BYU got some good news as starting offensive lineman Joe Tukuafu announced he would return to BYU for a sixth season in 2022. Tukuafu made the announcement on his Instagram. “See you in September, Cougar Nation!”
Tukuafu played in 12 of BYU’s 13 games this past season mainly at right guard, starting in nine of them. He missed the Baylor game due to injury. This was after a 2020 season where he started 4 of the 9 games he played in. Tukuafu has mainly played at right guard while at BYU, but has also started a handful of games at center after starting his career as a tight end.
A member of the 2014 recruiting class (not a typo!), Tukuafu signed with Utah State before his mission. He came to BYU after his mission and had to redshirt as a freshman in 2017 when Utah State wouldn’t release him from his letter of intent. After being in the tight end room in 2018 and 2019, Tukuafu switched to offensive line before the 2020 season.
Tukuafu has 13 games of starting experience under his belt and will be part of an experienced and talented offensive line. BYU loses James Empey at center, who missed multiple games due to injury, but return every other player of significance and add 5-Star Oregon Transfer Kingsley Suamataia.
Blake Freeland and Clark Barrington started every game on the left side and will anchor that side once again. Connor Pay returns as center, Tukuafu at right guard, and Harris LaChance and Campbell Barrington both started at right tackle. Kingsley figures to start at right tackle opposite of Freeland, meaning BYU will have both experience and depth on the line next season.