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Three Young Linebackers Emerging Midway Through BYU Spring Camp

Linebacker depth was a question mark heading into Spring camp

Coming into BYU's Spring camp, depth at linebacker was a question mark. Behind returning veterans Ben Bywater, Max Tooley, and Chaz Ah You, no BYU linebacker played more than 35 defensive snaps last season. Bywater and Tooley are dealing with injuries this Spring, giving younger linebackers more opportunity to establish their spots on the depth chart. BYU is midway through Spring camp, and three young linebackers have consistently been mentioned as standouts: Isaiah Glasker, Ace Kaufusi, and Maika Kaufusi. 

Glasker met with the media last week, and he confirmed that he, Ace Kaufusi, and Maika Kaufusi have been running with the first-team defense while the veterans are sidelined.  On if he's been running with the ones, Glasker said, "I have. Right now, it's really good. I'm not used to it yet, but we're starting to get there learning a new defense...with them being out, Ace and Maika Kaufusi, I've been running with them. We're all just getting better as practice goes on."

Isaiah Glasker - #16

Glasker was a local standout from Bingham High School that signed with BYU as part of the 2021 signing class. Glasker had a relationship with now BYU defensive coordinator Jay Hill in high school. Hill and Weber State offered Glasker a scholarship when he was at Bingham.

Glasker signed with the Cougars as a long athlete. Listed at 6'5, he played both wide receiver and safety in high school. His big frame stands out on the field, but it has been his physicality that has impressed Jay Hill and linebackers coach Justin Ena. “I think my skill set fits in nicely with the new coaching," Glasker said. "Jay Hill was looking for linebackers who are tough and can attack the ball, who aren’t scared to tackle anyone, and I feel like with the guys we have right now, we are pretty set."

Maika Kaufusi - #34

Maika Kaufusi, the younger brother of former BYU linebackers Isaiah Kaufusi and Jackson Kaufusi, is a freshman that signed with the Cougars in the 2022 class. After using his grayshirt last season, Maika officially joined the program in January.

Maika has always had good length at 6'4, but he was on the thin side in high school. On signing day, he was listed at 185 pounds. He looks like an entirely different player today. On the first day of Spring camp, he weighed in at 210 pounds, 25 pounds heavier than Signing Day.

Maika Kaufusi

Maika's older brother Isaiah was a difference maker in BYU's defense during his career - he played at 220 pounds as a senior. Maika has the athleticism to be as good as his older brother. If he can stay healthy, he will be a fixture in the two-deep at linebacker for years to come.

Ace Kaufusi - #19

Ace Kaufusi is the cousin of Maika Kaufusi. Ace signed with BYU back in 2020 before leaving to serve a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Kaufusi returned home in 2022 and used his grayshirt last season to shake the mission rust and prepare his body for 2023.

Ace Kaufusi

Kaufusi turned down competing offers from Utah and Utah State when he signed with BYU. He has a knack for getting into the backfield and using his quickness to finish plays.

BYU needed young linebackers to emerge during Spring camp, and these three have impressed enough to earn reps with the first-team defense. Have they eliminated the need to find another linebacker transfer portal? Time will tell. Their development will be a critical development for this BYU defense. Don't be surprised if Ace, Maika, and Isaiah are listed in the two-deep for the season opener against Sam Houston. 

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