Five BYU Football Players With Most To Prove Against Arizona

Sep 3, 2021, 11:25 PM
Malik Moore - BYU Football...
BYU defensive back Malik Moore celebrates after the Cougars defeated Tennessee. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
(BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – The 2021 BYU football season kicks off at the $2 billion Allegiant Stadium on Saturday night. This is an intriguing year for the Cougars as many players will be stepping into spotlight roles.

Here are five players that have a lot to prove in the season opener against an Arizona team riding a 12-game losing streak into Sin City.

Jaren Hall, Quarterback

Pretty easy to go with Jaren Hall, right? Jaren has the tall task of being the successor to Zach Wilson at the quarterback spot for BYU football. He has a deep understanding and knowledge of what offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick expects from the starting signal-caller.

Hall enters his fourth fall at BYU; he’s patiently waited for his opportunity. Now it’s here. His knowledge of the playbook, ability to make big plays, and avoiding mistakes ultimately earned him the starting job. A great performance against Arizona could set the tone for Hall to be a player to watch on the national scene.

Blake Freeland, Left Tackle

Like Jaren Hall, Freeland steps into some massive shoes left behind by an NFL starter. Brady Christensen was a Consensus All-American last season at left tackle. Now Freeland switches from the right side to the left to protect Hall’s blindside.

Freeland acknowledged it took some adjustment in spring practices going from the right side to the left, but his potential is endless. At 6-foot-8, Freeland is a freaky athlete that once played quarterback in high school.

He’ll be tasked with going up against Arizona defensive end Jalen Harris.

Uriah Leiataua, Outside Edge

Lopa Leiataua is one of two super seniors on this year’s BYU team. Last season, Leiataua was plagued by a severe leg injury he suffered in fall camp. Now healthy, Leiataua appears poised to be one of the top players on BYU’s defensive line. But there’s a lot to prove for him as he has yet to be a consistent contributor on defense due to various injuries.


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A post shared by Uriah Lopa Leiataua (@lopa58)

This game poses a great opportunity for Leiataua to set the tone for his final season in Cougar blue.

Malik Moore, Free Safety

After a productive fall camp, Moore slides into the free safety spot alongside Chaz Ah You. Similar to Leiataua, Moore has an opportunity to set the tone for how he wants this season to go. Over the off-season he transformed his body by adding additional 15 pounds to his 6-foot-1 frame. This is a big year for him to take a step forward in his development.


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A post shared by Malik Moore (@leek.moore)

Ryan Rehkow, Punter

The BYU football team probably doesn’t want to use Rehkow at all on Saturday night, but most likely he’s going to be called upon. Especially early in the game where BYU’s offense will be in an “information gathering” process in the 1st quarter according to Aaron Roderick.

Rehkow has received loads of praise despite not being used much. He has a leg that can flip the field position at a moment’s notice. If called upon, he is going to chomping at the point to show he could be one of the nation’s best punters this season.


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A post shared by Ryan Rehkow (@r_rehkow24)

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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Five BYU Football Players With Most To Prove Against Arizona