The praise continues to come in for BYU’s junior center James Empey. Offensive linemen often go under the radar, but those that study offensive line play recognize James Empey as one of the best interior lineman in college football.
The latest praise for Empey came from Pro Football Focus. PFF named the most underrated player at every position heading into 2020 and chose Empey for the center spot. Below is the excerpt from PFF:
There hasn’t been a better center in pass protection over the past two years than James Empey. He has a top-ranked PFF pass-blocking grade in that stretch and his grade on true pass sets — the most predictive measure for offensive line play — ranked behind only 2020 first-round pick Cesar Ruiz. And he’s also been a top-three run blocker in PFF grade over that span, too. You’re not going to get a more reliable player at center in college football than Empey. Yet, he’s gotten little to no recognition for it.
BYU hasn’t had an offensive lineman drafted in the NFL since Scott Young in 2005, but Empey is sure to change that whether he declares after his junior or senior season. Empey isn’t the only highly regarded offensive lineman on BYU’s roster, as junior left tackle Brady Christensen is the highest rated returning player according to PFF.
Top 10 #BYU returners in 2020— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) April 13, 2020
1. Brady Christiansen, OT
2. Zach Wilson, QB
3. James Empey, C
4. Matt Bushman, TE
5. Payton Wilgar, LB
6. Isaiah Kaufusi, LB
7. Kavika Fonua, LB
8. Lopini Katoa, RB
9. Chaz Ah You, LB
10. Khyiris Tonga, DI
HM: Herring + Hoge, Romney (WR)
Christensen and Empey have both started all 26 games of their BYU career and are the anchor of what is expected to be a strong and experienced BYU offensive line in 2020.