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Newcomer Danny Saili is 'Going to Be on the Field' for BYU

Danny Saili is living up to the lofty expectations placed on him when he signed in December

A handful of newcomers are making an early impact for BYU in Spring camp. One of those newcomers is JUCO transfer defensive lineman Danny Saili. Saili, who is a mountain of a man at 6'3 and 370 pounds, was a candidate to be an immediate impact player when he signed with BYU. So far he's on pace to push for starting reps in his first season in Provo.

After practice on Friday, Kalani Sitake was asked about the progression of BYU's run defense. Sitake brought up Saili in his response.

"It helps to get Saili whose 370 pounds and put him in the middle," Sitake said. "That will help out, so we added some beef up front." When asked if Saili will push for a starting spot, Sitake said, "Yeah [Saili] is going to be a guy that's going to be on the field. We've gotta get him in playing shape, but we're starting to see a lot of the big guys doing a lot of good things."

Danny Saili

BYU defensive tackle Danny Saili

Saili joined a defensive tackle room that needed more size and athleticism last season. BYU addressed that need through recruiting in the 2024 class, and Saili was the highest profile pickup.

BYU flipped Saili from Texas Tech a few days before signing day. He was also recruited by the likes of Oklahoma, Miami, Arizona, and NC State among others. Saili has great size and he moves very well for his size. He can get off blocks with his strength or he can use his quickness to avoid blocks and get in running lanes.

Saili isn't the only newcomer making an impression along the defensive line. True freshman Ephraim Asiata was mentioned as a standout by defensive coordinator Jay Hill. Sitake was asked about Asiata. "He's so explosive and twitchy," Sitake said. "It's really good to have him on campus. Guys like him and Tommy Prassas and others should be in high school right now, but they're here playing football. They're looking like they belong. It doesn't look like this is his first time playing college football. I've been really impressed with him and the others. That's why we recruited him - to come in and make some big-time plays for us."

It's no secret that BYU needed to upgrade the talent along the defensive line. The new defensive staff added multiple players that are projected to play either defensive tackle or defensive end. More are expected to join the program in time for Fall camp. Time will tell if the massive influx of talent can improve the product on the field right away. It might take a year or two for that talent to get settled in, but BYU's talent along the defensive line will be better than it's ever been under Kalani Sitake.

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