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Jay Hill Says Young Newcomers Are Some of BYU's 'Best Players'

On Monday, BYU kicked had its third practice of Spring camp. For the first time, BYU was permitted to wear pads. Following practice, BYU defensive coordinator Jay Hill met with the media. When asked about the depth on defense, Hill emphasized the importance of recruiting and said a few of BYU's young newcomers are some of the "best players".

"Recruiting is a huge part," Hill said. "Some of the young guys that have come in are some of our best players right now like Ephraim Asiata looks really good right now. Viliami Po'uha looks really good right now. I'm proud of some of those young guys that are stepping in."

Coming off a highly-successful signing day, BYU's defense has added a lot of new players on the defensive side. BYU epmhasized the front seven during the 2024 signing class. Viliami Po'uha and Ephraim Asiata are two true freshmen defensive ends who were important pickups in the most recent signing class. Hill said BYU recruited the front seven really hard because "we've got to get better there."

"There were certain games in the Big 12 where we either weren't big enough or weren't stout enough...whatever reason we've got to be much better than we were last year."

Here are the defensive newcomers on BYU's 2024 roster.

2024 Signing Class

Danny Saili
  • 22 - Tommy Prassas (Safety)
  • 24 - Therrian Alexander (Cornerback)
  • 44 - Ephraim Asiata (Defensive End)
  • 45 - Viliami Po'uha (Defensive End)
  • 55 - Danny Saili (Defensive Tackle)
  • 91 - Dallin Johnson (Defensive Tackle)

A sizable chunk of BYU's 2024 signees have enrolled early and are participating in Spring camp. Therrian Alexander was rotating with the first and second-team defenses on day one. He has all the talent to be an early contributor in Provo.

As mentioned, Ephraim Asiata and Viliami Po'uha have made a strong impression at defensive end. BYU desperately needs to add pass rushers, and both of those guys are capable of providing that. Asiata's Dad posted a highlight of Ephraim on Instagram where Asiata bull-rushed the left tackle and dominated the rep.


  • 4 - Marque Collins (Cornerback)
  • 17 - Jack Kelly (Linebacker)
  • 23 - Darrien Stewart (Safety)

Jack Kelly might be the best of all the newcomers. Only two players on defense have met with the media after practice: Tyler Batty and Jack Kelly. If that order is any indication, Kelly is expected to be one of BYU's most critical players on defense in 2024.

Prior Signing Classes

A few signees of the prior defensive staff have also joined the program.

  • 33 - Dallin Havea (Defensive Tackle)
  • 46 - Nathan Hoke (Linebacker)
  • 57 - Lingi Havea (Defensive Tackle)


A handful of walk-ons have joined the roster as well.

  • 38 - Payton VanSteenkiste (Safety)
  • 47 - Brock Fabrizio (Safety)
  • 53 - Orion Maile-Kaufusi (Defensive End)
  • 95 - John Taumoepeau (Defensive Tackle)

BYU added some very capable players as walk-ons. Orion Maile-Kaufusi, who signed with Oregon State as a scholarship player back in 2021, was a surprise addition to the roster.

John Taumoepeau, a former Snow College standout, is on the roster after committing to BYU before the 2023 season.

Brock Fabrizio was a scholarship-grade player in high school before blowing out his knee. He committed to BYU as a PWO before his mission. He is now home and on the roster. His older brother, Quinn Fabrizio, played at the University of Utah.

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