BYU received a massive boost to its offensive line Monday afternoon. BYU officially announced the additions of Tristen Hoge and James Empey, son of offensive line coach Mike Empey.
Hoge is a transfer from Notre Dame. In 2015, ESPN had him rated as the #1 center in the country and a top-150 prospect. The Pocatello, Idaho native had offers from schools such as LSU, Florida, Stanford, Washington, Penn State, Utah, among a boat load of others. He was primarily a backup during his time at Notre Dame, playing in 6 games this past season.
The 6’5”, 303 lbs redshirt sophomore will have 3 years of eligibility remaining. If he does not receive a waiver for the upcoming season, he will be a redshirt junior in the 2018 season. The timing would coincide when senior Tejan Koroma graduates.
The official release does not indicate that Hoge will definitely sit out the 2017 season, so there is a possibility that he could receive a waiver to be immediately eligible. Since he did not play a down a freshman season, he would be a redshirt sophomore in 2017.
Hoge is the cousin of BYU quarterback Beau Hoge.
Empey recently returned from an LDS mission in Portugal and will be immediately eligible to play this season. A University of Utah signee prior to his mission, Empey is following his father and current offensive line coach Mike Empey to Provo.
Empey will likely play in the interior of the offensive line at guard while at BYU. Out of high school, the American Fork product had offers out of Oregon State, Utah, Washington and Washington State. Empey’s addition will bring needed depth and competition to BYU’s offensive line.
It can be easy to overhype transfer news and new additions, but this a huge coup for Kalani and his staff. Kalani wants to make his mark along the lines, and these additions are huge impact guys that could and should be multi-year starters along the offensive line. James Empey will push for playing time this season, and both will likely be 2 of the 5 starting offensive linemen in the 2018 season. The fact that BYU landed someone with the pedigree and talent like Hoge speaks to the vision and program that Sitake and company are building in Provo.
Get excited, Cougar fans. BYU is adding some real talent.