COUGAR TRACKS

Ten BYU Football Players To Watch This Season

Aug 27, 2019, 10:24 AM | Updated: Aug 29, 2019, 9:28 am
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER 24: Khyiris Tonga #95 of the Brigham Young Cougars celebrates after h...
SALT LAKE CITY, UT - NOVEMBER 24: Khyiris Tonga #95 of the Brigham Young Cougars celebrates after his blocked field goal against the Utah Utes in the first half of a game at Rice-Eccles Stadium on November 24, 2018 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The KSL Sports team voted on who they believed were the top 10 BYU football players entering the 2019 season.

KSL Sports consists of our TV anchors Jeremiah Jensen and Sam Farnsworth, TV producers, radio hosts Alex Kirry, Scott Mitchell, Mitch Harper, Matt Baiamonte, along with the digital sports staff.

For the past 10 weeks on Cougar Sports Saturday (KSL Newsradio, 12-3pm), Mitch Harper and Matt Baiamonte unveiled one player on the top 10 list each week leading up to kickoff against the Utah Utes.

Here are the top 10 BYU football players as voted on by the KSL Sports staff.

10. Zac Dawe, Defensive End

Dawe moves from the interior of the defensive line to now a defensive end spot. The former Pleasant Grove High star lost 35 points and is now weighing 270 entering the season.

9. Lopini Katoa, Running Back

It should be noted, this list was voted on back in June. At the time, Katoa projected to be the starting running back for the Cougars. Katoa is now the backup running back behind Ty’Son Williams. Speaks to Williams abilities that he was able to come in and win the starting job over Katoa who showed very well as a touchdown machine before going down with an injury.

8. Tristen Hoge, Offensive Line

The most versatile lineman on BYU’s talented offensive line. Hoge, a former Notre Dame transfer can play any one of the five positions along the line. He will settle in at right guard to open the season.

7. Dayan Ghanwoloku, Cornerback

Ghanwoloku is back to the position he loves, cornerback. He’s a swing defensive back, however. If BYU’s defense needs Ghanwoloku at cornerback, safety, or nickel, he can do it all.

6, Isaiah Kaufusi, Linebacker

Kaufusi was the most improved player in the BYU football program last season. He made a name for himself in the Utah game last year before going down with an injury. He has sideline to sideline athleticism and can be physical in the box against tight ends.

5. James Empey, Center

Empey was one of the highest-graded centers in college football last season. A master technician, Empey was excellent in replacing Tejan Koroma at center last season. He projects to be even better in 2019 and beyond along the Cougar offensive line.

4. Khyiris Tonga, Nose Guard

Tonga makes a legitimate case to be BYU’s best player in 2019 but he needs to be consistent and become a dominant pass rusher in the interior of the defensive line or the edge in a 3-4 alignment.  With a big season this fall, Tonga is a likely candidate to potentially declare for the NFL Draft a year early.

3. Zayne Anderson, Linebacker

Last season was Anderson’s first season at linebacker moving down into the box from safety. The former Stansbury Park native grew up a Ute fan but is loving his time at BYU and now he enters his senior season as a leader of the Cougar defense.

2. Matt Bushman, Tight End

Bushman enters his junior season as one of the top tight ends in college football and BYU’s most proven receiving target in the Cougar offense. Last season, Bushman led all tight ends nationally with 17 yards per reception. He’s a big-play receiver and explosive plays are one of the areas BYU is looking to improve on offensively in 2019. Strong likelihood Bushman factors into that production this fall.

1. Zach Wilson, Quarterback

The number one player on KSL Sports top 10 BYU football players for the 2019 season is sophomore quarterback Zach Wilson. Wilson would tell you that he hasn’t proven anything yet as a quarterback at BYU, but he has all the signs of being a really good quarterback for the Cougars. If BYU has any chance of “shocking the world” which is one of their themes in 2019, they will need Wilson to be the program’s best player this fall.

Now that he’s 100-percent recovered from the shoulder surgery he had earlier in the year, BYU’s offense looks poised to make significant progress with Wilson as the lead signal-caller.

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