Five BYU Football Underclassmen To Watch For During Spring Practices

Feb 21, 2022, 12:12 PM

BYU Football - Chase Roberts...

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 27: Brigham Young Cougars wide receiver Chase Roberts (27) during a college football game between the BYU Cougars against the USC Trojans on November 27, 2021, at United Airlines Field at The Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football spring practices begin on February 28. It feels like yesterday BYU was wrapping up last season in a sleet-filled Shreveport, Louisiana, but the grind of winter conditioning has quickly led to spring football practices knocking on the doorstep.

Being No. 2 nationally in returning production this season, BYU brings back a ton of experience from a team that won 10 games a season ago and checks in at No. 18 in the KSL Sports’ Way-Too-Early Top 25.

Spring practices are an interesting time. It provides hands-on educational opportunities for players with their coaches, leadership development for upperclassmen, and the chance for underclassmen to show their potential.

Here are five underclassmen I’ll be keeping my eyes on during BYU spring practices. (Fingers crossed spring practice observation periods are made available to the media).

Listed in alphabetical order

Michael Daley, Linebacker

Michael Daley was a terror for opposing offenses during his Lone Peak High School career. During his senior season in 2018 at Lone Peak, Daley was tied for second nationally in total sacks by a high school football player. Daley finished with 24 sacks that season.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by BYU Football (@byufootball)

After his time at Lone Peak came to a close, the 6-foot-3, 225-pound linebacker served a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at Montevideo, Uruguay.

He returned home from his mission in 2021, where he sat out last year as a redshirt. Then, during the Independence Bowl, he dressed for the first time in his career.

Daley has some strong ties to the BYU football program through his family. His father is Neal Daley, a former teammate of Kalani Sitake’s in the mid-1990s. In addition, former BYU players Taysom Hill, David Nixon, and Craig Bills are his uncles.

For a BYU defense that lacked a pass rush last season, Daley can potentially provide a lift in that area now that he has had a year under his belt in the program.

Kody Epps, Wide Receiver

Before arriving at BYU, Kody Epps was the number one target for defending Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young at Mater Dei High School in California. Epps had interest from Power Five programs Oregon and Oklahoma coming out of high school, but he was a backup option for those schools. BYU made him a top priority on the recruiting trail, leading the USA Today First-Team All-American to sign with BYU.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Kody Epps (@kodyepps)

When Epps showed up on campus, he immediately showed flashes that he would be an immediate contributor. It’s always impressive when a first-year player does that in fall camp. It’s even more impressive as it was on the heels of an off-season that was in the beginning phases of the pandemic. But an injury during fall camp set him back.

Last season, Epps was dealing with a nagging foot injury that kept him sidelined for the entire season.

During these first two years, Epps has earned high praise from passing game coordinator Fesi Sitake for his willingness to master BYU’s offensive playbook.

Epps, when healthy, can be a game-changer in BYU’s already loaded wide receiver room.

Cade Fennegan, Quarterback

For the first time since 2017, BYU won’t be manufacturing a quarterback battle heading into the season. Jaren Hall is the clear-cut number one signal-caller, and he has all the tools to lead an explosive offense next season. But who’s behind him at No. 2?

The favorite is probably Jacob Conover. Once an Elite 11 quarterback prospect from Arizona, Conover garnered some comparisons to a “young Zach Wilson” from Aaron Roderick last fall. But a guy that could push Conover to earn that backup spot is Cade Fennegan.

Fennegan transferred to BYU from Boise State last summer and redshirted due to missing the Transfer Portal cutoff date. If you remember, Fennegan was the QB who stepped in for injured Boise teammate Jack Sears against BYU in 2020.

While in the portal, Fennegan had an offer from USC but ultimately picked BYU. At Wilson High School in Dallas, Fennegan passed for 94 touchdowns in three seasons as the starting quarterback.

Chase Roberts, Wide Receiver

Roberts was a big addition to BYU’s 2019 recruiting class. An Under Armour All-American out of American Fork High School, BYU beat out rival Utah to land the letter of intent from Roberts, who racked up 3,709 yards in his high school career.

After serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Calgary, Canada, Roberts returned home last summer. Roberts redshirted last season. But in the final month of his first season, Roberts began showing flashes of his talent on the scout team. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound receiver dressed for the season’s last four games.

Roberts, like Kody Epps, might be young, but his talent will be hard to keep off the field in 2022.

Kingsley Suamataia, Offensive Tackle

Kingsley Suamataia has the potential to be a generational addition for BYU along the offensive line. Last August, Oregon’s offensive line coach said that Suamataia has the talent to be an NFL first-round pick down the road.

Suamataia joins a BYU offensive line room stacked with talent, which will be an excellent opportunity for the former five-star prospect to earn his role along BYU’s offensive line. He’s projected to play tackle, and you don’t want to mess with Blake Freeland at left tackle, who was excellent there last season, so the assumed thought would be that Suamataia contends at right tackle.

Expectations will be high on Suamataia, but don’t be surprised if he shows the flashes of that endless potential this spring.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

  • BYU Cougars Scoreboard

  • BYU Cougars Team Leaders

  • BYU Cougars Standings

Cougar Tracks

BYU Football, Aisea Moa, Freshmen to Watch...

Mitch Harper

Eight BYU Freshmen Who Could Make An Impact In 2023

BYU freshmen that appear poised to make an impact this fall.

4 days ago

BYU Football, 100 Days Until Kickoff, 2023 Season...

Mitch Harper

100 Days Until BYU Football: Three Reasons Beyond Big 12 To Get Excited

BYU’s most anticipated season in the Kalani Sitake era.

15 days ago

BYU Cougars, Yoeli Childs, WCC, Gonzaga Win...

Mitch Harper

10 Moments To Remember From BYU’s WCC Era

The moments to remember from BYU's time in the West Coast Conference.

16 days ago

BYU Football, Micah Harper, Safety Position...

Mitch Harper

BYU Football Safety Position Analysis For 2023 Season

Breaking down the BYU safety unit heading into the 2023 season.

22 days ago

BYU Football, First Year, Conference...

Mitch Harper

How BYU Football Has Fared In First Year Of Conferences

Looking back at BYU's first season's in other conferences.

25 days ago

BYU Football, Tight End, Isaac Rex...

Mitch Harper

BYU Football Tight End Position Analysis For 2023 Season

Breaking down the tight ends for BYU football heading into their first season in the Big 12 Conference.

25 days ago

Sponsored Articles

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.


KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.

ksl sports logos...

KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.


KSL Sports

Win Tickets Wednesday: Jimmy Buffett

Get your Hawaiian shirts ready.

Five BYU Football Underclassmen To Watch For During Spring Practices