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BYU Football Position Previews: Wide Receivers

Previewing BYU's 2021 group of wide receivers

BYU and Arizona kick off in 45 days. With the football season around the corner, it's time to kick off our 2021 position previews. Let's start with the wide receivers. 

Below are the wide receivers that were on the Spring roster.

Neil Pau'u and Miles Davis vs North Alabama

Reviewing the Spring Roster

Returned Missionaries (Number, Name)

NA

Transfers (Number, Name)

NA

Returning Players (Number, Name)

  • 30 Luc Andrada
  • 26 - Jacob Boren
  • 85 - Brayden Cosper
  • 0 - Kody Epps
  • 88 - Terence Fall
  • 36 - Talmage Gunther
  • 1 - Keanu Hill
  • 29 - Tevita Ika
  • 5 - Chris Jackson
  • 89 - Kade Moore
  • 23 - Hobbs Nyberg
  • 2 - Neil Pau'u
  • 18 - Gunner Romney

2020 Grayshirts

NA

Other Newcomers

  • 28 Tanner Wall

Following Spring practices, Colorado native Luc Andrada entered the transfer portal. Andrada played quarterback in high school, but he was fast enough to caught the attention of BYU's staff as an athlete late in the 2019 recruiting cycle. Andrada bounced around from wide receiver to running back during his time at BYU before entering the transfer portal.

Newcomers will Play a Major Role in 2021

Puka Nacua

BYU will welcome a few notable notable wide receivers into the fold this season. Brothers Puka Nacua and Samson Nacua will likely play important roles for the Cougars. BYU also welcomed home Chase Roberts from his mission. Roberts was a highly-touted recruit out of American Fork High School when he signed with BYU as part of the 2019 class.

Maguire Anderson is a PWO from Florida who will join the program this Fall.

Newcomers

  • 12 - Puka Nacua
  • 45 - Samson Nacua
  • TBD - Chase Roberts
  • TBD Maguire Anderson

Breakout Candidates

With each preview, we'll talk about three players from each position group that could have breakout seasons in 2021.

1. Neil Pau'u

I use the term "breakout" loosely with Pau'u  - last season could have been considered a breakout year for him after he amassed 603 receiving yards on 45 receptions. Pau'u has an ability to find the openings in zone coverage and gain yardage after the catch. Given the loss of Dax Milne and Neil's experience in BYU's system, I expect him to have a great 2021 season.

2. Chris Jackson

Coming out of Spring practices, Chris Jackson was listed as a starter alongside Neil Pau'u and Gunner Romney. Jackson brings a unique skillset to the WR room with his speed. I expect Jackson to be the next WR in line behind Romney, Pau'u, and the Nacua brothers. 

3. Keanu Hill

Keanu Hill has showed potential in limited reps over the last two seasons. In 2019, Keanu appeared in the Idaho State game where he had 40 receiving yards on 3 receptions. His best reception of that game was actually called back by a holding penalty - Hill kept one foot inbounds as he caught a deep pass from Joe Critchlow. In 2020, Hill's best game came against Texas State where he had 39 receiving yards on 2 receptions.

Keanu Hill stretches for the goal line against Idaho State.

Hill played in a run-heavy offense in high school and had limited opportunities to showcase his talent. As a result, Hill flew under the radar as a recruit - BYU and Wyoming were Hill's only offers. BYU was happy to land Hill's services and 2020 might be the year that BYU fans understand why.

Projected Depth Chart

Below is the post-spring depth chart at wide receiver.

Wide Receiver

  1. Neil Pau'u
  2. Kody Epps OR Hobbs Nyberg
  1. Gunner Romney
  2. Brayden Cosper OR Kade Moore
  1. Chris Jackson
  2. Keanu Hill OR Terence Fall

With the addition of the Nacua brothers and Chase Roberts, this is my projected depth chart for BYU-Arizona:

Wide Receiver

  1. Neil Pau'u
  2. Kody Epps OR Chase Roberts
  1. Gunner Romney
  2. Brayden Cosper OR Kade Moore
  1. Puka Nacua OR Samson Nacua
  2. Keanu Hill OR Chris Jackson

Traditionally, BYU lists three starters at wide receiver. However, I four starters out of this group: Gunner Romney, Neil Pau'u, Samson Nacua, and Puka Nacua. For the sake of maintaining the usual format, I listed Puka and Samson as co-starters. Regardless of format, I expect both Nacua brothers to start this season.

Notes

Kody Epps and French native Terence Fall were limited in Spring practices due to injury. If Epps is healthy, he has the talent to crack the rotation this season.

Terence Fall is a really interesting story. Fall is from France where he started playing tackle football. He decided to pursue his dream of playing college football so he came to the United States as a foreign exchange student. BYU's staff discovered Fall and offered him a scholarship. Fall is raw, but has the talent to contribute after a few years in a D1 program. Fall suffered an ACL injury last season that ended his season.

Quenton Rice signed with BYU as an athlete. He could play wide receiver, but sources have indicated that he will start out at defensive back. 

Preferred walk-ons have made a name for themselves over the years at BYU, especially at wide receiver. Kade Moore, Hobbs Nyberg, and Tanner Wall are three PWO receivers to watch.