COUGAR TRACKS

Three BYU Players To Watch Versus Utah That You Might Not Know About

Aug 28, 2019, 1:08 PM
Courtesy: BYU Athletics (BYU Photo)...
Courtesy: BYU Athletics (BYU Photo)
(BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – The BYU-Utah rivalry game over the years has produced some unlikely heroes due to their play in this big game.

Heading into Thursday’s night installment of the state’s best rivalry game, BYU will need everyone to play a full 60 minutes in order to spring the upset against the No. 14 Utah Utes.

But the Cougars will also need contributions from players that no one is currently expecting much from. Who will those guys be on Thursday?

Here’s three that you should keep an eye on.

Dax Milne, Wide Receiver

Sophomore wide receiver Dax Milne was receiving praise from the offensive coaching staff throughout the entire off-season for his improved play from a season ago.

Last year, Milne was a preferred walk-on out of Bingham High School who had 10 receptions for 69 yards and appeared in 10 games. This year, Milne is on scholarship and is expected to see a lot of time in the “SLOT” receiver position.

Milne has a strong relationship with quarterback Zach Wilson. The two have been friends since they were in elementary school competing on the same youth league sports teams together.

Keenan Pili, Middle Linebacker

There has been a lot of debate as to who will be BYU’s starting middle linebacker against the Utes. None of the four candidates laid claim to becoming the clear-cut starter out of fall camp. But one player was trending in that direction towards becoming the starter and he should see a lot of action on Thursday night.

Redshirt freshman Keenan Pili was deemed by senior outside linebacker Zayne Anderson as one of the best linebackers on the team. Toward the end of fall camp practices and scrimmages, Pili was seeing a significant number of reps with the first-team defense.

Jaren Hall, Quarterback

You’re probably thinking, a quarterback not named Zach Wilson? What impact could Jaren Hall possibly make?

Last June at Media Day, BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes was asked by KSL Sports if it was possible that there could be packages in BYU’s offense to allow both Zach Wilson and Jaren Hall to see action at the same time. Grimes said, “Yes, absolutely. Jaren is one of our best skill players on the team.”

Could we see Hall in action on Thursday night? Nobody knows right now. Hall has been battling an illness leading up to this game that could limit his availability. But if Grimes and his Cougar offense want to get the best 11 on the field at all times, Hall could potentially create mismatches.

Hall has only has played in four snaps total in his Cougar career. The son of former BYU running back, Kalin Hall, Jaren is a dual-threat athlete who is a pass-first quarterback who can also utilize his legs to run out in the open field.

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.

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