BYU will be one of the more experienced teams in the nation heading into 2020, and the Cougars add additional experience with an influx of some key transfers. BYU’s current scholarship crunch kept coaches from adding an additional graduate transfer to the mix, but BYU added a few guys that should make an impact during the 2020 season.
Below is our ranking of the top 5 new Division One transfers that will contribute this season:
1) Devonta’e Henry-Cole, Running Back, Utah
Henry-Cole committed to BYU in early February and will have one season to play in Provo as a fifth-year senior. He primarily played in the 2017 and 2019 seasons for and rushed for 469 yards and 4 TDs on 5.2 ypc during his Utah career. He had a career high 79 rushing yards versus Washington State this last season.
Henry-Cole is expected to compete for the starting running back position right away with Lopini Katoa, Sione Finau (if healthy), and Jackson McChesney. Standing at 5-foot-8 and 195 pounds, Henry-Cole is a shifty back who is well built for his size. He had some injury issues at Utah, including a wrist injury which caused him to redshirt and miss the 2018 season, but he showed his ability when given the opportunity.
Henry-Cole was stuck in a deep running back room at Utah and came to Provo with hopes of more playing time. He will look to get revenge versus his old team in the season opener and will be a key part of BYU’s offense if he can shake some of the injury issues that stalled him at Utah.
2) Mo Unutoa, Offensive Lineman, Utah
A redshirt junior, Unutoa was at one point on the two-deep of Utah’s offensive line but only saw action in one game during his time there. He will compete for a starting spot at either right tackle or guard, but he has some stiff competition versus a very experienced offensive line. If he doesn’t start, he should be in the two-deep and could find his way into one of the starting spots depending on what happens with injuries. Regardless, Unutoa adds depth and gives BYU one of its best offensive lines in years.
3) Pepe Tanuvasa, Linebacker, Navy
Tanuvasa sat out for BYU last year due to NCAA transfer rules and will be a junior this season, according to BYU’s official roster. Tanuvasa played in all 13 games for the Midshipmen in 2018 and recorded 32 tackles. BYU has a crowded linebacker room, but Tanuvasa has shown enough that he will see the field. Tanuvasa plays primarily inside linebacker and would likely be utilized more when BYU goes with 3-4 formations, something BYU often favored last season.
4) Dalton Nixon, Tight End, BYU Basketball
All signs point to Nixon switching from the the hardwood to the gridiron in 2020 as a fifth-year senior. The 6-foot-7 forward/tight end has not played football at the Division one level but possesses the size and toughness to be an intriguing wild card. He has already been training to get ready for the season.
Good workouts this week with Casteel (AZ) Quarterback Dane Christensen. Hard worker and he’s got a cannon! @DChristensen_12 @kalanifsitake @coachgrimey @Jasen_AhYou @CoachRoderick pic.twitter.com/VOY8jY5o6u— Dalton Nixon (@dnixon33) May 16, 2020
BYU has a crowded tight end room as it is and Nixon has an uphill battle to climb with only one offseason to prepare, but there have been instances of basketball players transitioning well to football. If anything, Dalton could be another redzone target to help improve BYU’s lackluster scoring ability inside the 20.
5) Theo Dawson, Running Back, Wyoming
Dawson is one of two Wyoming transfers new to the roster along with linebacker Chase Hughes. Dawson was was Wyoming’s 2015 Gatorade Player of the Year and set a state record with 489 rushing yards in a game. He also was an effective linebacker in high school, so he could switch to defense. Dawson is a sophomore and could possibly contribute at some point in his BYU career, but it’s unlikely we see much from him this season.