BYU Defensive Position Battles to Watch in 2020
The likelihood of a college football season improved this week when the NCAA announced that voluntary workouts could resume on campuses beginning June 1. In celebration of that news, let's take a closer look at the position battles I'm monitoring on defense.
Cornerback Opposite of Wilcox
Chris Wilcox is BYU's best option at Cornerback when he's healthy. The Cornerback spot opposite of Wilcox is up for grabs. D'Angelo Mandell is probably the favorite to land the starting job, but Isaiah Herron, Shamon Willis, Keenan Ellis, Dimitri Gallow, and newcomer Jacques Wilson can't be counted out. Jaylon Vickers is home from his mission as well and he could compete for time depending on how quickly he can get in football shape after his mission.
BYU moved to a four-man front on defense during spring football. The change of scheme will change what the coaches are looking for at Defensive End. In addition, Devin Kaufusi transferred to Utah leaving BYU with a need to find another guy at DE.
In my eyes, both Defensive End spots are up for grabs. I expect Uriah Leaiataua to take a step forward and win one of those spots if he is healthy. Zac Dawe is another guy that will compete for a starting job. Alden Tofa will be an upper-classman - he has all the tools to compete for time but he hasn't been able to find a consistent role. I'm monitoring which newcomers can find a spot in the rotation. I expect at least one of the newcomers Tyler Batty, Seleti Fevaleaki, Fisher Jackson, or Alema Pilimai (position changed from TE) to find a spot in the rotation. Seleti Fevaleaki has the best shot in my eyes.
Free Safety & Strong Safety
Losing Austin Lee is a major loss for BYU. Zayne Anderson has moved to Defensive Back and I expect him to win the Free Safety starting job if he is healthy. Troy Warner looked excellent during spring ball and I expect him to win the strong safety spot. I'm interested to watch where guys like George Udo, Hayden Livingston, and Malik Moore fit into the picture. Max Tooley moved to Free Safety during spring - Tooley seems like a guy should be on the field if BYU wants their best 11 on the field. I'm monitoring where Tooley will play for BYU.
BYU is loaded at Linebacker. I'm excited to see who emerges from this talented group. Isaiah Kaufusi will start, Payton Wilgar should be on the field. Keenan Pili showed a lot of promise. Then there's Kavika Fonua who lead BYU in tackles last season. You can't forget Pepe Tanuvasa who transferred from Navy and showed well on scout team last year.
Where does Chaz Ah You fit into all of this? If BYU sticks with the 4-2-5, I expect Chaz Ah You to be the fifth Defensive Back. Chaz is a player that needs to be on the field for BYU.
Want to share opinions or ask questions? We want to hear them! Making a profile is free and it only takes ~1 minute to set up. Also, be sure to like us on social media for future coverage:
Facebook - @BYUSportsIllustrated
Instagram - @BYU_SI