Three BYU Standouts Earn Freshman All-America Recognition
PROVO, Utah – The foundation of BYU football entering the Big 12 Conference received some high praise this week.
#BYU announces three players have earned College Football News Freshman All-American recognition.
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) December 6, 2022
Suamataia earned the highest recognition, sliding into the second-team Freshman All-American squad by CFN. Epps and Harper both earned Honorable Mention nods.
All three players project to be stars at BYU as they move into the Big 12 in 2023 and beyond.
Kingsley Suamataia became an immediate starter
Kingsley Suamataia, a former five-star recruit from Orem High, transferred to BYU from Oregon last winter. Immediately in spring practices, Suamataia earned the starting right tackle position beating out last year’s week one starter Harris LaChance and former Freshman All-American Campbell Barrington.
Suamataia played and started in 11 games in his first season at BYU. According to Pro Football Focus’ advanced stats, Suamataia didn’t give up a sack this season. The 6-foot-6, 325-pound tackle was one of the top transfer portal additions in the country during the 2022 cycle.
Fuel to my 🔥 https://t.co/XvcAOGe0Ft
— Kingsley K M A SUAMATAIA (@baby76kings) December 5, 2022
Kody Epps had a breakout season for BYU Football
Kody Epps had a breakout season at wide receiver for BYU. The former Mater Dei High product, one of the top targets for Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young during his prep career, Epps had 39 receptions for 459 yards and six touchdowns in 2022 at BYU.
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Epps is a third-year redshirt freshman who seldomly played his first two years with the program due to a foot injury. The 5-foot-11, 185-pound pass catcher, saw his 2022 season cut short due to an upper-body injury in the Liberty game. Epps played in eight games this season.
Hard-hitting safety Micah Harper
Micah Harper was a bright spot for BYU on a defense that didn’t have many highlights this season. The hard-hitting safety started in eight games this season after being slowed down at the beginning of the year due to an ankle injury.
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Harper piled up 58 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, and three pass breakups in his first year at safety for BYU. The former Chandler, Arizona native is a redshirt freshman in his third season with the program. Last year he was sidelined due to a season-ending ACL injury. In 2020, a free year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Harper started in five games at cornerback.
BYU is no stranger to producing Freshman All-Americans under head coach Kalani Sitake. Since Sitake’s first season in 2016, the Cougars have had at least one Freshman All-American. Starting with Thomas Shoaf (2016), Matt Bushman (2017), James Empey (2018), Payton Wilgar (2019), Isaac Rex (2020), Campbell Barrington (2021), and now Suamataia, Epps, and Harper.
BYU finished the regular season with a 7-5 record. They will close out the 2022 season in the New Mexico Bowl against SMU from the American Athletic Conference on December 17 at 5:30 p.m. on ABC and KSL NewsRadio.
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 Mitch’s BYU football coverage on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.
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