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Khyiris Tonga Signs With Agent, Closes Out Ride With BYU Football

Dec 30, 2020, 11:53 PM | Updated: Dec 31, 2020, 10:00 pm
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BYU football defensive lineman Khyiris Tonga makes a play against Coastal Carolina (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
(BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, Utah – When BYU football nose tackle Khyiris Tonga arrived on the Provo campus in 2017, there was buzz that he could be a future NFL nose tackle. Fast forward to 2020; Tonga will have his opportunity to become an NFL player.

The 6-foot-4, 321-pound Tonga signed with agent David Canter and DEC Management on Wednesday, closing out his career officially with BYU football. An opportunity was out there for Tonga to return to BYU if he desired because of the NCAA’s blanket waiver for eligibility due to the novel Coronavirus pandemic. Now that door is shut, and Tonga is off to the NFL.

“Such a fun ride, grateful for everything that’s happened. This team was awesome. That’s how you go out with a win; love you guys,” said Khyiris Tonga after BYU’s win over UCF in the Boca Raton Bowl.

The client list of David Canter’s includes former Utah Ute and NFL great Eric Weddle. Other locals represented by DEC Management include Cody Barton, Bradlee Anae, Matt Gay, and John Penisini.

Khyiris Tonga during his senior year at BYU

Tonga turned down the NFL last year to return to BYU for one more year. The move has the potential to pay off with an improved draft position as Tonga showed how dominant of a force he can be as a nose tackle.

In 11 games played during the 2020 season, Tonga had 36 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, three quarterback hurries, five pass breakups, and one forced fumble.

“I’ve been having more fun and being able to play,” Tonga said in November when asked about the growth he’s made as a player. “It’s been way different when you’re playing with guys who are bought in and are willing to be coachable … The biggest improvement is being able to have fun and enjoy it.”

Tonga, who was once a tight end at Granger High School, has a long history with BYU head coach Kalani Sitake and defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki. The two offered Tonga when they were working at the University of Utah. Tonga then switched his commitment while on his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Kansas to BYU when Sitake and Tuiaki moved south to coach the Cougars.

During his career at BYU, the Cougars played many three-down fronts with Tonga as the nose tackle. Tonga also took snaps on punt team coverage and other special team units along with the defensive line.

In four seasons with the BYU football program, Tonga started in 32 games at nose tackle.

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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