CLEVELAND – Eight BYU football players were named to the Phil Steele 2015 Preseason Independent First Team while 10 more were named to the second team Monday.
The dual-threat quarterback Hill completed 66.7 percent of his passes and averaged 92 yards rushing and 287 yards of total offense while leading the Cougars to a No. 18 national ranking with wins over UConn, Texas, Houston and Virginia before suffering a season-ending leg injury.
The running back Williams averaged 4.8 yards per carry last year and looks to make a strong return after missing half of the season due to a knee injury. He needs 929 yards to become BYU’s all-time leading rusher.
Mathews led the team with 922 receiving yards and nine touchdown catches last year from the wideout position. Koroma, the second-year center, started all 13 games and was named to every freshman All-America team last year after an exceptional true freshman campaign.
Kaufusi led BYU last year with 11.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks and seven quarterback hurries while adding six pass breakups and 43 tackles. He will spend more time on the defensive line this year after playing outside linebacker in 2014.
At Buck linebacker, Pikula is the team’s leading returning tackler who started eight games last year and one his sophomore season while playing in 38 of 39 games in his three previous seasons.
In his first season as BYU’s kicker, Samson made 12 of 14 (85.7 percent) field goal attempts, with a long of 45 yards, while connecting on 62 of 63 (98.4 percent) point-after-touchdown opportunities.
Hine comes back at kick return specialist after being honored as the FBS All-Independent Team and Phil Steele All-Independent First Team kick returner including a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Virginia.
Six Cougars were also named to the second team on offense with senior Devon Blackmon and sophomore Mitchell Juergens at receiver along with senior Ryker Mathews, junior Kyle Johnson and sophomore Tuni Kanuch on the offensive line. Hine collected his second preseason honor, being recognized on the second team at running back.
Phil Steele’s College Football Preview is one of the nation’s most informative preseason football magazine and has always provided a preseason All-American team as well as preseason All-Conference teams. For more information or to obtain a copy of each of the All-Conference teams, please visit PhilSteele.com.