BYU Football: Post Spring Practice 2-Deep Depth Chart
Coach Bronco Mendenhall released a post-spring depth chart for his BYU Cougars last week, and despite many surprises on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball, the position groups look solid.
Kyle Van Noy will anchor last year's third-ranked defense, and despite an incredibly young line and freshly-stocked secondary, there is much to look forward to. Taysom Hill will try to enforce Robert Anae's new, high-tempo offense with plenty of new faces both on the field and on the staff.
But who else will start for the Cougars, and what can we look for following spring practice? Here is a two-deep depth chart, along with plenty of analysis and insight.
Depth charts via BYU Spring Prospectus.
Before moving on to the next slide, take a minute to think about the victims and victims' families of the horrific explosions today in Boston. Keep them in your thoughts and prayers throughout the week and remember that there are things much, much bigger than sports.
(Starters highlighted in bold)
QB - Taysom Hill, Ammon Olsen
WR - Cody Hoffman, Skyler Ridley; Ross Apo, Mitch Mathews
Slot - JD Falslev, Eric Thornton
TE - Brett Thompson or Kaneakua Friel
RB - Michael Alisa, Jamaal Williams; Adam Hine, Paul Lasike
HB - Iona Pritchard, Kaneakua Friel
LG - Ryker Mathews, Brad Wilcox
LT - Solomone Kafu, Tui Crichton
C - Terrance Alletto, Manaaki Vaitai
RT - Kyle Johnson, Brock Stringham
RG- Michael Yeck, Cole Jones
Quarterback Taysom Hill will enter the fall as the starter at his respective position, with Ammon Olsen backing him up. Hill, a sophomore who transferred from Stanford before an LDS mission, started two games last year before injuring his knee. Olsen transferred from Southern Utah before a mission, and has not yet seen the field at BYU.
Jamaal Williams and Michael Alisa will lead the running backs. Williams topped the team in rushing as a freshman last season after Alisa went out with an arm injury. Their backups will be junior Paul Lasike and sophomore Adam Hine.
Iona Pritchard has been named the starter at half back, with tight end/HB Kaneakua Friel as the second-string. Pritchard hasn't been a huge part of BYU's rushing attack, with only 13 carries in his two-year career. Friel has made an impact on the passing game, but it is yet to be determined how large of a role he will play in the backfield.
Cody Hoffman and Skyler Ridley have stolen the starting roles at receiver for the Cougars and should have big campaigns in the new offensive system. Hoffman surprised many with his decision to stay at BYU for his senior year, and if the last couple of seasons are any indication, he is set for a breakout season.
Ridley has not been a huge threat in the Cougar offense, but has been praised for his toughness and is surely capable of the role. He and Hoffman got the starting nods over Ross Apo and Mitch Mathews, two very good players.
Lining up in the slot, senior JD Falslev will return to lead the Cougars. A former walk-on, Falslev grabbed the starting role from Eric Thornton, his backup. Although the other receiving spots are taken, the tight end spot is still up for grabs. Experienced senior Kaneakua Friel is battling junior Brett Thompson for the role, and it is yet to be seen who will start at the position.
In a position battle that lasted throughout spring, sophomore Terrance Alletto took the starting role at center from seasoned veteran Maanaki Vaitai, something that surprised many of us. Alletto is fresh off an LDS mission, and it seems that he will be in great shape to start the season.
At guard, Solomone Kafu will protect the left side and Kyle Johnson will protect the right. Johnson is a redshirt freshman from Sandy, Utah, and Kafu is a junior that saw plenty of time on the field last season. Backing the pair up is Brock Stringham and Tui Crichton.
Anchoring the tackle position is 6'8" Michael Yeck, who will be flanked by Ryker Mathews on the left side. Both have started many games in their BYU careers, and will only see more playing time this year. Cole Jones and Brad Wilcox, both freshman, will be the second-string tackles.
LE - Bronson Kaufusi, Michal Doman/Austin Holt
NT - Eathyn Manumaleuna, Marques Johnson/Tuni Kanuch
RE - Remington Peck, Logan Taele
SLB - Spencer Hadley, Alani Fua
MLB - 'Uani Unga, Toala'i Ho Ching
BLB - Tyler Beck, Manoa Pikula
WLB - Kyle Van Noy, Jherremya Leuta-Douyere
FC - Jordan Johnson, Adam Hogan
BC - Mike Hague, Jacob Hannemann
KAT - Daniel Sorensen, Michael Wadsworth
FS - Craig Bills, Blake Morgan
Sophomore Bronson Kaufusi, a rare multi-sport athlete, will take over the void that Ezekiel Ansah left at left end, and he'll be supported by Remington Peck on his right. Despite being freshmen last season, both players saw significant playing time for their class. Backing them up will be Austin Holt and Logan Taele.
Eathyn Manumaleuna will center the defensive line for the Cougs at nose tackle, a spot he has had much experience with. A senior, Manumaleuna has led the Cougars to some of the best defensive years in their history.
Marques Johnson, a junior, will likely be the second-string.
As a superstar athlete that has the potential to be a Heisman candidate next season, Kyle Van Noy will return to BYU to lead a promising group of linebackers. Paired with Van Noy is another senior, Spencer Hadley, who could also have a great year. Behind them are Alani Fua and Jherremya Leuta-Douyere, two solid-looking linebackers.
The core of the 3-4 defense are BYU's middle linebackers who, despite losing both Brandon Ogletree and Uona Kaveinga, could be a great unit. 'Uani Unga is a senior that has shown streaks of promise in limited playing time, and Tyler Beck is an upperclassmen that has similar potential. Second-stringers include Toloa'i Ho Ching and Manoa Pikula.
Jordan Johnson and Mike Hague will lead an athletic group of cornerbacks this season, and although the depth behind them is extremely young, there is plenty of time for that talent to develop. Johnson and Hague will surely be pivotal players in the Cougar defense, and freshmen Adam Hogan and Jacob Hammerman will learn from them as time wears on.
Daniel Sorensen and Craig Bills will return to engineer the safety position, as both are seasoned veterans that will be difference-makers in the Cougars' success or failure. BYU will play five teams that finished in the top 40 of pass efficiency last year, and the secondary (especially the safeties) will be reliant to defend the passing game.