out the best in all of us and we’ve been rolling with it.”
The fact that Herron is still playing at BYU is remarkable. He had entered the transfer portal, looking to go to a historically black college in the south after being frustrated with the lack of diversity.
“Coming here and not really seeing that, kind of was a bit of a shock,” Herron said. “You kind of get adjusted, you learn to appreciate new settings and you learn to adapt.”
He was able to meet with the school officials, who helped convince him he could use his voice at BYU.
“I was able to have a few different meetings with the VP and the President, it was cool they talked about things I could do to help change and make the university more diverse,” Herron said. “They’ve been putting me in positions to voice my opinion and talk about things that led to me being in the portal, like I said before, it’s been a blessing and I appreciate it.”
Herron went to High School in Las Vegas, so he’s familiar with the Pac-12, and playing three straight Pac-12 teams isn’t fazing him.
“When you’re a kid seeing the Pac-12 you hear about all these schools as a child so getting an opportunity to play against them, you would think oh wow I get to play against these schools,” said Herron. “You look past the logos and the fans and you understand it’s just football, at the end of the day you go out and do your job and the result will be a result.”
The Sun Devils provide a tough challenge, with a quarterback who can run and throw, and receivers who are averaging over 10 yards per catch. How will BYU stop them?
“You’ll have to wait until Saturday to see how that pans out, I believe in our coaches and our game plan,” Herron said. “So when Saturday comes, you’ll get the front row seat to see how we’re going to play it.”