Projecting BYU Football’s 2020 Offensive Depth Chart
PROVO, Utah – The BYU football team heads into 2020 looking to build off a season that saw the offense make strides in the passing game. Now the challenge this season will be to score more points as BYU finished last year 68th nationally in points per game.
Here’s a projected look at how the offensive depth might look coming up in 2020.
1. Zach Wilson
2. Jaren Hall
3. Baylor Romney
All eyes in spring ball will be on the quarterback position. Junior Zach Wilson will remain the starter but every day he will need to compete to hold off Jaren Hall and Baylor Romney from trying to work their way up the depth chart.
Wilson was 4-5 as a starter in 2019 and dipped in most statistical categories last season, but he was bothered by a thumb injury that he came back from earlier than expected and he was also recovering from a s shoulder surgery that sidelined him throughout the off-season last year. Now with a clean bill of health, Wilson has to show why he should remain BYU’s starting quarterback because Hall and Romney are more than capable of winning ball games if called upon.
1. Devonta’e Henry-Cole
2. Lopini Katoa
3. Tyler Allgeier
BYU’s running back room brings back a wealth of experience and the addition of graduate transfer Devonta’e Henry-Cole from rival Utah is a welcomed addition. Henry-Cole will not be handed the job, but he has a great chance when he arrives on campus this summer to become BYU’s No. 1 back when he faces his old team on September 3rd. After Henry-Cole the Cougars have Lopini Katoa who’s the best receiver out of the backfield and Tyler Allgeier who recently received a scholarship. A wild card to the group is Sione Finau who is recovering from an ACL injury that he suffered last November.
No. 1’s Gunner Romney, Neil Pau’u, Dax Milne
No. 2’s Kody Epps, Chris Jackson, Keanu Hill
The wide receiver room lost the most production from a season ago. BYU’s top three receivers all graduated in Micah Simon, Talon Shumway, and Aleva Hifo and now the Cougars will turn to a host of players who have no shortage of talent.
Junior Gunner Romney will need to emerge as one of BYU’s top receivers in 2020. The former four-star recruit hasn’t made the made impact that many believed he would his first two years, but now the window of opportunity is there for him to become a star.
Neil Pau’u returns after missing last season due to a suspension for a DUI. Dax Milne has been a consistent contributor in the first two years of his career and will now take on a bigger role in 2020.
1. Matt Bushman
2. Isaac Rex
Matt Bushman will be one of the best tight ends in college football for the 2020 season. There’s an argument to be made that Bushman is the best tight end returning out west next season. He’s really good and will be a focal point of BYU’s offense next fall. After Bushman, there are a lot of intriguing options including redshirt freshman Isaac Rex. Rex started to gain a lot of praise from guys like Sitake and QB Zach Wilson for his play in the final months of the season.
One week ago on KSL Sports’ Cougar Sports Saturday on KSL NewsRadio, Passing Game Coordinator Aaron Roderick said Rex has the potential to be one of the best players on this year’s team.
The tight end room doesn’t stop with Rex. Others include redshirt freshmen Carter Wheat and Bentley Hanshaw who just returned home from serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Herriman High athlete Fisher Jackson could be in the mix as well at tight end if he doesn’t end up on the offensive line.
No. 1’s Brady Christensen & Blake Freeland
No. 2’s Joe Tukuafu & Mo Unutoa
Brady Christensen returns as one of the highest-graded offensive linemen in 2020 according to Pro Football Focus. Last year, offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes said Christensen was playing at another level and could be good enough to become an NFL player in the future.
Christensen will anchor the left tackle spot but the other tackle position will have some competition. Sophomore Blake Freeland was a pleasant surprise last year stepping in after BYU started the season 2-4 and his seven starts were the first offensive line reps in a game of his entire football career. Freeland will compete with Utah transfer Mo Unutoa who sat out last year due to transfer rules and is now eligible to play. Entering spring practices last year for Utah, Unutoa was the starting right tackle on their official depth chart at the beginning of camp.
No. 1’s Keanu Saleapaga & Tristen Hoge
No. 2’s Chandon Herring & Kieffer Longson
All four of these players at offensive guard have a wealth of experience and any one of them could be the starters against Utah on September 3rd at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Despite already graduating from BYU, Hoge didn’t consider going into the transfer portal and opted to return to BYU to compete for his starting role at guard again. Health will be a top priority for Saleapaga and Hoge who have been recovering from injuries, so don’t expect a huge workload sent their way during spring ball.
1. James Empey
2. Caden Haws
Like Christensen, Empey returns as one of Pro Football Focus’ top offensive linemen returning in 2020. Offensive line coach Eric Mateos is guarding his players against reading that kind of “poison” as there is always room to improve. Empey has been a two-year starter at center after replacing Tejan Koroma who was a four-year starter for BYU.
Caden Haws signed with BYU in the class of 2016 and is heading into his redshirt freshman season. You’ve gotta love how long BYU careers take sometimes.
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.