First Look At Top BYU Football Prospects For 2022 NFL Draft

May 3, 2021, 2:15 PM | Updated: 2:21 pm
Isaac Rex - BYU Football...
BYU Football tight end Isaac Rex against UCF in the 2020 Boca Raton Bowl. (Courtesy of Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo)
(Courtesy of Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football produced five picks in the 2021 NFL draft, including the No. 2 overall pick in Zach Wilson, but what’s next for the 2022 NFL draft? Head coach Kalani Sitake is excited about the future of his program and their pro potential.

“It’s not like the cupboards are bare right now. We have a lot of players who can play; they just haven’t had their opportunity,” said Kalani Sitake to KSL Sports in February. “So we have a lot of people that are willing to work and get their shot. My job as a head coach is to help these young men see the potential they have.

“A lot of them don’t recognize how awesome they are going to be in life. And if that includes the NFL, great. Because I think the league needs more of our guys there. For me, it’s to see the potential that they probably don’t see in themselves and help them get there.”

Top draft-eligible BYU football prospects for 2022 NFL Draft

Who are those guys with NFL potential? Here are 10 draft-eligible players from the BYU football program that you should keep an eye on for the 2022 NFL draft and beyond. All 10 of these players are underclassmen with the 2020 season acting as a free year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. So many of these guys could be prospects for 2023 or even 2024.

Listed alphabetically

* = denotes underclassman

Chaz Ah You, Safety*

A former four-star recruit, Ah You had some of the nation’s premier programs pursuing him before signing with BYU. Injuries have plagued Ah You’s career thus far, but he’s expected to be one of the top players on the backend of BYU’s defense in 2021.


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A post shared by Chaz Ah You (@chazyboy)

He started in one game in 2020 against Navy before opting to have surgery on a lower leg injury.

Ah You is a versatile athlete who’s played linebacker, safety, and even dabbled in some cornerback during the 2019 season in BYU’s multiple defensive scheme.

Tyler Allgeier, Running Back*

The running back position continues to be devalued in the NFL. But there’s always going to be a market for a productive running back. Allgeier racked up 1,130 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns in 2020. A former preferred walk-on, Allgeier dabbled on offense to begin his BYU career, then switched to linebacker, where he was successful.


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He’s only a sophomore entering the 2021 season due to last year’s COVID-19 free season. A year or two of 1,000-yard seasons could continue to elevate his draft stock.

Clark Barrington, Guard*

A top 20 guard according to Pro Football Focus grades. Barrington comes in at 6-foot-6, 302-pounds. He started in 10 games last season at guard before suffering an injury that caused him to miss the last two games of the 2020 season.

Barrington needs to continue improving in pass blocking but is nasty in the wide zone run blocking schemes BYU incorporates into their scheme.

James Empey, Center*

Could have declared for the 2021 NFL Draft and likely would have been a mid-round pick. Returns to anchor the center position for another year. Empey has the potential to be BYU’s greatest center of all time. A three-year starter who is ready to continue to elevate his play to move up draft boards.


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Blake Freeland, Tackle*

The NFL loves freaks and guys that have endless upside. Freeland fits both. A 6-foot-8, 300-pound offensive tackle who likely takes over the left tackle spot to replace third-round draft pick, Brady Christensen. Freeland was a former quarterback in high school, a three-star “Athlete” recruit coming out of Herriman High School. He has two years of starter experience under his belt at right tackle.


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Before BYU, he never played in a game at offensive line.

Puka Nacua, Wide Receiver*

Transferring from Washington to BYU, Puka Nacua was a four-star recruit out of Orem High School. Nacua had the entire west coast recruiting him as he was once a USC commit. He ended up playing his first two years at Washington, where he showed flashes of his big-play potential.


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A post shared by Puka Nacua (@pukaizded)

If Nacua can stay healthy, he has the makings to be a star at BYU. One of the quality attributes of Nacua is the work ethic. He loves to compete against anyone in a one-on-one setting. The stage isn’t too big for BYU’s newest receiver.

Jake Oldroyd, Kicker*

It’s hard for kickers to get draftable grades, but Oldroyd showed in 2020 he was one of the nation’s top kickers. Oldroyd was a Lou Groza semifinalist hitting all 13 of his field goal attempts, including a 54-yarder. Along with field goal kicking, Oldroyd handles kickoffs and has shown an ability to punt.


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Keenan Pili, Linebacker*

One of the top players in the BYU program in tackles in 2020 always finishes a play. Good athlete at his size, 6-foot-3, 233-pounds.

Isaac Rex, Tight End*

Rex has the potential to experience a Zach Wilson-like rise up NFL draft boards during his BYU career. Going into 2021, he is technically only a redshirt freshman still despite coming off a 2020 season where he was tied with Kyle Pitts for most receiving TDs by a tight end with 12. After one year of full-time starter experience, he was a favorite target of Zach Wilson’s in 2020 in the red zone. Good blocking tight end who has a big catch radius.


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A post shared by Isaac Rex (@isaacrexx)

Payton Wilgar, Linebacker*

Wilgar shows great instincts on the field and has the ability to drop back into pass coverage. He has shown a knack to elevate his game (2019 Tennessee, 2020 Coastal Carolina).


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A post shared by Payton Wilgar (@paytonwilgar)

Other BYU football players considered: Samson Nacua (WR),  Gunner Romney (WR), Max Tooley (LB).

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for 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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