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BYU Football Names Captains, Leadership Council For 2021

Aug 30, 2021, 6:00 PM | Updated: Aug 31, 2021, 11:49 pm
James Empey - BYU Football...
Quarterback Zach Wilson #1 and offensive lineman James Empey #66 of the BYU Cougars both call out signals during second half action against the Boise State Broncos at Albertsons Stadium on November 6, 2020 in Boise, Idaho. BYU won the game 51-17. (Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Loren Orr/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football announced the four captains and members of the leadership council for the upcoming 2021 season.

With the 2021 campaign beginning this Saturday against Arizona in Las Vegas, it was only fitting to announce the four men who will wear the captain “C” on their jerseys on game week.

Those four players include quarterback Jaren Hall, center James Empey, and linebackers Keenan Pili and Payton Wilgar.

BYU Football Captains in 2021

Last week, Hall was named BYU’s starting quarterback. He beat out Baylor Romney and Jacob Conover for the job.

Hall becomes the successor to generational talent Zach Wilson, who’s now with the New York Jets. Last year, Wilson was a captain of BYU’s 11-1 squad. Despite many around the NFL questioning if Wilson was captain or not during his pre-Draft process.

There’s no debate this time around. Hall is expected as a leader of a BYU offense that will strive to produce another explosive attack.

Anchoring the offense is center James Empey. Empey said at BYU Football Media Day that this year feels like his senior season. He’s one of seven BYU players that will play this year as a graduate athlete.

Empey has started 35 games in his first three years with the Cougars. He’s a potential All-American candidate at center.

Linebacker Keenan Pili is the quarterback of BYU’s defense. Pili will handle the MIKE position and he’ll be looked upon to be a tackling machine in the middle of the Cougar defense.

Pili is the top returning tackler to BYU’s defense in 2020. Last year, Pili was the defensive MVP for BYU in their win over UCF in the Boca Raton Bowl.

Pili’s linebacker running mate in Payton Wilgar is on numerous preseason award watch lists. The former preferred walk-on from Dixie High School in St. George is viewed as one of the top NFL prospects currently in the BYU program.

Over the last two years, Wilgar has piled up 117 tackles and three interceptions.

Leadership Council

Along with the four captains, BYU named ten additional players as “Co-Captains.” These 10 round out BYU’s 14-man Leadership Council for the 2021 season.

The 10 Co-captains include the following players:

  • WR Gunner Romney
  • WR Neil Pau’u
  • RB Tyler Allgeier
  • RB Lopini Katoa
  • DL Uriah “Lopa” Leiataua
  • DL Tyler Batty
  • DL Lorenzo Fauatea
  • CB D’Angelo Mandell
  • K Jake Oldroyd
  • P Ryan Rehkow

BYU opens the 2021 football season against the Arizona Wildcats at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. Kick-off is set for 8:30 p.m. (MT) on ESPN and KSL NewsRadio.

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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