How Ammon Hannemann Won BYU’s Strong Safety Spot

Aug 26, 2022, 4:13 PM
Ammon Hannemann, BYU Football...
BYU football didn't have many position battles, but one of them was at strong safety where Ammon Hannemann won the job. (Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – Ammon Hannemann has a familiar last name to BYU fans. The Hannemann’s have all had their share of success in Provo.

From older brother Jacob, who was once a football player and baseball star. He shifted his focus to the diamond, where he became a Major Leaguer.

Micah Hannemann made athletic plays at cornerback and safety for BYU. His athleticism was good enough to earn him some camp opportunities in the NFL.

Now it’s younger brother Ammon’s turn to continue the success of Hannemann athletes at BYU. Ammon, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound prospect, will be the starter at strong safety when BYU opens the 2022 season at USF on September 3.

Hannemann won a top position battle for BYU in fall camp. Coming into this season, BYU is one of the most experienced teams in college football, so the position battles were limited compared to most years.

So the two-deep was pretty established. But strong safety needed a starter identified as Jakob Robinson continues at nickel along with the cornerback spot.

Despite his sophomore class status, Ammon Hannemann is no stranger to BYU’s defensive scheme. The former Lone Peak High standout is in his fourth year with the Cougars.

Last season, he appeared in 10 games and started in four, recording 22 tackles and one pass deflection.

Ammon Hannemann earned the strong safety spot

So it shouldn’t be a complete surprise that he won the job. Safeties coach Ed Lamb always noted that Hannemann had a “leg up” on the competition, but he wanted to see him win the job outright. Especially with competition in rising underclassmen Micah Harper and Talan Alfrey, plus experienced Matthew Criddle, Hannemann had to earn the spot.


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“Ammon has just been consistent. He’s consistently gotten better, and he’s been playing at a high level right now,” said BYU defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki.

Tuiaki continued, “Just understanding, anticipating things to happen on offense, and he’s given us a lot of good reps. So normally, anyone that’s consistently doing their job the right way is the one that wins the starting job. He’s certainly been a guy that’s shown through last year and this fall camp that he’s capable of doing that.”

Hannemann will be lined up on the backend of the defense with one of BYU’s top returners on defense, Malik Moore.

Moore enters his final season at BYU and is the starter at free safety. He will be in a spot at free safety that will have him responding to the decisions of Hannemann at the strong safety spot.

Hannemann will continue to show why he earned the job when he and the rest of the BYU defense take the field against the USF Bulls on Saturday, September 3 in Tampa.

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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