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BYU football by position


Max Hall, 6-1, 201, Sr.

Hall is a senior and, traditionally at BYU, senior quarterbacks win conference championships and post huge numbers. After struggling at the end of last year, Hall looks more poised and he has worked hard to improve. His backup is sophomore Riley Nelson, who will be a candidate to replace Hall next spring.

Running backs

Harvey Unga, 6-0, 237, Jr.

Manase Tonga, 6-0, 238, Sr.

The Unga-Tonga duo was a smash success in 2007 before Tonga was ruled ineligible for the 2008 season. Reunited in the backfield, Unga and Tonga are expected to provide the Cougars with an outstanding rushing attack. Tonga is a versatile back, known for his blocking, running and ability to catch passes.

Tight end

Dennis Pitta, 6-5, 247, Sr.

The All-America candidate enjoyed a phenomenal junior campaign, catching 83 passes for 1,083 yards and six touchdowns. Pitta had a great fall camp and appears primed for a big senior season. His backup, Andrew George, is also a standout tight end who will catch a lot of passes.

Wide receivers

McKay Jacobson, 5-11, 189, Soph.

O'Neill Chambers, 6-2, 210, Soph.

Austin Collie has moved on, but the Cougars have plenty of young talent at this position, headlined by Jacobson and Chambers. Both players have big-play potential. They'll be joined by junior Luke Ashworth, sophomore Spencer Hafoka and true freshman Brett Thompson.

Offensive line

Matt Reynolds, 6-6, 329, Soph.

Marco Thorson, 6-3, 321, Soph.

R.J. Willing, 6-5, 308, Sr.

Terence Brown, 6-3, 340, Soph.

Nick Alletto, 6-6, 329, Jr.

The new-look O-line was tested during fall camp, with injuries to Matt Reynolds (broken hand), Jason Speredon (season-ending torn rotator cuff injury) and Houston Reynolds (season-ending knee injury). But that's given others, such as Thorson and freshman Braden Hansen opportunities to get plenty of work. The line will be tested early against Oklahoma.

Defensive line

Jan Jorgensen, 6-3, 259, Sr.

Russell Tialavea, 6-3, 266, Sr.

Brett Denney, 6-4, 260, Sr.

With three seasoned seniors manning the D-line, the Cougars should be solid up front. Jorgensen, the all-time MWC leader in sacks, is the heart and soul of the defense. Tialavea postponed his mission for a month so he could play this season. Denney is unheralded but is comparable to Jorgensen and Tialalvea.


Jordan Pendleton, 6-2, 228, Soph.

Matt Bauman, 6-1, 229, Sr.

Terrance Hooks, 6-1, 227, Sr.

Coleby Clawson, 6-3, 265, Sr.

With the exception of converted safety Pendleton, who will play in his first game as a linebacker in the season-opener, the Cougars have plenty of experience at this position. There's good depth, too, with Shawn Doman, Grant Nelson, Jordan Atkinson, Shane Hunter and Brandon Ogletree in the mix.


Scott Johnson, 5-11, 188, Sr.

Andrew Rich, 6-4, 222, Jr.

The Cougars will need both Johnson and Rich to be very solid in order for the defense to be successful this season -- especially since BYU is breaking in a new group of cornerbacks. Johnson, who played cornerback last season, is more comfortable, and effective, at the safety spot.


Brandon Bradley, 6-0, 200, Jr.

Robbie Buckner, 5-10, 175, Fr.

While Bradley and Buckner were penciled in as starters at one point, their injuries during fall camp allowed junior college transfers Lee Aguirre, Brian Logan and Corby Eason to see a lot of action during fall camp. Don't be surprised if all five players contribute this season.


PK/P: Mitch Payne, 6-2, 210, Jr.

PK/P: Riley Stephenson, 6-0, 183, Fr.

Payne struggled during fall camp with his field goal kicking, which remains a concern for the Cougars. On the other hand, Stephenson has impressed with booming punts that should pin opposing teams deep in their own end zone.

RT: McKay Jacobson

RT: O'Neill Chambers

Jacobson and Chambers are expected to handle kick return duties while Jacobson should be BYU's primary punt returner. Jacobson returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown as a freshman in 2006.