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BYU Linebacker Isaiah Kaufusi: Unique Offseason Makes You Find Ways To Become Better Player

Jun 23, 2020, 10:34 AM | Updated: Jun 27, 2020, 10:11 pm

PROVO, Utah – The Kaufusi name is synonymous with Brigham Young University. There has been a long line of outstanding Kaufusi football players throughout the history of Cougar football and Isaiah Kaufusi is no exception.

Senior linebacker Isaiah Kaufusi is hoping his senior season will catapult his name into consideration as one of the best to come through Provo.

“I definitely feel like I had a good season but there was more that I could have done,” said Kaufusi recently on Cougar Sports Saturday. “That’s been the driving factor going into this year is I know I can produce more, I know that there is more in me.”

Kaufusi was third on the team in tackles last season in 12 games played. He also added two interceptions.

Kaufusi will be one of the leaders on the defense this season. Unusual preparation has been well documented as college athletes have been creative in finding ways to stay in shape without the use of facilities in the spring.

“We’ve had to find new ways to get better,” said Kaufusi. “You can’t just go into the weight room and have a strength coach help you out. You have to find ways to become a better football player.”

Luckily for Kaufusi, he had some help from family in staying in shape over the past few months.

His cousin Bronson Kaufusi, member of the New York Jets, bought a garage gym at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and Isaiah spent considerable time working out with him, Corbin and Devin Kaufusi at the gym as well as at Timpview high school.

“We were all stuck in the same boat,” said Kaufusi. “We were all working out together which was really fun.”

Isaiah Kaufusi: Impact At BYU

It seems like yesterday when Isaiah Kaufusi was flying around making plays versus the University of Utah in 2018. One could argue he was the best defender on the field. His injury was certainly a reason BYU was unable to hold on for the win in the last matchup in Rice Eccles Stadium.

It’s hard to believe that when the season began, Kaufusi was not expected to see many snaps.

“The spring before, Coach Lamb called me into his office and said ‘Hey, you’re not ready,’” remembered Kaufusi. “That was one of the best things coach told me. Coach Lamb and Kalani are some of my favorite coaches because of their honesty. He really challenged me to get better.”

He only started six games in 2018 but finished third on the team in tackles with 50. With only one season of eligibility remaining, Kaufusi has put in the work to have this best season yet.

“Last year I think we were inconsistent all across the board,” said Kaufusi. “We have the potential to be one of the best defensives in the nation. If you’re inconsistent, it’s impossible to be ranked in the top 10 defenses in the nation.”

The Cougar defense will need to be better than it’s been if BYU wants to increase their win total from a season ago with a difficult schedule ahead.

“I want to go out with a bang,” said Kaufusi. “I want people talking about us like we are the best team that BYU has had in several years. I think that’s the collective mindset.”

Sleeper Picks

Each week on Cougar Sports Saturday until the season begins, Mitch Harper and Matt Baiamonte will be previewing position groups. Each week they select players weekly from each position group who are being slept on to make a name for themselves this season.

Matt Baiamonte sleeper pick: Sophomore Tyler Allgeier

“This may be the darkest horse you could pick because he may not even play that position, but I was really impressed with him last year. I just think he’s a prototypical linebacker who can cover sideline to sideline, he can tackle well, I would love to see him at linebacker.”

Mitch Harper sleeper pick: Drew Jensen 

“He’s kind of like Zayne Anderson. He’s a great athlete who can step into that flash linebacker role. If injuries happen and you have to turn to the depth, Drew Jensen might be second or third string. I think he will make a name for himself because he’s a great athlete.”

Listen to Cougar Sports Saturday each Saturday from Noon to 3:00 p.m. leading up to the first game for position previews and sleeper picks each and every week.

Next week the guys will breakdown the tight end group.

 

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