BYU Football Has Depth Everywhere You Look On Offense

Aug 8, 2021, 3:08 PM | Updated: 3:10 pm
BYU Football - Aaron Roderick...
Aaron Roderick, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, talks to media during BYU football media day at the BYU Broadcasting Building in Provo on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – The challenge of replacing Zach Wilson will be difficult for BYU football. But the good news for the Cougars is that whoever wins the starting quarterback job will have talent around him to succeed immediately.

BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick loves the depth in some of the key skill position spots.

Aaron Roderick likes the depth on his offense

When responding to a question from KSL Sports about which position he feels is the deepest within his  BYU football offense, he replied with the following statement.

“We’ve got a good tight end group. There are some good players in that group. And our receiver depth is the best it’s been since I’ve been here,”  said Roderick.

Sizing up the tight ends

Let’s take a look at those positions a little bit further. BYU’s tight ends are led by Isaac Rex, one of the top freshmen tight ends in all of college football last season with 12 touchdown grabs. At 6-foot-6, 247-pounds, Rex could be one of the top NFL prospects on the offensive side of the ball for BYU football this season. His potential, according to tight end coach Steve Clark this past off-season, is endless.

One of the challenges Rex will face, however, is now being a focal point of the opposing team’s scouting reports. The good thing for BYU is that if defenses zero in on Rex, they have to worry about some of the other pass-catchers at tight end and wide receiver.

Returned Missionary Dallin Holker looks like he never left campus for his mission, according to Roderick. Holker, a former Lehi High standout, was a favorite target of Jacob Conover during the media observation portion of practice on Thursday.

Lane Lunt, Masen Wake, Bentley Hanshaw, and Carter Wheat round out a loaded tight end room.

Wide Receivers

At wide receiver, there appear to be even more options for BYU football to choose from.

The Cougars return two of their top three receivers in Neil Pau’u and Gunner Romney from a season ago. Joining those two is transfers Puka and Samson Nacua. Both guys “bring a lot to our offense; experience, toughness … good additions to our team,” said Roderick.

BYU also has junior college transfer Chris Jackson, one of the top performers in spring ball, along with Brayden Cosper, who was the fourth receiver last season based on the number of snaps played.

Also in the mix at wideout is Keanu Hill, who’s a big-bodied target and has good bloodlines being the nephew to former Texas Longhorn great Roy Williams, former High School All-American Kody Epps, and Under Armour All-American Chase Roberts to go with walk-ons Talmage Gunther and Tanner Wall, who have both made nice grabs through the first three days of camp.

Offensive Line

“Then [offensive line]-wise, we’ve got a big group of guys. There are about six guys that have played a lot who are proven players that I have a lot of faith in. And then after that, there’s a lot of good guys to work with. We’ve gotta find out who those guys are. But, the total number of them is higher than it’s ever been, too since I’ve been here,” Roderick said. “We’ve got 18 offensive linemen out there; that’s a lot. All of them have a chance to play here someday. But the top six are really good; I don’t expect a drop-off there.”

The six guys Roderick is referring to likely include James Empey, Clark Barrington, Blake Freeland, Harris LaChance, Joe Tukuafu, and Connor Pay. Out of those six, Pay has the least experience. But he was a star in the Boca Raton Bowl win last season as the third-string center replacing an injured Empey and Tukuafu.

Both Tukuafu and Pay will contend to be the starter at the right guard spot alongside Harris LaChance.

Behind those six include Brayden Keim, Campbell Barrington, Seth Willis, Tysen Lewis, Snow College transfer Cade Parrish, and former basketball standout Tyler Little.

Running Back

At running back, BYU is looking to establish who the number three ball carrier will be behind Tyler Allgeier and Lopini Katoa. Hinckley “Folau” Ropati and Miles Davis appear to be the top candidates in the running for that job. Both were the third and fourth backs during Thursday’s media observation portion to open up Camp Kalani.

BYU also has Jackson McChesney back from a season-ending injury he suffered last season and former Cedar High QB Mason Fakahua, who made the switch to a ball carrier last season.

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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