BYU lands 15 players on Phil Steele Postseason All-Independent Teams


CLEVELAND, OH - BYU had 15 players named to the Phil Steele 2016 Postseason All-Independent teams, including six earning a spot on the first team.

The Cougars' 15 honorees were second to Notre Dame's 18. UMass had 13 selections while Army had 10.

BYU's offensive players on the first team included running back Jamaal Williams and offensive lineman Tejan Koroma. Williams rushed for 1,165 yards and scored 11 touchdowns this season in just nine games. He also became the school's career leader in rushing yards. Koroma started every game at center, leading a BYU offensive unit that rushed for nearly 200 yards per game in the regular season. 

Quarterback Taysom Hill, wide receiver Nick Kurtz and offensive linemen Keyan Norman and Tuni Kanuch all made the second team. Hill passed for 2,323 yards and 12 touchdowns while adding 603 on the ground and eight more scores. Kurtz led the team with 46 receptions and 482 yards. Norman and Kanuch helped BYU’s offense rank No. 13 in third-down conversions and rush for over 200 yards in seven games this season.

On the other side of the ball, defensive end Sae Tautu, lineman Logan Taele and safety Kai Nacua were selected to the first team. Tautu led BYU with 6.0 sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss. Taele started every game on the defensive line and posted 6.5 tackles for loss, including 3.0 sacks. Nacua led the team with five interceptions, tied for No. 9 nationally. 

Linebackers Francis Bernard and Fred Warner, along with freshman defensive back Dayan Lake, all earned recognition on the second team. Bernard and Warner were BYU’s top two tacklers, with 80 and 76 total tackles, respectively. Lake had 44 tackles and two intecerptions, including a pick-six against Boise State.

On special teams, punter Jonny Linehan was selected to the first team while the second team featured kicker Rhett Almond and returner Garrett Juergens. Linehan averaged 42.7 yards per punt for a punt return unit that allowed just 2.6 yards per return, ranked No. 7 in the country. Almond made 16 field goals this season, including a game-winner against Toledo. Juergens averaged 8.9 yards per punt return, putting him in the top 30 in the FBS.