Men's Football Blog | February 2012

No Stars, No Problem

Feb 21, 2012 - Posted by Kenny Cox at 4:58 pm | Updated: February 22, 2012 10:53 am | Permalink

Inspired by SI.com's recent article on "two-star" players that are making noise in college football, we'll take a look at BYU's history with two-star or fewer athletes.

The article gave the nod to Riley Nelson and Cody Hoffman as two of the best two-star players heading into 2012. These are some other Cougar greats over the last 10 years who were two stars or fewer and ended up being better than their star-rating led on.

Max Hall
Hall led BYU to a 32-7 record, becoming BYU's winningest quarterback of all time. Hall transferred from Arizona State and racked up three consecutive 3,500-yard seasons, finishing his career with more completions (903), passing yards (11,365) and touchdowns (94) than any other Cougar signal caller not named Ty Detmer.

Dennis Pitta
Pitta wasn't even given a star-rating and walked on at BYU. The once lanky receiver bulked up and transformed himself into arguably one of the best pass-catching tight ends in NCAA history. Growing into a 6-foot-5, 247-pound consensus All-American, Pitta left BYU as the career leader in receptions (221) and third in receiving yards (2,901). He holds the NCAA record for most yards gained by a tight end.

Andrew George
The other half of what might be thought of as the best tight-end tandem in BYU history and one of the best in the NCAA is George. While his numbers weren't as prolific as Pitta, the near-identical 6-foot-5, 251-pound George was every bit as capable and will long be remembered for catching the game-winning touchdown in overtime against Utah in 2009.

Jordan Pendleton
Though often injury riddled, Pendleton was one of BYU's most ferocious defenders in recent memory. Originally coming in as a hard hitting safety, Pendleton grew into a fearsome outside linebacker and at 6-foot-3 and 238 pounds had a rare combination of size and speed. He burst onto the scene in BYU's 14-13 win over No. 3 Oklahoma in 2009 and had his best season as a sophomore.

Harvey Unga
In just three years, Unga became BYU's career leader in rushing yards with 3,455 on 696 attempts. As a freshman, Unga tallied 1,227 yards, a freshman record. Unga had three-straight 1,000 yard seasons and is one of only nine players to rush for at least 1,000 yards and have 1,000 yards receiving for a career.

Jan Jorgensen
Jorgensen played four-straight years for BYU and started all 52 games of his career, tied for a school record, helping the Cougars to a 43-9 record over that span. He set the Mountain West Conference record for career sacks and is second in school history.

Bryan Kehl
Currently an NFL player, Kehl was one of the most athletic Cougars to date. Kehl made plays all over the field for BYU and was an all-conference player in 2006 and 2007. He was drafted in the fourth round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the New York Giants.

Curtis Brown
Brown is currently BYU's career leader in all-purpose yards (4,996) and was the first Cougar to put together back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons on the ground. Brown became the school's career leader in rushing yards before Unga broke the record a few years later.

Jonny Harline
A first-team All-American by The Sporting News, ESPN, College Football News, CBSSportline and SI.com, Harline came from Ricks College and in two years caught 121 passes for 1,742 yards and 17 touchdowns. He is 20th on BYU's career receiving yards list and has a place in Cougar history for catching the game-winning touchdown from his knees to beat Utah in 2006.

*ratings based off of both Rivals.com and Scout.com

Reynolds, Fangupo invited to NFL Scouting Combine

Feb 09, 2012 - Posted by Kenny Cox at 1:38 pm | Permalink

Offensive lineman Matt Reynolds and defensive lineman Hebron Fangupo have been invited to the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine held Feb. 22-28 in Indianapolis.

Over 300 players were invited to the combine and all 32 NFL teams will be represented by coaches and scouts to evaluate potential draft picks. In 2011, BYU did not have any players invited to the combine but had three in both 2010 and 2009.

Reynolds, a 6-foot-6, 305-pounder played and started all 52 games of his BYU career. After deciding to return for his senior season, Reynolds was named team captain for a second time and was awarded numerous preseason honors (Outland Trophy Watch List, Lombardi Award Candidate, Lowe's Senior Class Award Nominee). Reynolds finished the season on the Phil Steele All-Independent First Team, Yahoo! Sports All-Independent Team, FBS All-Independent Team and was invited to East-West Shrine Game.

Fans will remember one of Reynolds most recent plays from the 2011 Armed Forces Bowl. After losing his helmet blocking earlier in the play, an unprotected Reynolds ran after a Tulsa defensive lineman chasing quarterback Riley Nelson, pancaking him to the ground, springing Nelson to make a touchdown throw across the field to Cody Hoffman, helping BYU to a 24-21 victory.

The Provo native was also named a freshman All-American by the Football Writers Association of America, Rivals.com, College Football News.com and Sports News. As a sophomore he was part of the College Football News All-Sophomore First Team and as a junior was named Phil Steele All-MWC First Team.

Fangupo, a 6-foot-1, 331-pound transfer from USC helped BYU to another 10-win season and was part of a No. 14 overall defense (312.9 yards allowed per game) and No. 19 in rushing yards allowed (112.08) ypg). Fangupo spent the 2009 and 2010 seasons with the Trojans before deciding to come to BYU for his senior year where he made an immediate impact, playing in all 13 games and starting 10.

Known as the strongest player on the squad, Fangupo is also versitale enough to play both nose tackle and defensive end, where he spent most of the 2011 season. He totaled 26 tackles, including six tackles for loss, good for third-best on the team.

Fangupo was named to the Phil Steele All-Independent Second Team and was an FBS All-Independent Honorable Mention.

To see the full list of invitees for the 2012 Combine CLICK HERE.

Hoffman named potential breakout player by ESPN.com

Feb 09, 2012 - Posted by Kenny Cox at 12:56 pm | Permalink

After putting together an impressive sophomore campaign, wide receiver Cody Hoffman was recently recognized as No. 2 on ESPN.com's list of top five potential breakout players at the wide receiver position for the 2012 season.

The Crescent City, Calif. product finished the 2011 season with 61 receptions for 943 yards and 10 touchdowns to lead the team in all major receiving categories. The ESPN.com article focuses on Hoffman's big-play ability, noting that in 2011 he had high marks in yards per reception (15.2), receptions per game (5.0), yards per attempt (10.1), vertical yards per attempt (12.1), which is productivity on passes thrown 11 or more yards downfield.

Hoffman recorded five games of 100 yards or more and caught multiple touchdowns in three games. He also set BYU single-season records in the return game, returning 36 kicks for 879 yards, including a 93-yard return for a touchdown.

To read more of ESPN.com's article featuring Hoffman and other standout wide receivers CLICK HERE.

Signing Day Recap

Feb 01, 2012 - Posted by Jordan Christiansen at 8:13 pm | Updated: February 2, 2012 4:28 pm | Permalink

BYU football and head coach Bronco Mendenhall finished a celebratory day today after welcoming 17 recruits to the Cougar program.

Coaches began the morning excited as fax after fax came in with each member of the 2012 class. As each recruit came in, Joe DuPaix, recruiting coordinator and running backs coach, taped the player's picture on the wall of the football offices as Mendenhall offered each a congratulatory phone call.

Later, Cougar Club members met in the Cougar Room at Edwards Stadium and via online video as Mendenhall reviewed the football program's accomplishments, then spoke on each recruit and missionaries returning to the team this season. DuPaix then expounded on each recruit before taking questions from the audience.

Meanwhile, Mendenhall next participated in a press conference with members of the media at the BYU Broadcast Building which was streamed live (and is available for on demand viewing) at byutvsports.com.

Ending the day, coaches Mendenhall and DuPaix, director of athletics Tom Holmoe, current players Riley Nelson and Brett Thompson and former Cougars and NFL players Chris Hoke (via phone), Bryan Kehl and David Nixon all gathered at the Broadcast Building to record interviews for a BYUtv Signing Day special.

Mendenhall and DuPaix described each player in detail, with a few personal insights such as Matt Hadley's mother serving great meals and Micah Hannemann's surfing expertise.

"It's a great day to celebrate this class and we're really excited about it," DuPaix said.

Coming on the show with a shorter head of hair ("I'm not a one-trick pony," Nelson said), the senior quarterback talked about the 2011 season and what it was like returning back to football from a mission, something Thompson is attempting to do after returning from the Kentucky Louisville Mission one month ago. Thompson last played in 2009 when he caught six receptions for 95 yards in 12 games.

Click here to watch a replay of the Signing Day Special.

Players will continue to lifting and conditioning with spring practice beginning March 5.