Who’s The Next Dax Milne? Five BYU Football Walk-Ons To Watch

Jul 14, 2021, 3:48 PM
BYU - LaVell Edwards Stadium...
Rain falls at LaVell Edwards Stadium about an hour before Brigham Young University faces Boise State in NCAA football in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)
(Ravell Call, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football has a rich history of walk-on players emerging as significant contributors. Dax Milne was the most recent example of that.

The former Bingham High standout joined BYU as a preferred walk-on, turning down scholarship offers to in-state FCS programs. In three quick years in Provo, Milne rose from walk-on to NFL draft pick.

Five BYU Football walk-ons to keep an eye on

So who’s the next walk-on to keep an eye on down at BYU? Here are five who I believe have the potential to provide a significant impact for BYU football at some point in their careers.

Tavita Gagnier, Linebacker

With Zayne Anderson onto the NFL, Tavita Gagnier fills the void of being the versatile athlete from Stansbury Park on BYU’s roster. Gagnier is currently listed at 6-foot-2, 196-pounds. He switched to linebacker last season, and his play in spring practices caught the attention of new linebackers coach Kevin Clune as a young player who could compete for time this fall.

Gagnier was an asset on both sides of the ball during his high school career, where he also excelled in basketball. He enters his third year in the program, and he’s still only a redshirt freshman.

Talmage Gunther, Wide Receiver

Ed Lamb’s special teams MVP in 2020 has worked up the ranks as a special teams contributor so far. Last season, Gunther had an onside kick recovery against Houston.

A former quarterback at Lone Peak High School, Gunther has good athleticism and has continued to gain valuable experience in the wide receiver room the past two years. But, like Gagnier, he enters 2021 as a redshirt freshman, entering his third year in the program.

Brayden Keim, Offensive Tackle

Two years ago, former BYU offensive line coach Eric Mateos told me his position room had an intriguing talent switching over from tight end to the offensive line. That was Brayden Keim. The former Alta High product and son to former BYU offensive lineman Mike Keim, Brayden appears in the two-deep heading into the 2021 season.

Adding weight has been a top priority for Keim since he arrived at BYU. Coming out of high school, he was only 220 pounds. Now he’s listed at 291 pounds. Last year he earned his first collegiate snaps appearing in three games. Don’t be surprised if he’s one of the top six or seven offensive linemen in the program this year.

Mikey Petty, Defensive Line

Mikey Petty was a key piece in the construction of the Corner Canyon High School dynasty. Petty was a senior on Corner Canyon’s 11-1 team in 2017 and a captain with former BYU QB Zach Wilson. He originally committed to Southern Utah out of high school. However, after serving a mission in the Phillippines, Petty joined the BYU football program. This past winter/spring was his first semester as a Cougar.

In two seasons at Corner Canyon, Petty had 153 tackles and 30 sacks at defensive end for the Chargers.

Tanner Wall, Wide Receiver

Back in 2018, BYU landed a preferred walk-on commitment from a player in NoVa. More commonly referred to as Northern Virginia. Tanner Wall committed to the Cougars after a decorated career at Yorktown High School in Arlington, Virginia. Wall was the 6A Liberty Conference Player of the Year his senior year in 2017, hauling in 56 receptions for 857 yards and totaling 1,650 all-purpose yards.

He also shined as a defensive back posting 131 tackles and two interceptions his senior year.

Wall has a 38-inch vertical leap and during his first spring practices at BYU, he competed at the wide receiver spot. He wears number 28 in honor of Washington Football Team legend Darrell Green.

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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Who’s The Next Dax Milne? Five BYU Football Walk-Ons To Watch