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Five Takeaways From BYU Football Depth Chart Heading Into Texas State Game

BYU offensive lineman Chandon Herring celebrates the Cougars win over Houston on October 16th, 2020. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, Utah – No. 12 ranked BYU football team released another depth chart this week as they return home to take on the Texas State Bobcats from the Sun Belt Conference. The Cougars are 5-0 and continue to perform as one of the nation’s hottest teams in 2020.

Each week the BYU coaching staff puts out a weekly depth chart heading into each game.

There are always some slight changes every week to the depth chart in most weeks. With that said, let’s take a look at some of the takeaways I gleaned from this week’s depth chart for the first-ever meeting between BYU and Texas State.

#1 OR’s at OL

The most glaring thing that stands out on BYU’s depth chart this week is the offensive line. Each position along BYU’s offensive front has or’s next to their names. Including at left tackle, where Brady Christensen is one of the top offensive tackles in the country.

This decision comes on the heels of a game against Houston, where BYU’s offensive line struggled to create a push up front in the run game. BYU was only able to produce 78 rushing yards last week against Houston.

Center James Empey is questionable this week due to an ankle injury. But more reinforcements are on the way as Tristen Hoge returns from COVID-related pneumonia, and Keanu Saleapaga is back from injury.

Twelve players are listed within the offensive line depth chart this week; nine of them have starting experience.

#2 High grades for BYU Football starters

BYU has been receiving high grades from Pro Football Focus this season. The undefeated record for BYU is highlighted by the fact that individual players have emerged as some of the top players in their position groups throughout college football.

Zach Wilson is currently rated as the No. 2 quarterback behind only Mac Jones from Alabama. Other players ranked in the top five nationally in their position group, Dax Milne at No. 3, Tyler Allgeier at No. 5, Masen Wake at No. 3 among tight ends, James Empey is No. 3 center, and Brady Christensen is the No. 1 offensive tackle.

#3 Cinco Udo quietly stepping up

Sophomore George Udo has been an unsung hero this season. Since Chaz Ah You went out with a season-ending injury, Udo has stepped up in the No. 1 spot at BYU’s “Cinco” position. So far this season, Udo has nine tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, and two sacks.

Udo was a former wide receiver prospect in high school, a lightly recruited Ed Lamb discovery. Still, he has emerged as a fine example of Kalani Sitake’s recruiting approach is working for BYU.

#4 Linebackers are top tacklers for BYU Football

The top three players in tackles on BYU’s defense so far this season reside at linebacker. Keenan Pili and Isaiah Kaufusi are tied this season, leading BYU with 32 tackles. Behind them is fellow linebacker Payton Wilgar who now has 20 tackles.

BYU’s linebackers have been a strength of the Cougar defense that currently ranks No. 9 nationally in total defense allowing only 288 yards per game and No. 8 in Scoring Defense at 14 points per game.

#5 Number Changes

Backup wide receiver Keanu Hill is wearing No. 86 and cornerback D’Angelo Mandell is at No. 16. Mandell was out last week and didn’t make the trip to Houston. A junior defensive back, Mandell has been battling injuries this season. He’s currently listed as the backup at left cornerback behind Chris Wilcox.

Hill is the backup to Gunner Romney, who is questionable this week due to a hamstring injury. The redshirt freshman might get an opportunity this week to see more playing time. Last week, he had a third-down conversion on his one grab against Houston that went for nine yards.

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 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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