Projecting BYU’s Depth Chart For Season Opener Against Arizona
PROVO, Utah – The BYU football depth chart is starting to come together as Camp Kalani rolls on. After the first scrimmage of camp, position battles are coming into focus for head coach Kalani Sitake and his staff.
Everyone has a big question outside of the program: who will be the starting quarterback to replace Zach Wilson? My prediction continues to be redshirt sophomore Jaren Hall. Hall has a big arm and is the best athlete out of three quarterbacks vying for the job.
Along with the quarterback spot, I project the entire BYU football depth chart for their season opener against the Arizona Wildcats on September 4th, 2021. Let’s dive in.
1. Jaren Hall
2. Jacob Conover
3. Baylor Romney
1. Tyler Allgeier
2. Lopini Katoa
3. Miles Davis
The third running back spot was a big one for offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick coming into camp. I’ll go with Miles Davis, who has elite speed out of the backfield and continues to be a bright spot in camp.
1. Gunner Romney, Neil Pau’u, Puka Nacua
2. Samson Nacua, Brayden Cosper, Chris Jackson
If healthy, this wide receiver room is the deepest BYU has had since they became an Independent a decade ago.
1. Isaac Rex
2. Dallin Holker
Rex and Holker have the potential to be one of the best tight end tandems in the history of BYU football. There have been some great tight end duos over the years at BYU, so I don’t say this lightly. But Rex and Holker are the real deal.
After these guys, keep an eye on Masen Wake (wing tight end/fullback), Carter Wheat, and Bentley Hanshaw. Hanshaw was a standout in the offseason for his work in summer conditioning.
Left Tackle: Blake Freeland, Campbell Barrington
Left Guard: Clark Barrington, Cade Parrish
Center: James Empey, Joe Tukuafu
Right Guard: Connor Pay, Joe Tukuafu
Right Tackle: Harris LaChance, Brayden Keim
BYU should feel confident about their top seven offensive linemen right now, with the top reserves being Joe Tukuafu and Brayden Keim. The other two reserves I’m penciling in Campbell Barrington and JUCO transfer Cade Parrish.
Campbell Barrington took reps at guard during spring ball, but he’s talented enough to swing outside and play at tackle.
DE: Tyler Batty, Lorenzo Fauatea, Hunter Greer
Nose: Atunaisa Mahe, Caden Haws
Tackle: Earl Tuioti-Mariner, Gabe Summers
OE: Uriah Leiataua, Pepe Tanuvasa
I said before practice started that BYU’s defensive line will emerge as a strength for BYU out of camp. The jury is out on that, but there are some intriguing options for Ilaisa Tuiaki and defensive ends coach Preston Hadley to turn to.
Navy transfer Pepe Tanuvasa has garnered some buzz for his play at OE/JACK. Earl Tuioti-Mariner is a quality pass rusher in the interior of the defensive line. Atunaisa Mahe and Caden Haws bring a lot of experience in replacing Khyiris Tonga, and Tyler Batty can be the star of the group.
FLASH: Payton Wilgar, Ben Bywater
MIKE: Keenan Pili, Morgan Pyper
ROVER: Max Tooley, Isaac Matua
FRODO: Ben Bywater, Drew Jensen
5️⃣ Payton Wilgar
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) August 7, 2021
The strength of the defense resides here at linebacker. Payton Wilgar is on a ton of preseason watch lists, Keenan Pili will be the quarterback of the defense, and look for Max Tooley to make big leaps in his game this year.
Ben Bywater is a player ready to make a name for himself, along with Drew Jensen. Both players have battled injuries in their careers. If healthy, they will see time on the field this year.
1. Keenan Ellis, D’Angelo Mandell
2. Kaleb Hayes, Jakob Robinson
BYU cornerbacks coach Jernaro Gilford has bolstered the cornerback room with two transfers in Kaleb Hayes and Jakob Robinson. Don’t be surprised if both are in the two-deep when the Cougars take on Arizona.
1. George Udo
2. Caleb Christensen
Udo has been brought back slowly from his injury, but he’s a player who will be a gameday contributor for BYU. After him, keep an eye on Caleb Christensen, who could also play dime for BYU. He’s a physical defensive back who can play a variety of positions. Filling the nickel or dime spots perfectly in BYU’s multiple defensive schemes.
1. Chaz Ah You (SS), Hayden Livingston (FS)
2. Mitchell Price, Malik Moore
The safety spot is one of the big questions coming into the season. Losing freshman Talan Alfrey to a season-ending injury was a loss because he looked to be a two-deep player after his play in spring ball. But guys are stepping up to contend for playing time. Right now, I’ll give the nod to Hayden Livingston since he has experience in the program, and he’s been a week one starter in the past (2019, Utah).
1. Jake Oldroyd
2. Cash Peterman
1. Ryan Rehkow
2. Jake Oldroyd
BYU has one of the top special teams tandems in college football with Lou Groza Award finalist Jake Oldroyd and Ryan Rehkow at punter.
1. Austin Riggs
2. Britton Hogan
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com 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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