Best BYU Football Players From All 50 States

Jul 4, 2021, 8:00 AM
BYU Football - best by state...
Ty Detmer, Jim McMahon, and Kyle Van Noy are three of the best BYU football players from their individual states.

PROVO, Utah – To celebrate the 4th of July and America, here at KSL Sports we are rolling out the best BYU football player from all 50 states.

Keep in mind, some states haven’t had anyone letter for the Cougars in their history that dates back to 1922, but everywhere else that had at least one lettermen, they are recognized.

Other states such as Utah, California, Idaho, and Nevada created tough decisions. So without further ado, here are the best BYU football players from all 50 states.

Scroll around on the embedded map below to see each player’s hometown or high school where they prepped before arriving in Provo.


Robert Parker, Running Back (1984-1986)

Hometown: Alexander City, Alabama

Parker was a member of BYU’s National Championship team in 1984.


Eathyn Manumaleuna, Defensive Line (2007, 2010-2013)

Hometown: Anchorage, Alaska

Not many athletes have called Alaska home over the years. Manumaleuna was from Anchorage before he moved to Utah to prep at Timpview High.

Manumaleuna was a starter along BYU’s defensive line in all four of his years with the Cougars.


Max Hall, Quarterback (2006-2009)

Hometown: Mesa, Arizona

The winningest quarterback in BYU football history edged out John Beck.


Caden Haws, Defensive Line (2019-PRESENT)

Hometown: Little Rock, Arkansas

Only three BYU players have hailed from the Razorback state. Two of them are on the current roster. Haws is the best of the bunch.


Robbie Bosco, Quarterback (1981-1985)

Hometown: Roseville, California

Behind Utah, California has produced the second-most players into the BYU football program. Bosco, a National Champion quarterback, tops the list.


Ryan Denney, Defensive Line (1997-2001)

Hometown: Thornton, Colorado

Name a more iconic duo than the Denney family and the state of Colorado. The pride of Thornton, Colorado, Ryan Denney was a mainstay at defensive end before becoming a second round NFL draft pick.


Steve Young, Quarterback (1980-1983)

Hometown: Greenwich, Connecticut

Who would have ever thought a ninth-string quarterback from Greenwich, Connecticut would end up having the career he did? Steve Young is one of the all-time greats in BYU history.




Brian McKenzie, Running Back (1996-1997)

Hometown: Sarasota, Florida

BYU hasn’t dipped into the Sunshine State often. There’s been some recruiting wins, but some of those guys didn’t pan out. McKenzie sure did. He arrived at BYU via the JUCO scene, then made his presence felt in one of the greatest seasons in BYU history in 1996.


Bart Oates, Offensive Line (1977, 1980-1982)

Hometown: Albany, Georgia

A BYU Hall of Farmer, Oates is one of the greatest offensive linemen in BYU history.


Lakei Heimuli, Running Back (1983-1986)

Hometown: Laie, Hawaii

The state of Hawaii has produced some great BYU players over the years, with Lakei Heimuli the best of the bunch. Everywhere you look in all-time offensive stats, Heimuli finds himself hovering around the best of the best.


Jason Buck, Defensive Line (1985-1986)

Hometown: St. Anthony, Idaho

Idaho was a tough state to pick. But ultimately, we had to go with an Outland Trophy winner in Jason Buck. From St. Anthony, Idaho, Buck later went to Ricks College and then was one of the greatest defensive lineman in BYU history.


Phil Odle, Wide Receiver (1965-1967)

Hometown: Elgin, Illinois

Odle is in the top five all-time for most receptions in a BYU career among wide receivers.


Brad Clark, Defensive Back (1986, 1989-1992)

Hometown: Peru, Indiana

Clark was a solid defensive back that became a starter in the later stages of his career.




Travis Tuiloma, Defensive Line (2010-2011, 2014-2016)

Hometown: Topeka, Kansas

When healthy, Tuiloma was a perfect fit in the interior of Bronco Mendenhall’s 3-4 defense.


Beau Hoge, Quarterback (2015-2018)

Hometown: Fort Thomas, Kentucky

Only two players have hailed from the Bluegrass State. Hoge actually started in some games at quarterback BYU’s crazy 2017 season.


Norm Dixon, Defensive Back (1986-1990)

Hometown: New Orleans, Louisiana

Dixon was a mainstay on the backend of BYU’s defenses during the heyday of the Ty Detmer years.




Marcus Whalen, Running Back (2000-2003)

Hometown: Waldorf, Maryland

When on the field, Whalen had star potential at running back.


Matt Cox, Offensive Line (1991, 1994-1997)

Hometown: Walpole, Massachusetts

A starting offensive lineman on BYU’s 14-1 team in 1996.


Justin Carlson-Maddux, Defensive Line (1999, 2002-2005)

Hometown: Monroe, Michigan

A starting defensive end in 2005, a season that saw BYU get back to a bowl game for the first time in four years.


Reed Hornung, Long Snapper (2010-2012)

Hometown: Anoka, Minnesota

The land of 10,000 lakes hasn’t produced many BYU football players. So we’re going with a long snapper. When you can’t describe any particular play from a long snapper, he did his job really well. That was Hornung.


Michael Morris, Wide Receiver (2004-2005)

Hometown: Shannon, Mississippi

Mississippi hasn’t been a recruiting hotbed for BYU. So we’re going with an often-injured Morris who was a big signing out of Itawamba JC.


Kalani Sitake, Running Back (1994, 1997-2000)

Hometown: Kirkwood, Missouri

The head coach of the Cougars turned down Iowa and Air Force to sign with BYU as a prep standout out of Kirkwood, Missouri.


Wayne Baker, Defensive Tackle (1972-1974)

Hometown: North Montana, Montana

One of only two BYU football players to come from eight-man football. Baker shined in the early years under head coach LaVell Edwards, and went on to have an NFL career with Seattle.


Rich Pearson, Wide Receiver (1994)

Hometown: Kearney, Nebraska

BYU has only had two players from the state of Nebraska. Both players were on the 1994 roster. Pearson was the only one who lettered for the entire ‘94 season.


Kyle Van Noy, Linebacker (2010-2013)

Hometown: Reno, Nevada

Quite arguably the greatest playmaking defensive player in BYU history. Would anyone complain?

New Hampshire

Andrew Fales, Linebacker (1998-2000)

Hometown: Londonderry, New Hampshire

Only one player has lettered from New Hampshire, say hello to Andrew Fales.

New Jersey

Ford Poston, Offensive Line (1998-2000)

Hometown: Newton, New Jersey

Poston was a starting offensive lineman in the final years of the LaVell Edwards era.

New Mexico

Stacy Corley, Running Back (1986-1990)

Hometown: Grants, New Mexico

Corley was a versatile running back who was a threat on the ground and in the receiving game.

New York

Mekeli Ieremia, Defensive Line (1974-1977)

Hometown: Tarrytown, New York

Ieremia holds the record for most sacks in a single season in BYU football history.

North Carolina

Michael Shelton, Defensive Back (2014-2018)

Hometown, Raleigh, North Carolina

Shelton played in 43 games during his BYU career and was a weekly regular in the starting lineup his final two seasons in Provo.

North Dakota



Eddie Stinnett, Running Back (1982-1983)

Hometown: Springfield, Ohio 

The trick play to Steve Young alone in the 1983 Holiday Bowl would put Stinnett on this list.


Justin Robinson, Cornerback (2005-2006)

Hometown: Tulsa, Oklahoma

Robinson is what you want out of a JUCO signee. Instant contributor from day one. He started in 24 games at cornerback during his two years at BYU.


Luke Staley, Running Back (1999-2001)

Hometown: Tualatin, Oregon

Would anyone argue if Luke Staley was dubbed the greatest running back in BYU football history? He won the Dock Walker Award in 2001 and has his jersey retired.


John Young, Defensive Back (1982-1983)

Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Young battled injuries, but was a solid reserve in his first season at BYU.

Rhode Island

Fred Whittingham, Defensive End (1958)

Hometown: Warwick, Rhode Island

Only one player has hailed from Rhode Island, that was Fred Whittingham, father to Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham. The late great Fred Whittingham played one year at BYU before transferring Cal Poly Obispo.

South Carolina

Terence Brown, Offensive Line (2005, 2008-2011)

Hometown: Summerville, South Carolina

Brown was a regular starter on a handful of BYU teams that produced more than 10 wins.

South Dakota

John Kormylo, Defensive Line (1977-1978)

Hometown: Rapid City, South Dakota

The only player in BYU’s history to hail from South Dakota.


Dennis Simmons, Linebacker (1992-1996)

Hometown: Memphis, Tennessee

Simmons was a key reserve at linebacker during BYU’s 14-1 season in 1996. Now he’s one of the top assistants on the Oklahoma Sooners coaching staff.


Ty Detmer, Quarterback (1988-1991)

Hometown: San Antonio, Texas

Ty friggin’ Detmer. Heisman winner. Enough said.


Jim McMahon, Quarterback (1977-1981)

Hometown: Roy, Utah

Jim McMahon rewrote the NCAA record books after his career at BYU was over in 1981. Still to this day, might be the greatest player that BYU has ever produced.




Milan Christley, Offensive Line (1957-1959)

Hometown: Salem, Virginia

Christley was Virginia’s top football player in 1955. He was a starter along the offensive line for two years at BYU.


Marc Wilson, Quarterback (1975-1979)

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

Wilson led BYU to their first undefeated regular season in 1979. Possibly one of the five greatest QBs in BYU’s QB factory.

West Virginia

Lyle Patton, Guard (1947-1948)

Hometown: Charleston, West Virginia

Only player to ever come from the Mountaineer State.


Rocky Biegel, Linebacker (1988-1991)

Biegel was a tackling machine at BYU. He racked up over 100 tackles during his senior season in 1991.


Brady Poppinga, Linebacker (2001-2004)

Poppinga was a three-time All-MWC performer and was versatile during his career, excelling from both defensive end and linebacker.

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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Best BYU Football Players From All 50 States