10 Observations From BYU Football’s 2020 Fall Camp Roster
PROVO, Utah – A new edition of the BYU football roster is out. The start of fall camp always brings a fresh, new 110-man roster to the masses.
After taking some time to look over the roster, here are my 10 observations from BYU’s initial camp roster to kick off the 2020 season.
#1 Pair of linebackers back home
Max Tooley and Jackson Kaufusi are currently listed at linebacker on BYU’s official roster for camp., The two were listed there in the spring but they didn’t take reps in the six spring practices this past March in the front seven. Tooley took reps at free safety while Kaufusi was at running back.
Tooley, who was a Pro Football Focus Freshman All-American last season seems to be a perfect fit as an inside linebacker for BYU. Kaufusi’s athleticism was applauded by linebackers coach Ed Lamb last month during an interview on KSL Newsradio’s Cougar Sports Saturday.
Either one has the athleticism to possibly line up in some nickel as well which is an extension of the linebacker position in BYU’s defense.
#2 Scholarship player no longer on the team
BYU cornerback Dimitri Gallow was the lone scholarship player from spring practice that did not appear on the fall camp roster. Gallow was lauded a potential impact player last season after signing with the Cougars from the junior college ranks. But a late arrival midway through fall camp a season ago proved costly in Gallow’s development. He had one year of eligibility remaining in his collegiate career.
#3 New faces added to the RB room
BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said to the media on Tuesday that two wide receivers took reps on running back during day one of camp in redshirt freshmen Luc Andrada and Javelle Brown. Both players redshirted last year with Brown competing on the defensive side at cornerback. This past spring, Brown took reps at wide receiver and made a few acrobatic grabs in day one of spring ball.
Andrada has gained a legion of fans for his elite speed. The former Pueblo High quarterback in Colorado, had a decorated prep career on the gridiron and in track and field. Could his speed give lend him an opportunity to earn playing time this year?
True freshman Bruce Garrett also joined the mix and Sitake noted he liked what he saw from the Texarkana, Texas native in his first collegiate practice.
There’s always a surprise or two that pop up on a Day 1 camp roster. This year it was in the form of returned missionary Elijah Unutoa. A three-star offensive tackle from Hawaii in the class of 2019, Unutoa returned home early from his mission to Boise, Idaho for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The former Kapa’a High School star was one of the highest-rated signees to BYU’s 2019 class.
Unutoa committed to BYU after seeing the Cougars defeat his hometown Hawaii Warriors during an official visit in 2018. He joins his brother Mo Unutoa, a transfer from Utah who’s eligible this year, in a talented offensive line room.
#5 Dayan 2.0?
True freshman cornerback Micah Harper has a lot of Dayan Ghanwoloku in his game. He even has the comparable measurements checking in at 5-foo-10, 185-pounds. Losing Ghanwoloku, who’s now competing for a roster spot with the Los Angeles Rams is the type of loss that BYU will have to replace by committee. But the next Ghanwoloku could be waiting in the wings.
On Signing Day last December when life felt normal, Kalani Sitake even drew the comparison to Ghanwoloku for the Chandler, Arizona standout. Another interesting note on Harper is that he is the only player on BYU’s official roster that is listed as a cornerback. Everyone else at corner or safety falls under the “Defensive Back” title.
#6 Called to Serve
Back in February on Signing Day, BYU announced five fall additions in players who were returning home from serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Of the five, two appeared on the roster this week in tight end Ben Tuipulotu and offensive lineman Connor Pay.
The three players who were not on the roster include defensive lineman Tanner Baker and offensive linemen Campbell Barrington and Tysen Lewis. All three have returned home from missions and could be candidates to potentially greyshirt this season or enroll when school starts on August 31st.
Barrington served his mission and lost close to 70 pounds according to his brother Clark in an interview with KSL Sports last fall. 2020 could serve as an opportunity to regain some of that weight to be ready for next season.
#7 WR’s to wear the No. 7
Heralded true freshman Kody Epps arrives at BYU checking in sporting No. 7. Only three other BYU wide receivers have worn that number. Two of them had the last name Kozlowski highlighted of course by 1984 National Champion Glen Kozlowski.
If Epps is anything like the “Koz,” he’s going to have a mighty fine career at BYU. But let’s give it some time first.
Epps put up Mater Dei High School records for receiving yards (1,735), receptions (93), and touchdowns (28). He enters a BYU wide receiver room that has open competition for players to step up and make an impact.
#8 A lot of first-year players
BYU is one of the most experienced teams in college football this year, ranking 15th in Phil Steele’s College Football Preview for the 2020 season. But the Cougars still have a large number of new faces in the program that can come in and bring competitive depth.
32 players on BYU’s fall camp roster are first-year players in 2020. That includes junior college transfers Chris Jackson, Jacques Wilson, and walk-on tight end Lane Lunt.
#9 Freaks on the offensive line
BYU’s five returning starters along the offensive line all stand above 6-foot-4 and weigh over 300-pounds. The tallest is Blake Freeland checking in at an athletic 6-foot-8, 300-pounds. BYU’s heaviest returning starters in the trenches are Chandon Herring and Tristen Hoge both listed at 310-pounds.
Seeing those measurables it’s hard to not go back to Kalani Sitake’s first spring practice as head coach in 2016 where he stated he wanted “humongous linemen.” Four years later, he’s got the dictionary’s definition of humongous.
#10 Kalani’s guys
Only four BYU players on the 2020 fall camp roster played for former head coach Bronco Mendenhall. By far the fewest since Kalani Sitake took over as head coach in 2016. All four players are seniors on this year’s team. The four include projected starters in linebacker/nickel Kavika Fonua and safety Zayne Anderson. Bracken El-Bakri will be a top reserve along the defensive line and Jared Kapisi rounds out the remaining quartet of players that played under Coach Mendenhall.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.
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