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BYU’s Offensive Line Was One Of College Football’s Best

Jan 6, 2020, 5:25 PM | Updated: 5:25 pm
BYU offensive lineman Brady Christensen (67) pushes running back Ty'Son Williams (5) over the goal ...
BYU offensive lineman Brady Christensen (67) pushes running back Ty'Son Williams (5) over the goal line for a touchdown during second-half action in the Utah-BYU football game at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)
(Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – When Kalani Sitake took over as BYU’s head coach in 2016, one of Sitake’s goals was to have a talented and humongous offensive line. He’s got that now in his program with BYU’s offensive line being ranked among the best this past season.

Pro Football Focus ranked and graded out all 130 offensive line units in college football and BYU’s graded out as the 12th best in the country by PFF’s grading system. BYU’s highest-graded offensive lineman according to PFF was sophomore left tackle Brady Christensen. Christensen had a rating of 86.9 for his play in 2019.

“He is really coming into his own and in my opinion as one of the best players not only on our team but maybe in the country. It’s too early to say that, maybe, but he’s playing at a different level than other players,” offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes said about Christensen during the season.

Being graded out as the 12th best offensive line is impressive when you consider BYU had many of their starters and top reserves miss games due to injury.

First-year offensive line coach Eric Mateos had to navigate injuries with Keanu Saleapaga, Tristen Hoge, Kieffer Longson, and Thomas Shoaf. All four missed an extended period of time due to injuries.

Each one of BYU’s five starters returns for the 2020 season. Christensen, center James Empey, left guard Chandon Herring, right guard Keanu Saleapaga, and right tackle Blake Freeland. Freeland started in the final seven games of the season at tackle and has endless upside according to coaches in the program. Kieffer Longson and Clark Barrington, who also have experience as starters, return next year as well as BYU looks to improve from a 7-6 record in 2019.

Pro Football Focus’ Offensive Line unit grades

#1 Oregon

#2 Georgia

#3 Alabama

#4 Ohio State

#5 Kentucky

#6 Iowa

#7 Clemson

#8 Wisconsin

#9 Louisiana

#10 Washington

#11 Illinois

#12 BYU

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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BYU’s Offensive Line Was One Of College Football’s Best