Hey, it’s time for football! After BYU wrapped up a disappointing 4-9 season November 25, spring football begins March 5 with a revamped coaching staff. All eyes will be on new offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes as he implements his new offense, whatever style it may.
QB will no doubt be the most watched position, as Tanner Mangum, Beau Hoge, Joe Critchlow, Kody Wilstead, Zach Wilson, Stacy Conner, Baylor Romney and Jaren Hall (returns from mission in summer) will compete to be the day one starter over the coming months.
Here are 5 offensive guys to keep an eye with Spring ball starting up:
Zach Wilson, QB
You could list pretty much anyone of the QB’s here that will be vying for the starting spot, but we’ll start with the promising true freshman from Draper. Wilson is an early enrollee and will get a chance to prove himself as BYU searches for its starting QB. With Tanner Mangum recovering from achilles surgery and Beau Hoge’s availability still up in the air with lingering concussion and foot problems, Wilson will get a chance to shine.
Wilson has a lot of natural talent with his big arm and ability to scramble, and he came to BYU over other P5 schools with the intention to compete for playing time right away. Watching him on film, he has that “it” factor you love to see in QB’s with his ability to improvise and make plays. Don’t sleep on the true freshman.
Zach Katoa, RB
Who? Squally Canada and Ula Tolutau are at the top of the RB depth chart, and rightfully so, but the former Oregon State signee will look to push for playing time after coming off a redshirt year. Katoa reportedly tore it up on the scout team last season, and was a prep star at American Fork.
Tolutau’s conditioning and development is something to keep an eye on as well, but look for Katoa to turn some heads during Spring.
Tristen Hoge, OL
After sitting out last year due to transfer rules, the former #1 prep center in the country will look to make a big impact after coming over from Notre Dame. Hoge can play any position along the offensive line, but will likely play guard or center. If redshirt freshman James Empey can handle the load at center, look for Hoge to play one of the guard spots.
As the highest rated recruit on BYU’s roster, expectations are sky high for the sophomore lineman.
Joe Tukuafu, TE
After sitting out last season due to transfer rules, Tukuafu is ready to play as a redshirt freshman. Even with his 6-4, 275 lbs frame, Tukuafu is surprisingly agile. With his size and agility, don’t be surprised if coaches give him a look at offensive tackle.
With Moroni Laulu-Pututau set to return after missing all of last year with a foot injury, tight end looks like one of the best and most productive units on the team.
Austin Kafentzis, RB/WR/QB
BYU lacked playmakers last season, but Kafentzis showed the ability to make plays happen when called upon. Kafentzis was mainly used as a wildcat QB, but took snaps as a running back as well during the season. Kafentizis’ best game of the year came in the finale versus Hawaii, where he carried the ball 18 times for 98 yards, including a rush of 18 yards.
With the amount of bodies at running back, coaches may experiment in switching Kafentzis over to the slot. Wherever he plays, BYU needs to find more ways to get Kafentzis the ball and let him make plays.