Trio Of BYU Linebackers Receive All-Freshman Team Recognition

Dec 12, 2019, 5:01 PM
Photos courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey...
Photos courtesy of BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey

PROVO, Utah – Remember back in the summer when the BYU linebackers were considered a “question mark” heading into the season?

Isaiah Kaufusi said it best back in fall camp during an interview on Cougar Sports Saturday (KSL Newsradio, Saturday 12-3 pm), “I’m not worried about these guys. They are going to be a strength of this team at the end of the year.”

Kaufusi was right as BYU’s linebackers were excellent this season and now they are being recognized for their play.

Redshirt freshmen Payton Wilgar, Keenan Pili, and Max Tooley were recognized by Pro Football Focus on their All-Freshman team. Pili and Tooley received Honorable Mention nods while Payton Wilgar was a first-team All-Freshman selection by PFF.

Wilgar piled up 52 tackles and had three interceptions in 2019 to earn First Team All-Freshman Team recognition from Pro Football Focus. According to PFF, Wilgar currently ranks second in overall grade (70.6) and PFF coverage grade (76.2) among the 24 off-ball freshman linebackers who have played north of 200 defensive snaps on the year.

The other first-team All-Freshman selection was a former four-star recruit, Christian Harris at Alabama. Harris was expected to produce at a high level for Alabama because of his lofty recruiting rankings. Wilgar, on the other hand, arrived at BYU in 2018 as a preferred walk-on. Wilgar entered the transfer portal last January and skipped spring football before receiving a scholarship and returning to the team.

Keenan Pili and Max Tooley were named honorable mention All-Freshman team linebackers by PFF. This season was Pili’s first after serving a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Tooley, a former three-star prospect out of Bountiful High, had 50 tackles on the season and an interception against Washington.

A freshman on offense receives some All-Freshman team love as well

Redshirt freshman Clark Barrington was named an Honorable Mention All-Freshman team selection by PFF as well. Barrington started in three games at guard in replace of an injured Tristen Hoge.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for 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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