BYU center James Empey is the first Cougar to declare for the NFL draft.

The 6-4, 303-pound center from American Fork annouced his intent to enter the 2022 draft on Twitter on Monday night.

Empey was at BYU for five seasons, from 2017 to 2021. He redshirted in 2017 and got an extra year due to COVID, which meant the 2020 season didn’t count in terms of eligibility for all players.

Empey played 41 games over four years for BYU, starting all of them. He was a captain for BYU in 2021 and 2020. He was injured in 2021 and didn’t play in BYU’s final five games.

“I want to express my gratitude to all coaches past and present, football staff, and especially my teammates for believing in me and pushing me to. be my best self in all aspects of life. You have influenced my life in more ways than just football,” Empey wrote.

“I also want to express my gratitude for my wonderful wife and family who have supported me through everything.”