Both Dick Harmon and Jeff Call of the Deseret News are reporting that RB Harvey Unga will return to BYU next season rather than jump to the NFL early. This obviously comes after Unga had submitted his name for draft consideration in order to determine his ranking among other backs heading to the pros. While there are few in-depth draft boards this early, it is very likely Unga wasn't projected among the Top 5 at his position and, as unbelievable as it may seem to Cougar fans or MWC followers, he probably wouldn't be projected within the Top 10 running backs coming out in 2010 either. At the very least the following are projected ahead of Unga:
C.J. Spiller, Clemson
Toby Gerhart, Stanford
Chris Brown, Oklahoma
Anthony Dixon, Mississippi State
Dexter McCluster, Mississippi
Charles Scott, LSU
Other possible prospects include: LeGarrette Blount, Oregon; Montario Hardesty, Tennessee; and Ben Tate, Auburn.
This means there would have been a less than stellar chance of being selected somewhere in the top four rounds as Austin Collie (Indianapolis) was last year.
So, great news for the Cougars and bad news for the Huskies, Seminoles and other defenses that No. 45 will collide with next season. Specifically though, Riley Nelson/Jake Heaps has to be thrilled as does the coaching staff. Unga's return, combined with DiLuigi and Kariya, will make BYU's backfield terrific yet again. It could also allow incoming freshman Joshua Quezada to redshirt and learn from the best.
Here's a look at where Unga stands in BYU football history:
|Player, Years||Rush Yards||Carries||Yards/Carry||Rush TD||Rec. Yards.||Receptions||TD Rec.||Total TD|
|Harvey Unga, 2006-Present||3,455||696||4.96||36||1,085||102||9||45|
|Curtis Brown, 2002, 2004-06||3,221||641||5.02||31||1,309||157||5||36|
|Jamal Willis, 1991-94||2,970||584||5.09||35||1,095||77||5||40|
|Lakei Heimuli, 1983-86||2,710||605||4.48||30||1,123||139||2||32|
|Jeff Blanc, 1973-76||2,663||625||4.26||21||861||71||8||29|
|Luke Staley, 1999-2001||2,493||418||5.96||41||1,000||86||7||48|
|Pete Van Valkenberg, 1970-72||2,392||456||5.25||25||280||25||1+||26+|