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Mondays With Mitch: Who Will Be Surprise Players For BYU Football In 2019?

2019 BYU Football Scrimmage 8-10A BYU Holds it's first scrimmage at Lavell Edwards Stadium Saturday, August 10, 2019. August 10, 2019 Photography by Gabriel Mayberry/BYU © BYU PHOTO 2019 All Rights Reserved photo@byu.edu (801)422-7322

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – I have to say, I’m living the life.

Since I started working with KSL Sports this past June, I’m having the time of my life.

Covering BYU at the legacy home of the Cougars, I won’t lie, it’s a great gig.  But with a great opportunity, comes great responsibility.  Working at KSL means there is a high standard of quality and accurate content.  That’s what I want to give BYU fans every day, the best coverage possible of their beloved BYU Cougars.

We have the Cougar Tracks podcast (subscribe), Cougar Sports Saturday with me and Matt Baiamonte on KSL Newsradio (subscribe), and all of the written content you can imagine on BYU here on KSLsports.com.

Now I’m introducing a weekly column that I want you the reader to be part of, it’s called Monday’s With Mitch.  A detailed look into the world of BYU athletics and it will take place every Monday morning during the football and basketball seasons.

Feel free to send me questions or comments to my Twitter, @Mitch_Harper or shoot me an e-mail: mharper@ksl.com.  I’ll get to as many questions/comments as I can each and every Monday.

I’m submitting most of the questions this week to myself to show you how this weekly “Mondays With Mitch” format is going to go.

Let’s roll!

Who will be the surprise players for BYU Football this season?

Every year it happens.  Someone that none of us are talking about emerges as a star or a significant contributor to a BYU football team.  Think back to the 2007 season.  Everyone was saying Fui Vakapuna would be the star running back for the Cougars, but it ended up being redshirt freshman Harvey Unga.  Who will it be in 2019?

A player that is suddenly emerging as a contributor for BYU this fall is wide receiver Keanu Hill.  The nephew of former Texas and NFL wide receiver Roy Williams, Hill is a big-bodied receiver at 6-4, 210 pounds that can go up and make a play.  BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes noted Hill’s play after the Cougars first fall camp scrimmage this past Saturday.

Another name to keep an eye on is Harris LaChance.  The redshirt freshman projects to be the leader to win the starting right tackle spot.  He has moments where he is dominant but also shows signs of being a freshman.  He has the potential to be a Freshman All-American like Brady Christensen and James Empey were a season ago.

On the defensive side, keep an eye on Kavika Fonua.  Fonua has seen a lot of time with the first-string defense at mike linebacker so far in camp.  He’s currently competing with Payton Wilgar for the starting role.  Fonua offered to coaches to move from running back to linebacker so he could see playing time this fall.  In 2016, Fonua had 24 tackles as an outside linebacker for the Cougars.  The defensive side of the ball is where his football instincts are at their best.

How can you watch BYU Football if you’re a cord-cutter?

Shoutout to KSL Newsradio’s Dan Bomas for this question.  He was asking me and Cougar Sports Saturday host, Matt Baiamonte, this question and I figured I would look further into this.  First things first though, if you do decide to become a cord-cutter, or are currently one, make sure you have an antenna that picks up KSL 5 TV.

All of BYU’s home games except one will be on an ESPN network (ESPN, ABC, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPNEWS, ESPN3).  So the ESPN networks are a must in any cord-cutting service that you choose.

The other channels BYU will be playing on in 2019 include BYUtv, NESN/Eleven Sports, and CBS Sports Network.  Two games on BYU’s schedule, road games at Toledo and USF do not have TV info announced yet.  Toledo and USF are part of the MAC and AAC respectively, both of those leagues have contracts with ESPN and sublicensing deals with CBS Sports Network.

So outside of ESPN networks, you need BYUtv, NESN/Eleven Sports (UMass), and CBS Sports Network.  Then you’ll have your BYU football needs covered as a cord-cutter.

The only cord-cutting package that offers all of these channels is from PlayStation Vue.  If you purchase the PS Vue Core package for $55/month, you’ll receive everything but the NESN/Eleven Sports.  But, PS Vue does offer a “Sports add-on” package for $10/month.  So when the Cougars travel to Amherst to play their final game of a four-game series against the Minutemen, you can add the $10 add-on to your PS Vue service.

The downside to PS Vue is that the DVR capacity only allows you to store shows and programming for 28 days.

To me, the best cord-cutting package for BYU football -and college football in general- is Hulu Live TV.  Hulu Live TV costs only $45 per month and you get all of the ESPN networks plus ESPN GoalLine (ESPN’s version of NFL RedZone) and ESPN College Extra plus the new ACC Network.

Another option is YouTube TV which is $50 per month and offers everything that Hulu Live TV offers except GoalLine and College Extra.  The big perk with YouTube TV is unlimited DVR storage.

Stat of the Week

Stat of the week on this first installment of Mondays With Mitch is 416.  That’s the number of wins BYU football has compiled in the last 50 years of college football.  Those 416 wins put BYU 10th all-time in wins over the last 50 years of the sport.  The top 10 includes.

1. Nebraska – 472

2. Oklahoma – 467

3. Ohio State – 466

4. Alabama – 448

5. Penn State – 446

6. Michigan – 444

7. Georgia – 427

8. Florida State – 426

9. Texas – 419

10. BYU – 416

Video of the Week

Hey, I’m pivoting to video in this column.  My video of the week selection will highlight something that caught my eye online over the past week.  One of the programs that were surprisingly not on the top 10 wins list over the last 50 seasons was Notre Dame.  One of BYU’s 416 wins came against the Irish 25 years ago in South Bend during the 1994 season.  It’s one of the best road wins in BYU football history.  Also, how great was Doug Miller back in the day?

Send in your questions and comments to my Twitter: @Mitch_Harper or e-mail me at mharper@ksl.com

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.