Brigham Young Cougars head coach Bronco Mendenhall announced on July 20, 2012, that junior running back Joshua “Juice” Quezada had decided to transfer and would not play the 2012 season in Cougar blue. No details were given regarding why he decided to transfer or to what school he might transfer.
The announcement came as a shock to Cougar faithful. For the third consecutive season, BYU has lost a running back who was expected to heavily contribute to the run game. Harvey Unga in 2010 (withdrew from school) and Iona Pritchard in 2011 (broken leg) are the other two.
Quezada made a bold decision to come to BYU in 2010 from LaHabra, California. Attending the Y would require Juice to cut his extremely long hair to comply with the school’s honor code.
During his two and a half years since enrolling at school in January 2010, Quezada had been an honorable representative of the University and complied with the honor code.
On the first play of his career, Quezada scored a touchdown. It was a 9-yard catch from quarterback Riley Nelson against Washington in 2010. Quezada saw his workload increase as the 2010 season progressed. He finished the year with the fourth most rushing yards in BYU history by a freshman, 505, of which 461 yards came in the final eight games. His average yards per carry as a true freshman was 5.1. He broke the 100 yard mark twice in games against New Mexico (107) and UTEP (101, New Mexico Bowl). Quezada scored five touchdowns, including 3 in one game against UNLV.
Quezada had gained a strong following among fans, and the final three years of his career were highly anticipated.
An ankle injury sustained shortly before fall camp was set to start in 2011 was the first problem Quezada encountered during a turbulent sophomore season. He suited up and played in the season opener, but it was clear the first few weeks that something wasn’t right. He also started having headaches. His best game as a sophomore came against Idaho State: 11 carries, 59 yards, 1 TD.
The lowest point of the season came after a 42-7 win against New Mexico State. That same night, Quezada’s brother Joseph died from injuries suffered in a hit-and-run car accident.
When his sophomore season ended, Quezada had 298 rushing yards, over 200 yards less than a year before, and averaged just 3.5 yards per carry. However, his 298 yard total matched that of teammate Bryan Kariya, who had a similar rushing output (537) in 2010.
Despite the disappointing sophomore season, Quezada was expected to be a heavy contributor in 2011. He showed well in spring practices and showed no signs of lingering health problems.
Quezada’s two year stat totals were: 185 carries, 803 yards (4.3 YPC), 6 TD; 12 receptions, 67 yards, 1 TD. He played in all 26 games.
BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL is grateful for Quezada’s efforts and contributions the last two years. May he find happiness and success in all his future endeavors both on and off the field.