Which BYU Football Seniors Are Returning For Extra 2021 Season?

Jan 19, 2021, 2:45 PM
BYU Football - Uriah Leiataua...
BYU football defensive lineman Uriah Leiataua after the Cougars defeated Tennessee in 2019. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
(BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, Utah – The BYU football program experienced an 11-win season in 2020. It was the most wins the program has put together since 2009, and they finished with the highest final ranking since 1996.

It was the perfect way to end a collegiate career for many seniors. But if they wanted another chance to run it back for another go in 2021, they had that opportunity in front of them as the NCAA granted a blanket waiver for the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Only one BYU senior from the 2020 season has announced he is returning for the 2021 campaign. That’s defensive lineman Uriah Leiataua. The majority of the other BYU football seniors are moving on to pursue a career in the NFL.

Here’s a full list of the decisions as of now from the 2020 BYU football senior class.

BYU Football senior decisions list

Zayne Anderson – Declared for 2021 NFL Draft

Anderson signed with DEC Management, the same agency that represents former Utah and NFL great Eric Weddle.


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A post shared by Zayne Anderson (@zayneanderson)

Matt Bushman – Declared for 2021 NFL Draft

Bushman participated in the NFLPA virtual event last week and has now launched a nonprofit to help provide kids with sports opportunities.


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A post shared by MATT BUSHMAN (@mattbushman)

Zac Dawe – Declared for 2021 NFL Draft

Dawe accepted an invitation to The College Gridiron Showcase game. He is not returning in 2021.


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A post shared by Zac Dawe (@zdawe99)

Bracken El-Bakri – Declared for 2021 NFL Draft

El-Bakri accepted an invitation to play in the FBS All Americans Tropical Bowl played in Orlando. The former BYU defensive lineman played on the National team that defeated the American squad, 20-17. Scouts from 30 NFL and CFL teams were in attendance.


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A post shared by Tropical Bowl (@tropicalbowlusa)

Kavika Fonua – Expected to pursue NFL career

The former linebacker/safety/running back at BYU is currently preparing for Pro Day and promoting sponsored content on his social media channels. He’s expected to move on.

Kyle Griffitts – Accepted student position on BYU football staff

Griffitts, a former walk-on fullback/tight end, will begin his coaching career at BYU this fall. He accepted a position as a student assistant for next season.

Chandon Herring – Declared for 2021 NFL Draft

Once dubbed a “Freak” by Bruce Feldman, Herring signed with an agent and is currently preparing for a career in the NFL.

Tristen Hoge – Declared for 2021 NFL Draft

A three-year starter at offensive guard, Hoge declared for the NFL Draft and accepted an invitation to play in the 2021 Hula Bowl.


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A post shared by Tristen Hoge (@t_hoge_69)

Jared Kapisi – No public announcement

Kapisi worked his way from walk-on kicker to backup safety over the course of his BYU career.

Isaiah Kaufusi – Declared for 2021 NFL Draft

Kaufusi participated in last week’s NFLPA virtual event. The leading tackler for BYU in 2020, Kaufusi started three seasons for the Cougars at linebacker.

Uriah Leiataua – Returning to BYU in 2021

Leiataua is the lone carryover from the 2020 senior class taking advantage of the NCAA blanket waiver that grants an extra year of eligibility. A member of the 2014 signing class, Leiataua graduated from BYU in the class of 2020. He was expected to be one of the top defensive ends in 2020 before suffering an injury in fall camp that limited his availability during the season.

Kieffer Longson – Moving on from BYU

Longson wrote on his personal Instagram a post that thanked BYU for his time there and said he was “onto the next chapter” in his life.

Khyiris Tonga – Declared for 2021 NFL Draft

Tonga is headed to the NFL. He signed with DEC Management, participated in the NFLPA event last week, and plans to play in the Hula Bowl later this month.

Jeddy Tuiloma – No public announcement

Walk-on defensive lineman Jeddy Tuiloma appeared in one game during the 2020 season. No public announcement has been made on Tuiloma.

Troy Warner – Declared for 2021 NFL Draft

Warner signed with Athletes First, the same agency his older brother Fred Warner is with. The younger Warner will also pursue an NFL career. A four-year starter, Warner, is coming off his best season with the Cougars at safety.

Chris Wilcox – Declared for 2021 NFL Draft

Like Warner, Wilcox signed with Athletes First and is currently training in Southern California in preparation for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for 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 Seniors Are Returning For Extra 2021 Season?