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Some BYU players lost before season started

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PROVO — Two players from BYU's 2006 recruiting class who were expected to make an impact in the fall never played a down.

Cornerback Brandon Bradley, who signed with Louisville before serving an LDS mission, and center Tom Sorensen, who played a year at Vanderbilt before a mission, were among the Cougars' prize recruits last February.

But Bradley suffered a season-ending knee injury days before fall camp opened, and Sorensen suffered a season-ending knee injury a couple of weeks later during camp.

Meanwhile, quarterback Max Hall, who played at Arizona State prior to missionary service, was ruled ineligible due to NCAA transfer rules and did not see action. Hall did run BYU's scout team in practices, however.

Fortunately for BYU, several members of the 2006 class did contribute on the field.

Offensively, three recruits made an immediate impact. Wide receiver McKay Jacobson, who graduated early from high school and enrolled at BYU last January, enjoyed an outstanding campaign. He was BYU's third-leading receiver, hauling in 26 passes for 521 yards (averaging a team-high 20 yards per catch) and three touchdowns.

Jacobson also played on the Cougar kickoff return teams. His 77-yard punt return for a touchdown in a 55-7 rout of Wyoming in November was BYU's first punt return for TD in 113 games. Prior to that, the last Cougar to return a punt for a score was Jaron Dabney on Oct. 18, 1997, in a 17-3 victory over Hawaii.

Freshman Mike Hague (Brighton High) signed as a running back, then was moved to defensive back during fall camp. A couple of weeks into fall camp, due to injuries to Nate Meikle and Bryce Mahuika, coaches moved Hague to H-back.

Hague's memorable moment of the season came in the waning minutes of a rout of UNLV, when he took a handoff, bounced off a few would-be tacklers and sprinted for an 87-yard touchdown. He finished the season rushing for 156 yards on 21 carries.

Offensive lineman Ryan Freeman (Orem High) was pressed into duty due to a spate of injuries on the offensive line. In a backup role, Freeman played center, guard and tackle during the season.

On the defensive line, freshmen Ian Dulan, Romney Fuga, and Matangi Tonga each played well up front for the Cougar defense. Dulan, who was 17 last fall, started the first four games and earned another start against UNLV before suffering a broken leg in practice.

Fuga and Tonga were solid in reserve roles on the D-line. Fuga had nine tackles, including two tackles for loss, while Tonga recorded 13 tackles, a sack for a loss of 13 yards, and an interception. On Monday, coach Bronco Mendenhall suspended Tonga indefinitely for violating team rules.

E-mail: jeffc@desnews.com