Though no BYU Cougars were selected during the 2020 draft, 21 opponents (2019) were drafted and will be making their professional debuts later this year.
1st round: Two former BYU opponents were drafted in the first round – USC OT Austin Jackson was selected by the (18 overall) and former Utah State QB Jordan Love (26 overall). Jackson was named first-team all-PAC-12 following his junior season. Though that was not his most impressive accomplishment of the year. Before the 2019 season, Jackson risked his football career and provided bone marrow for his little sister, Autumn, in an attempt to prolong her life. “The procedure I did, the bone marrow transplant, allows her body to accept my blood cells,” said Jackson. “Thank God we were a perfect match through blood testing. That allowed her to fully restart her system and her body is now producing red blood cells.” (NBC Sports)
Against the Cougars in 2019, Jordan Love completed 29 of his 49 attempted passes (59%) throwing for 394 yards including one touchdown and three INTs.
2nd round: Four more opponents were selected in the second round of the 2020 draft, namely Michael Pittman Jr. (USC) by the Colts, Darrell Taylor (Tennessee) by the Seahawks, Ezra Cleveland (Boise State) by the Vikings, and Jaylon Johnson (Utah) by the Bears.
Michael Pittman Jr. – a lethal wide receiver – had nine receptions for a total of 95 yards and 2 TDs against BYU. BYU fans might remember his longest reception in Lavell Edwards Stadium last year - a 30-yard catch in the 4th quarter that resulted in a touchdown.
3rd round: The University of Utah had three players selected in the third round of the Draft: Julian Blackmon (S-Colts), Zack Moss (RB-Bills), and Terrell Burgess (S/CB - Rams). All three former-Utes played at LaVell Edwards stadium in 2019. Zack Moss rushed for 187 yards and one touchdown. Blackmon and Burgess combined for a total of nine tackles on the night and Blackmon scored a touchdown after intercepting Zach Wilson in the second half.
4th round: Washington quarterback, Jacob Eason (Colts), Utah defensive tackle, Leki Fotu (Cardinals), and Liberty wide-receiver, Antonio Gandy-Golden (Redskins) were all selected in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. All three NFL draftees recorded stellar performances against BYU.
Eason completed 24 passes for 290 yards, including three touchdowns and one interception in a 45-19 victory over the Cougars. Leki Fotu had 4 tackles including two tackles for loss in the Utes 30-12 victory at LaVell Edwards Stadium. Gandy-Golden had 10 receptions for 162 yards including a 41-yard touchdown catch in his performance against BYU.
5th - 7th rounds: Nine more opponents were selected in rounds five through seven of the 2020 NFL Draft:
- SDSU’s Keith Ismael (C-Redskins)
- Washington’s Nick Harris (C-Browns)
- Boise State’s Curtis Weaver (DE-Dolphins) and John Hightower (WR-Eagles)
- Utah’s John Penisini (DT-Lions) and Bradlee Anae (DE-Cowboys)
- UMass’s Isaiah Rodgers (CB-Colts)
- Tennessee’s Jauan Jennings (WR-49ers)
- Hawaii’s Cole McDonald (QB-Titans).
BYU UDFA Deals: Three BYU players signed free-agent deals shortly after the draft. Running-back Ty’Son Williams, who suffered from an ACL injury during the Washington game, signed a free agent contract with the Baltimore Ravens. Dayan Ghanwoloku also signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Rams. Wide Receiver Aleva Hifo was the third BYU player to sign a free agent contract following the draft this season; he will join former Cougars Daniel Sorenson and Andy Reid as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs, Super Bowl LIV champions.
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