COUGAR TRACKS

Which BYU Football Player Replaces Brady Christensen At Left Tackle In 2021?

Dec 30, 2020, 1:04 PM | Updated: 2:01 pm
Eric Mateos - BYU Football...
BYU offensive line coach Eric Mateos coaching during practice on August 27th, 2020. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
(BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football offensive tackle Brady Christensen made it official that he is headed to the NFL. The decision came as no surprise because Christensen already proved everything he could in his BYU career.

Even though he was expected to leave, it’s still a massive hole that will need to be filled along the BYU offensive front. Christensen started in all 38 games the past three years for BYU at left tackle. He protected quarterback Zach Wilson’s blindside and helped catapult BYU’s offense to heights it had not experienced in the Kalani Sitake era.

Now the question becomes, who replaces Christensen? Here are the players to keep an eye on in 2021 who could contend to fill the shoes left by Christensen. BYU offensive line coach Eric Mateos has some quality options to pick from next season.

BYU football players who could replace Brady Christensen in 2021

Blake Freeland

Freeland continues to be a rising star in the BYU football program. The former quarterback and all-around athlete at Herriman High School has earned starter reps at the right tackle spot the past two seasons. In 2020, he started in eight games at right tackle, including the bowl win over UCF. He even took some tight end reps against Navy at the beginning of the season to show off his versatility.

Freeland is a likely candidate to start in 2021; which tackle spot he starts at will be the question.

Keanu Saleapaga

Saleapaga was a forgotten man in 2020 due to injuries. He ended up playing in only one game this past season. But don’t forget that he started in 11 games in 2019, with six of those starts coming at right tackle. Jeff Grimes has always been a big believer in Saleapaga’s potential along the offensive line. He’s a versatile lineman who could swing outside or hold down one of the guard spots.

Harris LaChance

Based on his frame alone, LaChance passes the eye test checking in at 6-foot-8, 310 pounds. LaChance fits the mold of what BYU seems to like in their offensive tackles, big, tall, and athletic. LaChance has seen action in the past two seasons. In the last three games of 2020, LaChance was the backup to Christensen at left tackle.

Mo Unutoa

A transfer from Utah, Unutoa was the Utes projected starting right tackle heading into spring practices in 2019. Shortly after, Unutoa transferred to BYU. In 2019, Unutoa sat out due to NCAA transfer rules. This season, Unutoa saw action in three games. Against Texas State, Unutoa took snaps at left tackle.

Campbell Barrington

Campbell Barrington returned home from his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Mexico this past summer. Barrington is the younger brother of BYU starting guard Clark Barrington, and like his older brother, he needed to put on some weight to his 6-foot-6 frame in his first year back from the mission.

Coming out of high school, Campbell was a higher-rated recruit than his brother, and Clark has become a star at guard for the Cougars. A two-sport athlete during his prep career (basketball), Barrington will be an intriguing newcomer to watch this next year.

Brayden Keim

The son of former BYU offensive lineman Mike Keim, Brayden the past two years, has been working on adding weight to his 6-foot-8 frame. At Alta High School, Keim played tight end and weighed only 220. This past season, BYU had him listed at 280. He’s a walk-on, but it’s notable the investment the staff has put into allowing him to develop at the position the past two seasons.

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 and the KSL Sports app.

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Which BYU Football Player Replaces Brady Christensen At Left Tackle In 2021?