BYU returns a lot of experience in 2022, especially on defense. Besides Uriah Leiataua and Matthew Criddle who started three games apiece, every defensive starter returns next season. But just like every other season, multiple starting spots will be up for grabs during spring ball and fall camp. Here are the vacant starting jobs ahead of 2022 spring football.
BYU star running back Tyler Allgeier declared for the NFL Draft leaving the starting job up for grabs. BYU returns veteran Lopini Katoa and less expereienced guys like Jackson McChesney, Miles Davis, and Hinckley Ropati.
The frontrunner for this job will be Cal transfer running back Christopher Brooks. Brooks has run for over 1,700 yards in his career.
Both Gunner Romney and Puka Nacua will return to their starting roles next season. Keanu Hill looks like the most logical choice to slide into the third starting spot. He racked up 343 receiving yards last season. However, BYU has multiple talented wide receivers that will also compete for the third starting spot. Among them are highly-touted recruits Chase Roberts and Kody Epps. Hobbs Nyberg and Brayden Cosper are also names to watch.
Harris LaChance started for BYU at right tackle against Arizona. Over the course of the season, Campbell Barrington and Brayden Keim also started for the Cougars at right tackle.
BYU dipped into the transfer portal to bring in former five-star recruit Kingsley Suamatia. Suamataia has the physical talent to have a long career in the NFL.
The battle for the starting right tackle job will be one to watch this spring.
Kaleb Hayes and D'Angelo Mandell started the last nine games for the Cougars at cornerback. They both return next season. BYU will also welcome back Keenan Ellis who missed the entire season with an injury that he suffered in the first quarter against Arizona. Ellis will compete to win back his starting job.
BYU rotated a lot of players at nickel last season like Jakob Robinson, Jacob Boren, Caleb Christensen, and George Udo. BYU will welcome back Micah Harper who will compete for the starting job assuming he is fully healthy.
Linebacker and Defensive Line
Besides Uriah Leiataua, all starting linebackers and defensive lineman return next season.
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