COUGAR TRACKS

Four Takeaways From BYU’s Depth Chart For Notre Dame Week

Oct 3, 2022, 10:39 PM
BYU Football, Micah Harper, Depth Chart...
BYU football safety Micah Harper is shining on the backend of BYU's defense. (Ryan Campbell/BYU Photo)
(Ryan Campbell/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – It’s always amusing when opposing beat writers see the BYU football depth chart for the first time. Since the beginning of last season, BYU has listed an insane amount of defensive positions.

What’s crazy is that the 15 positions listed this year are down from the 18 positions on the depth chart a season ago.

One Notre Dame beat writer caught a glimpse of the BYU depth chart and said, “It’s a strange depth chart.” Yes, it is. But every week, there are always a few nuggets of info that BYU reveals to begin a new game week.

Here are my four takeaways from BYU’s depth chart heading into the Las Vegas showdown with Notre Dame.

#1 Competition at kicker

Jake Oldroyd’s struggles go beyond one game and one hug. He’s missed five of his last six field goals over the past four weeks. In the win over Wyoming, BYU’s lone field goal attempt went to backup Justen Smith. But Oldroyd returned as the starting placekicker in last week’s Wagon Wheel victory against Utah State.

The depth chart this week has Oldroyd -OR- Smith at placekicker. BYU still lists Oldroyd as the top guy on kickoffs despite some struggles this season, including a kick out of bounds against Wyoming.

Outside of Oldroyd and Smith, BYU’s next option at placekicker is Cash Peterman. KSL Sports asked BYU coach Kalani Sitake if punter Ryan Rehkow could also be an option, but Sitake said that Rehkow is the team’s best holder on the field goal unit. The star punter is listed as the starter at holder on the depth chart.

#2 Co-starters remain at running back

For the second consecutive week, BYU has three co-starters at the running back position. Grad transfer Chris Brooks sits atop the list, followed by Lopini Katoa, then redshirt freshman Miles Davis.

Davis left last week’s win against Utah State due to an injury that saw him receive attention in the team medical tent. However, BYU coach Kalani Sitake said, “no has been counted out” entering Saturday’s game against the Irish.

With Davis sidelined last week, Chris Brooks shined, rushing for 90 yards on 11 carries.

Lopini Katoa wasn’t much of a factor last week, rushing the ball four times for zero yards, which also included a fumble. Luckily for Katoa, BYU was still able to maintain possession.

#3 Gabe Jeudy-Lally listed as a starter at cornerback

For the first time this season, Vanderbilt transfer Gabe Jeudy-Lally is listed as a starting cornerback above D’Angelo Mandell. Jeudy-Lally, who was granted an appeal for his targeting penalty in the win over Utah State, will be starting along with his roommate Kaleb Hayes.

Jeudy-Lally provided what BYU expected from him after he transferred out of the Transfer Portal as an immediate impact performer. What’s intriguing about Jeudy-Lally is that he could still play another two seasons if he wanted. So he has some time to establish himself as a star cornerback in the BYU football program for years to come.

#4 Micah Harper is a backup, but he’s playing a ton of snaps

Over the past two weeks, BYU safety Micah Harper has been a star on the backend of BYU’s defense. He remains the second-string strong safety behind Ammon Hannemann, but at the end of games, he played more snaps than Hannemann.

Harper finished with 62 snaps to Hannemann’s 22. The same goes for Talan Alfrey, who ended up with 63 snaps.

Pro Football Focus graded Harper as BYU’s highest-graded defensive player in the Utah State win. After recovering from a season-ending ACL injury last year, then an ankle setback this year in fall camp, Harper is finding his groove at safety.

Two years ago, as a true freshman, he was a rotational starter at cornerback. When he signed with BYU out of Basha High School in Arizona, Kalani Sitake compared him to former BYU football standout Dayan Lake. Harper is well on his way to having a similar career as Lake, with how versatile he is in BYU’s secondary.

BYU Football Depth Chart for Notre Dame week

OFFENSE

Quarterback: Jaren Hall / Jacob Conover

Running Back: Chris Brooks -OR- Lopini Katoa -OR- Miles Davis

Wide Receiver: Gunner Romney / Kody Epps

WR: Puka Nacua / Chase Roberts

Wide Receiver: Keanu Hill / Brayden Cosper

Tight End: Isaac Rex / Masen Wake

Left Tackle: Blake Freeland / Brayden Keim

Left Guard: Clark Barrington / Campbell Barrington

Center: Connor Pay / Joe Tukuafu

Right Guard: Harris LaChance / Joe Tukuafu

Right Tackle: Kingsley Suamataia -OR- Campbell Barrington

DEFENSE

SE: Earl Tuioti-Mariner -OR- John Nelson / Blake Mangelson / Alden Tofa

DE: Tyler Batty / Fisher Jackson -OR- Logan Lutui / Alden Tofa

Tackle: Gabe Summers -OR- Lorenzo Fauatea / Bruce Mitchell -OR- Hunter Greer

Nose: Caden Haws / Josh Larsen -OR- Atunaisa Mahe

OE: Tyler Batty / Alden Tofa -OR- Fisher Jackson

WILL: Ben Bywater / Jackson Kaufusi / Josh Wilson

FLASH: Max Tooley / Tavita Gagnier / Morgan Pyper

MIKE: Keenan Pili / Pepe Tanuvasa / Bodie Schoonover

ROVER: Payton Wilgar / Jackson Kaufusi / Tate Romney

CINCO: George Udo / Matt Criddle

NICKEL: Jakob Robinson / Jacob Boren

Strong Safety: Ammon Hannemann / Micah Harper / Ethan Slade

Free Safety: Malik Moore / Hayden Livingston

Cornerback: Gabe Jeudy-Lally / D’Angelo Mandell / Jacob Boren

Cornerback: Kaleb Hayes / Jakob Robinson / Mory Bamba

SPECIALISTS

Kickoffs: Jake Oldroyd / Justen Smith / Cash Peterman

Placekicking: Jake Oldroyd -OR- Justen Smith / Cash Peterman

Holder: Ryan Rehkow / Talmage Gunther / Hayden Livingston

Long Snapper: Britton Hogan / Dalton Riggs

Punter: Ryan Rehkow / Cash Peterman

Kick Returner: Hobbs Nyberg / Talmage Gunther

Punt Returner: Hobbs Nyberg / Talmage Gunther

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 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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