January 19, 2009
Much was said about Bronco's unique redshirting policy he announced during Fall Camp this past season. Mentioning going into a season, a player will not be dubbed as redshirting. To insure the player is still ready when called upon if injuries happen, or other factors that would cause a player that is likely destined for a redshirt year but still has the mindset to play at his best level.
Bronco mentioned to Jay Drew that he wasn't quite sure yet who will receive the redshirts from last season. I thought I would do my best to take a stab at who possibly received redshirts this year. Jerry posted a comment in the story about Elite LDS Athletes not knowing the status of redshirts, so I thought this could be a good resource.
This is the first of a two-part breakdown of who possibly red-shirted this season. Starting with the offensive personnel.
Everyone in the Quarterbacks unit had used a redshirt, with the lone exception being Walk-On Christian Stewart from Timpanogos. Stewart is going on a mission soon.
Stewart was a talented player out of Timpanogos. He landed at BYU as a Walk-On mainly due to schools not knowing about him till late in the process. Stewart had three offensive schemes in his years for Timpanogos. He set Utah state passing records in a few passing categories. He knows how to throw the ball.
Manase Tonga is the obvious guy who used a red-shirt year in this group. Tonga came off his mission and joined the program in 2005, and had not used a red-shirt until this past season. Manase is expected to be back, but probably not until Fall semester. Which is a big blow to the team. It makes you wonder how effective Manase will be one year away from the program. Hopefully he has worked hard in the weight room and class room to get back into the fold.
Isaac Taylor had an available red-shirt, that was never used. He leaves the program as a graduating Senior. Newcomer Jerry Bruner from Washington, who struggled adjusting to the D-1 game didn't participate in any games this season.
Bruner when he committed to BYU, had comparisons of Luke Staley. Mainly due to his build and the fact that he's from the Northwest. Let's just put that to rest, in any other comparisons.
Really excited about the future of Brown. He's a typical TE, with his blocking skill set but has terrific hands.
There were a few possibilities going into the season who looked like guys that could be red-shirt options. Didn't happen though due to an overall lack of depth at the position.
O'Neill Chambers saw significant minutes this past season in the return game. As the season wore on, Chambers was improving and making better decisions. The key to showcase his speed is getting in the open-field. He will break one eventually, and his receiving skills are there. That one-handed grab he had against Air Force might of been out of bounds but to me and Cougar fans everywhere it was a sign of things to come with O'Neill. He's going to be very talented.
Luke Ashworth returned from the mission, and I really thought he was going to step right in where Matt Allen left off. That never came to fruition, as BYU practically went away from the slot and went with more two Tight End sets. But can you blame Anae for that? Pitta and George are pretty awesome.
Spencer Hafoka the man who seemed to be a name lingering in the program for years finally arrived this past season. Had a great spring scrimmage, and many felt he was going to make great strides in '08. Never happened, as we saw Hafoka in a limited role.
A lot of this was due to the security of Austin Collie, that Hall had in him. Next season he's going to be delegating the ball more and these guys have some game experience.
The only other WR that had a red-shirt season available was Landon Jaussi. Jaussi was a contributor on Special Teams this season, so probably no red-shirt for him. Jaussi be a name Cougar fans will hear as a "sleeper" in the WR unit, but I wouldn't bank on any of that happening. Remember Matthew Smith? I rest my case.
Rhen Brown is a name to remember. Brown was a player in the 2006 recruiting class out of Lone Peak High. He returned to BYU during the season, and grey-shirted. He's expected to play WR, but I wouldn't be surprised if he was switched to Defensive Back if needed during the Spring. He was recruited for both out of high school.
A lot more candidates for red-shirts in this talented unit.
Terence Brown out of South Carolina returned to BYU from a mission in late July. He was behind the 8 ball all season, and didn't participate in any games in '08. Expect good things from Brown though. He was talented at Tackle as a Freshman in 2005.
Jesse Taufi a JC signee in the 2008 class didn't play this season. Taufi is projected to be a Guard at BYU. Taufi of course, during his recruitment was one of the few recruits who turned down Slick Pete at USC for BYU. Supposedly, Pete Carroll was telling Taufi to hold off his commitment to BYU and wait for SC to offer him later in the recruiting process, but Tafui was so impressed with Bronco and BYU that he couldn't turned them down and he has been a Cougar since.
Both Solomone Kafu and Brock Stringham didn't participate in '08. They are each heading out on missions soon. Kafu as soon as next month.
Then finally there's Nate Hartung a.k.a. "Big Rig". Hartung didn't play in any games, but Cougar fans should be excited for his future. Travis Bright who has graduated, and was the strongest player on BYU last season has said that Hartung will probably break all of Bright's weight-lifting records before his days at BYU are over. Bright said that in an interview to Sammy Linebaugh on The mtn. That's pretty exciting, especially since Bright was a beast.
I will post Part 2, the Defensive Breakdown on likely Redshirts this week.