PROVO, Utah – We’re starting to know higher what the BYU soccer depth chart might appear like in 2023.
It’s nonetheless early, after all. Way too early. But the NFL draft withdrawal deadline has handed. The window for fall athletes to enter the Transfer Portal has now closed. So it is an opportunity to step again and consider what BYU’s first Big 12 workforce might appear like.
The BYU offense all the time creates many headlines, and this yr will likely be no exception.
Star quarterback Jaren Hall is off to the NFL, together with extensive receiver Puka Nacua and offensive sort out Blake Freeland. Those are huge footwear to fill for Aaron Roderick’s offense. Who would be the guys to step in and exchange these standouts? Plus, the remainder of the depth chart?
It’s time to dive in and make a way-too-early projection on what the 2023 BYU soccer depth chart might appear like this fall.
Keep in thoughts that BYU continues to be pursuing gamers who might shake up these projections. For instance, Eastern Washington WR Freddie Roberson and El Paso, Texas operating again LJ Martin. If both participant commits to BYU, they might be quick contributors.
Starter: Kedon Slovis
no 2: Jake Retzlaff
A whole overhaul of the quarterback place for BYU. USC/Pitt switch QB Kedon Slovis would be the beginning quarterback when BYU faces Sam Houston on September 2. If it is not Slovis, it could be a shock to everybody.
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) December 24, 2022
Slovis is a veteran quarterback that enters a BYU offense that has produced back-to-back NFL signal-callers. Could Slovis, who was as soon as seen as a surefire first-round choose, grow to be the third? Aaron Roderick has a quarterback-friendly system. But there’s nonetheless numerous nuance to what they run.
Slovis has been working arduous since he arrived on campus two weeks in the past, attempting to be taught every thing he can to hit the bottom operating in spring ball.
Jake Retzlaff has that “dawg” mentality that folks love in a quarterback. Retzlaff involves BYU through Riverside City College as a Non-LDS prospect. Being at a faith-based establishment did not matter to Retzlaff as he thought extremely of Roderick’s system and the wealthy QB historical past that BYU has put collectively during the last 5 a long time.
Retzlaff should earn the No. 2 jobs over returning veterans in Cade Fennegan, Nick Billoups, New Mexico Bowl Offensive MVP Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters, and a pair of freshmen in Ryder Burton and walk-on Cole Hagen.
Starter: Aidan Robbins -OR- Hinckley Folau Ropati
Next in line: Miles Davis
Who would be the subsequent star operating again to emerge for BYU? Last season, Chris Brooks had excessive expectations, however a hamstring damage impacted his availability all through the season. Despite the damage, he nonetheless averaged over six yards per carry.
Along with nice quarterback play underneath Aaron Roderick, the Cougars have produced stars at operating again.
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) December 21, 2022
UNLV switch Aidan Robbins has all of the makings of being the following star ball provider. He’s in all probability the assumed RB1 towards Sam Houston. Robbins rushed for over 1,000 yards final season in Las Vegas.
But do not sleep on Hinckley Ropati. A former JUCO standout, Ropati handled accidents early in his BYU profession, however he had a breakout efficiency final yr at Boise State. I anticipate each of those guys to get their justifiable share of carries subsequent season.
Besides Robbins and Ropati, BYU additionally has Miles Davis, a star within the win over Wyoming final season. Also, returned missionary Nukuluve Helu is an intriguing prospect that may finally grow to be an RB1 in his BYU profession.
Starters: Kody Epps, Keanu Hill, Chase Roberts
Second Unit: Talmage Gunther, Tanner Wall, Josiah Phillips*
The starters are straightforward to establish for the extensive receivers. Kody Epps emerged as a fan-favorite final season for his knack for locating the endzone and his charisma and persona in interviews.
Epps will likely be getting back from a season-ending damage suffered final October within the loss at Liberty.
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) November 5, 2022
Keanu Hill quietly went about his enterprise and was one of the crucial productive and dependable receivers for Jaren Hall final season.
Then there’s Chase Roberts, who may need the best ceiling of all three. He shined within the highlight towards Baylor in reduction of an injured Puka Nacua final season.
Speaking of Nacua, his loss is a giant one. No one on this yr’s workforce can examine to him. So that will likely be a big loss and arduous footwear to interchange. But the beginning three must be productive.
The reserves are the place it will get attention-grabbing. I’ll give the early nod to a pair of walk-ons in Talmage Gunther and Tanner Wall. BYU Passing Game Coordinator Fesi Sitake would not rotate a lot, so I would not be stunned if the 2023 receivers are very like the 2019 unit (Micah Simon, Aleva Hifo, Talon Shumway), the place he rides with three guys. But Wall and Gunther have the belief of Sitake, and so they know Roderick’s offense.
I’ll additionally add heralded freshman Josiah Phillips to the two-deep. It’s a lofty projection for a real freshman. The Sierra Canyon star would not arrive on campus till the summer season.
Other intriguing prospects to observe at receiver embody Kyson Hall, Parker Kingston, and Devin Downing.
Starter: Isaac Rex
no 2: Ethan Erickson -OR- Masen Wake
There is not any suspense right here; Isaac Rex would be the beginning tight finish for BYU. Rex might have left for the NFL and located his manner onto a roster as an undrafted free agent. But he performed by means of final yr recovering from a devastating damage he suffered in 2021 at USC.
— Isaac Rex (@isaacrex83) December 19, 2022
Ideally, Rex returns to the shape and the manufacturing he had in 2020, the place he was one of many high tight ends within the nation. So when attempting to establish potential All-Big 12 candidates on BYU’s offense, Rex is without doubt one of the first gamers you need to have a look at.
At full power, he may be the most effective tight ends in faculty soccer.
Who will line up behind Rex? It ought to make for an intriguing battle in spring follow. Does Masen Wake proceed competing as a conventional tight finish, or does he return to the wing/fullback function?
Ethan Erickson was a star in spring and fall camps final season. Aaron Roderick is bullish on the way forward for the previous Kahuku High standout. But together with Erickson and Wake, BYU additionally has redshirt freshman Anthony Olsen and Bentley Redden again from a mission. Then in the summertime four-star prospect Jackson Bowers matriculates into this system.
Starters: Kingsley Suamataia (LT), Paul Maile (LG), Connor Pay (C), Weylin Lapuaho (RG), Brayden Keim (RT)
Second Unit: Lisala Tai (LT), Tyler Little (LG), Peter Falaniko (C), Vae Soifua (RG), Ian Fitzgerald (RT)
BYU’s offensive line suffered some losses this low season. Blake Freeland and Harris LaChance transfer on to the NFL. The Barrington brothers entered the Transfer Portal, ending up within the Big 12 at Baylor.
Then there was the tragic demise of Arizona State switch Sione Veikoso throughout a building accident in Hawaii.
— Paul Maile (@PaulMaile54) January 18, 2023
Amidst numerous modifications, it is a retooled unit for offensive line coach Darrell Funk. And they may not be carried out including items between now and summer season conditioning.
For now, the additions that BYU has signed out of the portal will likely be seemed upon to be impactful from the second they arrive on campus.
Former Utah starter Paul Maile is available in as a graduate switch. He might begin wherever alongside the offensive line. Last season for the Utes, Maile began in 12 video games at middle. For BYU to get one of the best 5 on the sector, I’ll name for Maile to line up at guard.
— Kingsley SUAMATAIA (@baby76kings) December 21, 2022
That retains Connor Pay on the middle spot.
The star of the unit is sophomore Kingsley Suamataia. In his redshirt freshman season after transferring from Oregon, Suamataia did not quit a sack. As a outcome, he earned Freshman All-American recognition from College Football News.
With Freeland off to the NFL, Suamataia is a superb candidate to change from the best aspect to left sort out. If Suamataia shines at left sort out, he may very well be a coveted NFL Draft choose subsequent yr.
On the best aspect, Utah State switch Weylin Lapuaho must be a plug-and-play addition. Lapuaho began in all 13 video games alongside the Aggie offensive line in his freshman season. At proper sort out, it may very well be Lisala Tai, Missouri State switch Ian Fitzgerald, or Brayden Keim.
I’ll give an early nod to Keim, who earned starter reps for Funk two seasons in the past. At 6-foot-8, 305-pounds, Keim seems the a part of a Power Five offensive lineman.
Players that I’m curious to see take important steps ahead of their improvement are redshirt freshmen Peter Falaniko and Vae Soifua.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s protection of BYU transferring to the Big 12 Conference on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.