Eight BYU Freshmen Who Could Make An Impact In 2023
Jun 5, 2023, 7:51 PM
(Nate Edwards/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – BYU football has some intriguing freshmen who could contribute in 2023 to go along with a sizable transfer portal class.
It’s becoming more challenging for freshmen to make an immediate impact. But with a new defensive staff and the need for depth as a Power Five program, there will be opportunities for freshmen on BYU’s roster to emerge.
But who will those freshmen be?
BYU Football Freshmen to Watch in 2023
Last year, BYU had three players earn Freshman All-American recognitions. Those players: Kody Epps, Micah Harper, and Kingsley Suamataia, were redshirt freshmen. In the case of Epps and Harper, there were in their third year of college football. Thanks to the COVID year in 2020.
So there’s always a few freshmen that make those big impacts. Here are eight that we will keep our eyes on in the BYU football program.
Jackson Bowers, Tight End
The highest-rated signee in BYU’s 2023 class, Jackson Bowers, arrived on campus last week. Coming out of Mountain View High School in Mesa, Arizona, Bowers picked BYU over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Washington, and others.
He’s a physical tight end that plays with a lot of intensity. BYU tight ends coach Steve Clark told KSL Sports in the spring that there is an opportunity for Bowers to compete immediately.
Siale Esera, Linebacker
UCLA made a late push in the recruitment of Siale Esera, but ultimately the four-star linebacker signed with BYU to play for Jay Hill and Justin Ena.
— Siale Tuiteelagi Esera (@EseraSiale) September 11, 2022
Esera already has a D1-sized body at 6-foot-3, 250-pounds. He has the size to play anywhere in the front seven, but he will begin his BYU career as an inside linebacker.
Isaiah Glasker, Linebacker
With Max Tooley and Ben Bywater recovering from shoulder surgeries, redshirt freshman Isaiah Glasker was primarily with the first-team defense throughout spring practice. A rangy athlete, Glasker plays with more violence than you would expect for a former wide receiver in high school.
There will be opportunities for Glasker to contribute this fall.
Parker Kingston, Wide Receiver
Redshirt freshman Parker Kingston had a productive spring before suffering an injury to his right hand. A former quarterback prospect at Roy High School, Kingston ran a 10.66 100-meter dash at the BYU Invitational last year during his prep career.
He brings a lot to the wide receiver position. Kingston could be a perfect candidate to back up Kody Epps as the second-string slot receiver.
LJ Martin, Running Back
BYU has what appears to be a deep running back unit this season. It only gets deeper when freshman LJ Martin joins the group.
Martin flipped his commitment from Stanford to BYU late in the 2023 recruiting cycle. At 6-foot-2, 205-pounds, Martin has the size and maturity to compete at the Power Five level immediately. BYU offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick noted at the end of spring Martin was a player he was intrigued to see this fall.
Aisea Moa, Defensive End
Redshirt freshman Aisea Moa was one of the big beneficiaries of bowl practices last December. Moa, a former four-star recruit, took significant steps forward in his development. Look for Moa in the two-deep at the defensive end this season.
With a new defensive scheme that is expected to be more aggressive and put playmakers in spots to make plays, Moa could emerge as one of the most improved players in the program this season.
Anthony Olsen, Tight End
After Isaac Rex, there will be some jockeying for spots on the depth chart at tight end. Redshirt freshman Anthony Olsen, a preferred walk-on, will be one to watch.
Olsen has only been playing football for two seasons. One of those years was last season, his first with the BYU program. He was a dual-sport athlete at Olympus High who took on football late.
Harrison Taggart, Linebacker
The newest addition to the BYU football program is Harrison Taggart. A former Corner Canyon High standout, Taggart transfers to BYU after one year at Oregon.
Taggart is a hard-hitting linebacker that plays fast. Depending on how quickly he picks up Jay Hill’s defense, there’s an opportunity for Taggart to be a two-deep player in his first year at BYU.
Also considered: Raider Damuni, Safety; Ace Kaufusi, Linebacker; Maika Kaufusi, Linebacker; JoJo Phillips, Wide Receiver.
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 coverage of BYU moving to the Big 12 Conference on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.
Take us with you wherever you go.
BYU Cougars Scoreboard
BYU Cougars Team Leaders
BYU Cougars Standings