Former BYU Player Makes Bold Prediction For Cougar Defense In 2022

Aug 4, 2022, 1:45 AM

BYU Football, D'Angelo Mandell, Jakob Robinson...

Former BYU football running back Will Snowden sees the 2022 defense being BYU's best of the Kalani Sitake era. (Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

(Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – Many question marks surrounding BYU football in 2022 appear to be on the defensive side. After a season that saw BYU finish 74th in total defense last season and 102nd in third down conversion rate, the questions are fair.

The good news for BYU football is that they have nearly everyone from last year’s two-deep on defense returning.

That continuity with personnel, the coaching staff, plus the depth BYU football possesses on defense this year has one former BYU player feeling bullish about his alma mater’s outlook on the defensive side.

Former BYU running back Will Snowden hopped on with his old teammate, Hans Olsen, during the Hans & Scotty G show on 97.5 The KSL Sports Zone and gave a strong take about this year’s BYU defense.

Will Snowden sees 2022 being the best BYU football defense of the Kalani era

“Defensively, this will be the best defense that Kalani Sitake has put out at BYU,” said Snowden, a teammate of Sitake’s at BYU from 1997-2000. “This is a very solid defense.”

Sitake, a defensive coordinator at the University of Utah, fielded some stout defenses earlier in his coaching tenure. Those defenses earned the nickname “Sack Lake City” for how often they got to opposing quarterbacks.

Snowden emphasized that his take is based on Sitake’s tenure at BYU, which dates back to 2016.

“I’m saying at Brigham Young, he’s never had this much talent and depth,” Snowden said. “Particularly, if you look at the back end. At the corner position, I don’t ever remember a time in history that we were truly four deep. Like, four corners that can start and can start at other places.

“You bring in Gabe Jeudy; he’s an SEC starter. They brought in the kid from Oregon State (Kaleb Hayes) last year; he’s a starter. Now you have Jakob Robinson and D’Angelo Mandell, who’s been a three-year starter. They have the depth. There really is no excuse for Brigham not to go out there and have an exceptional season.”

During Kalani Sitake’s time at BYU, the best defense statistically dating back to 2016 at BYU was in 2020. In that COVID-impacted year, BYU finished fourth nationally in scoring defense, allowing only 15.3 points per game. But was that a byproduct of a weak schedule?

There’s no question about the challenges ahead for BYU’s 2022 defense. They will face some of the top offensive lines in college football this year in Baylor, Oregon, Notre Dame, and Arkansas.

But with how much continuity and depth BYU has this year, they could potentially surprise many folks this season.

Recruiting Update on Smith Snowden

Will Snowden is the father of Skyridge defensive back Smith Snowden. The younger Snowden is a 5-foot-9, 173-pound prospect in the 2023 recruiting class.

During his hour with Hans Olsen on the KSL Sports Zone, Will Snowden gave an update on his son.

“He’s in this period of his life where he’s trying to make a decision on where he’s going to go play his ball,” Will Snowden said. “He’s got it broken down to his final five: Utah, BYU, the University of Colorado, Northwestern, and Stanford.”


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by smith snowden (@smith.snowden)

Back on May 10, Smith Snowden unveiled a list of his top eight schools, which featured those five mentioned above plus Oregon State, Utah State, and Washington State.

Last week, Snowden took an unofficial visit to BYU’s campus. He had a previous visit during spring practices in March.

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.

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Former BYU Player Makes Bold Prediction For Cougar Defense In 2022