No Decision Yet on Walkenhorst Playing this Year

With a reshirt option year still available, projected starting linebacker <b>Paul Walkenhorst</b> may be sidelined this season if a nagging back injury does not respond sufficiently to treatment in the near future, according to his father <b>Greg Walkenhorst</b>.

Walkenhorst skipped most of spring practice while recovering from knee surgery following last season. He has since fully recovered, his father added.

"He didn't do spring because he was recovering from that knee surgery after the season last year. He's worked hard all summer with conditioning and being in the weight room and tweaked it a little bit lifting," Greg said.

"We are hoping; we don't know all the results and what's going to happen. We want to stay positive and hope for the best."

BYU spokesman Jeff Reynolds noted "there has been no official determination on whether or not Paul Walkenhorst will compete this season due to a back injury. To say that he will not compete this year would be premature."

He added "his condition will continue to be evaluated by team trainers and physicians. At this point, Paul is considered questionable for the season."

Walkenhorst was listed one of the country's top linebackers last year by Phil Smith's College Football Preview and was a MWC honorable mention pick. He started and played eight games at middle linebacker before he was moved back to his natural outsider linebacker slot. He was named the team's Defensive Impact Player and led all Cougars with 107 tackles, including 47 solo takedowns.

His father told several days ago his son "was looking forward to it (season) with the schedule and the depth of the defense.

"He's really worked hard and been very focused. You've got two-a-days just around the corner and they (BYU coaches and trainers) are seeing if he will be ready for it. If you miss two a days, that's pretty important."

If Walkenhorst cannot play completely healthy for most of this season, his father said there was a likelihood he would redshirt and improve his chances to play and prepare for the professional level – when he is fully recovered and playing at his normal level of excellence.

"Everybody was excited about was how that new system was going to work out and how everybody was going to fit in." Paul was talking about how they were going to use him on that strong side and use him in different schemes in blitz packages."

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