clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

BYU Football Positional Preview: Defensive Backs

BYU has a talented defensive back group. They are looking to take another step in becoming a force for opposing offenses to reckon with.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 27 BYU at USC Photo by Jordon Kelly/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Let’s take a look at the depth chart at the various defensive back positions for BYU.

CINCO

George Udo

Udo has seen plenty of action over the last few seasons in Provo. In 2020, he played in 11 of the 12 games and was all over the field. He totaled 25 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and three sacks. He is a valuable and versatile part of this defensive back unit.

Matt Criddle

Entering his fifth season in the program, Criddle has been a valuable depth player. He hasn’t been a full-time starter but has found multiple ways to contribute. With the immense talent returning and newfound players coming into the program, snaps as a starter might be hard to come by for Criddle. However, he has shown a willingness to play a certain role as a reserve and it suits him nicely.

NICKEL

Jakob Robinson

A Utah State transfer, Robinson made an instant impact during his freshman season in Provo last year. He played in 12 of the 13 games, starting five. His three interceptions tied for the team lead. He notched two interceptions in one game against Georgia Southern. His ball skills are impressive. He clearly made an impression around the country as he was named Second-Team Freshman All-America by The Athletic and First Team All-Independent Defense by Pro Football Network. He earned a solid 69.8 overall grade from Pro Football Focus. His future is as bright as any defensive back in Provo.

Jacob Boren

The Highland, UT native enters his fourth season in the program. He played in all 13 games last season and was a standout on special teams. He collected five tackles both against Washington State and USC.

Caleb Christensen

As a reserve and on special teams, Christensen has appeared in 20 games over the last two seasons. He notched an interception in 2020.

Strong Safety

Ammon Hannemann

He made four starts and played in 10 total games last season. He collected six tackles in back-to-back games against USF and Utah State. He is listed among the starters on the defense to start 2022. Micah Harper will bounce around and make an impact in multiple spots. Hannemann will get a chance to take big chunk of snaps at safety this season. He has earned it.

Micah Harper

After a solid 2020, Harper suffered a season-ending injury before 2021 even began. He is looking to return to form and be even better. By all accounts, he looks bigger and better than ever. He will be used in a variety of ways by Ilaisa Tuiaki and his staff. His ferocity with which he tackles makes him a valuable asset to this defense.

Talan Alfrey

The Auburn, WA native enters his second season with BYU. He appeared in the season finale in the Independence Bowl after missing most of the season with an injury. He will look to get a full season under his belt.

Free Safety

Malik Moore

The San Diego, CA native is one of the most gifted athletes on BYU’s entire roster. He started every single game last season, accounting for 32 tackles and three interceptions, which tied the team high. Pro Football Focus glowed about Moore, giving him a favorable 70.7 grade. He was named to Pro Football Network’s All-Independent First Team Defense as well as Phil Steele’s All-Independent Second Team Defense. He is one of the more experienced and talented defenders BYU has to offer.

Hayden Livingston

Livingston has notched starts in multiple seasons at BYU. He notched two interceptions and two pass breakups. He will be used in a myriad of ways as the defensive back room is more crowded. He will still find a way to stand out.

Cornerback 1

D’Angelo Mandell

For four straight seasons, Mandell has notched at least one start on BYU’s defense at cornerback. Last year, he started all 13 games, which was rare since the defense suffered so many critical injuries. Mandell was a stalwart and mainstay during a tumultuous season. He had his ups and downs but had four pass breakups and overall, was a reliable player. He will be relied upon even more this season.

Evan Johnson

Johnson enters his first year in the program out of Monterrey, CA. He was a three-sport athlete who was recruited by multiple Power 5 programs including Arizona State, Boston College, and Vanderbilt.

Zion Allen

Allen is a true freshman entering the program from Manteca High School in Stockton, CA.

Nate Gillis

Gillis is another San Diego, CA area recruit. He enters his first year on campus.

Cornerback 2

Kaleb Hayes

Last season, Hayes ended up being the highest-graded defensive back from BYU by Pro Football Focus. He garnered a 71.8 grade for his efforts in 2021. The former Oregon State transfer appeared in all 13 games last year, starting in 10. He led the entire team with 12 pass breakups, including four against USC alone. He was named Pro Football Network Independent Defensive Back of the Year. He will look to build on that strong campaign and have an even better year in 2022.

Gabe Jeudy-Lally

The biggest acquisition on the defense came by way of Vanderbilt in Jeudy-Lally. With the Commodores last season, he faced some of the fiercest and fastest receivers college football has to offer in the SEC. He collected 50 tackles and one interception. He offers a different perspective and a bevvy of experiences coming from the SEC. It wouldn't be surprising to see him thrive in this system in this unit.

Korbyn Green

The former three-star athlete from Tulsa, OK was also a touted track athlete.

Chika Ebunoha

The three-star athlete from Tuscon, AZ was a two-way starter as a prep prospect. It’s easy to see his athleticism. He comes to BYU as a true freshman.

Others

Javelle Brown

Brown appeared in 10 games last season and briefly was a kick returner. He has track speed and may find his way onto the field more and more given that speed.

Dean Jones

After being a member of the scout team last season, Jones seeks a larger role this year. As a three-star defensive back, he was heavily recruited among Mountain West schools.

Carter Krupp

In Roseville, CA, Krupp did just about everything for his high school team. He played quarterback, defensive back, kicker, and punter. He is someone to keep an eye on in the future given his athletic traits and size, at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds.

Isaiah Glasker

At 6-foot-5, 205 pounds, Glasker has immense size. He was a standout at Bingham High School at receiver and defensive back.

Quenton Rice

Rice spent last season on the scout team. He was a three-star recruit out of Las Vegas, NV and was courted by several FBS programs including Colorado.

Ethan Slade

Entering his third year in the program, Slade is scratching and clawing his way up the depth chart. He appeared in two games last year. Before that, he was an excellent athlete for Orem High School, leading the state 4A section in interceptions and also played basketball.

Mory Bamba

The JUCO transfer just arrived to Provo and is one of the wild cards of the group. If he gets up to speed quickly, he could see playing time at corner.