In what can best be described as an awesome late Christmas present for BYU fans, standout linebacker and Poinsettia Bowl MVP Kyle Van Noy will return to play for the Cougars next season and not enter the 2013 NFL draft. This is according to BYUCougars.com, which is about as official as you can get. So you can stop hoping; KVN is coming back.
Here's the quote in the story as to why he's returning.
"I plan to finish what I started and feel like I've still got some unfinished business. I'm looking forward to being on the field this next season with my Cougar teammates." -- Kyle Van Noy
Ok. So he didn't really say much here. Unfinished business could mean a lot of things, including a chance to become the all-time sack leader at BYU. He's currently tied for 8th in career sacks with 22, but he's only 8 behind Jan Jorgensen, and since he finished with 13 this season and had 7 in 2011, it's certainly realistic. Of course sacks may be harder to come by with opposing offenses not having to block the departing Ezekiel Ansah.
Another record that will be easier to break is the all-time BYU record for career tackles for loss. He is currently third in this category with 44.5 TFL, only 4.5 behind the leader Jeff Slip, who played for the Cougars from 1967-1969. Van Noy had 22 TFL this past season. He could have that one wrapped up by week 2.
He may also mean winning. An 8-5 season in which the Cougars ranked in the top 3 in total defense may have left him feeling like there was more to accomplish as a team. The defense will be diminished with the departures of Ansah and Brandon Ogletree (among others), but the offense could be substantially better with a new QB and a full year of Jamaal Williams as the primary running back. Van Noy might be very optimistic about BYU's chances to put together a much better season in 2013, maybe even a special, historical season.
Van Noy may also believe that playing in what may be the toughest schedule in BYU history will help his draft value. In games against Virginia, Texas, Utah, Georgia Tech, Boise State, Wisconsin and Notre Dame, he will have plenty of opportunities to shine against excellent competition.
Whatever his specific reasons, this is terrific news for the Cougars. With the best player on offense (Cody Hoffman) returning, and the best player on defense also coming back, optimism for 2013 is bound to increase exponentially among fans, the other players on the team, and the coaches.
Many fans thought his supernal performance against San Diego State was going to be Van Noy's final game in a Cougar uniform. But KVN has more to do as a Cougar, and I can't imagine any one besides opposing 2013 offenses is disappointed about that.