COUGAR TRACKS

BYU Football’s Wide Receiver Pipeline Continues To Grow For Big 12 Move

Aug 21, 2022, 3:28 PM | Updated: 3:38 pm
BYU Football, Chase Roberts, Kody Epps...
Taking a look at the future BYU football wide receiver pipeline in the Big 12 era and beyond. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – The commitment of Josiah “Jojo” Phillips to BYU football is the latest addition to BYU’s wide receiver pipeline.

BYU’s wide receiver room is a strength of the 2022 football team. But the bright outlook doesn’t appear to be stopping after this fall. The outlook for BYU’s pass catchers in the Big 12 era is trending in the right direction.

Last spring, BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick said the BYU offensive line was “Big 12 ready.” If another position is positioned to be ready for the Big 12 move in 2023, it might be BYU’s receiver room.

Let’s take a look at the pipeline of receivers BYU football has in the future. I’m capping this pipeline at current BYU football sophomores. Some juniors are getting their undergrad degrees this fall, so it isn’t easy at this point to forecast which juniors could be back in 2023 and beyond.

Current sophomores

  • Keanu Hill
  • Hobbs Nyberg
  • Talmage Gunther

Keanu Hill has emerged as BYU’s third wide receiver behind Puka Nacua and Gunner Romney. The upcoming 2022 season could be a potential breakout year for Hill.

Nyberg is a key piece in BYU’s return game and Talmage Gunther, a former star quarterback in high school, has consistently received praise from BYU coaches for his work on special teams.

Freshmen in 2022

  • Chase Roberts (Redshirt)
  • Kody Epps (RS)
  • Terence Fall (RS)
  • Tanner Wall (RS)
  • Kade Moore (RS)
  • Parker Kingston
  • Kyson Hall
  • Dom Henry

Chase Roberts and Kody Epps have had breakout performances in fall camp. Their only question is, are they ready to produce in games?

When you look at the top players at receiver, Roberts and Epps appear to be in a prime position to be potential stars in 2023 and beyond.

Terence Fall has had some highlight-worthy catches during camp. Tanner Wall is one of the most improved players in the program.

Returned Missionaries/Greyshirt candidates in 2022

  • Devin Downing
  • Koa Eldredge
  • Kael Mikkelsen

You’re probably wondering, what’s a greyshirt? Greyshirt athletes delay their enrollment into a school for a semester.

It has been a common practice for BYU when Latter-day Saint missionaries return home from their missions.

The star of this group to watch in the future is American Fork wide receiver Devin Downing. Downing had 3,053 receiving yards in two seasons at American Fork after filling the shoes left behind by Chase Roberts.

Koa Eldredge is a two-sport athlete who is also expected to play baseball at BYU.

Wide Receivers currently serving Latter-day Saint missions

  • Jovesa Damuni
  • Cody Hagen
  • Dominique McKenzie
  • Jarinn Kalama
  • Payton VanSteenkiste

Cody Hagen headlines this group of players currently serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Hagen, a former four-star prospect from Corner Canyon High, turned down offers from Utah, USC, Michigan, and Stanford to sign with BYU.

Dominique McKenzie was once a Virginia commit, but that changed when Bronco Mendenhall abruptly resigned from the Hoos head coach position. When McKenzie matriculates into BYU, he could be a candidate to switch to defensive back.

Like McKenzie, Jovesa Damuni, a former Ridgeline High star, could play cornerback for the Cougars.

BYU football commits in the 2023 recruiting cycle

  • Josiah “Jojo” Phillips
  • Pokaiaua Haunga

Josiah Phillips comes to BYU after pulling in offers from Cal, San Diego State, Boston College, Colorado State, and others.

Phillips was trending towards becoming one of the top receivers in his recruiting cycle at a young age when he landed offers from LSU and Oregon. But after a year away from football to focus on basketball, Phillips’ recruitment cooled off. It worked nicely for BYU as Phillips could be an impact receiver when BYU steps into the Big 12 Conference.

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 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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