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TBS reviews and previews the position groups for BYU football. This edition look at the specialist positions

The end of the 2015 BYU football season signaled the end of one era at BYU and the beginning of a new one. Bronco Mendenhall departed for Virginia and BYU is in a much better state now than when he took over. Kalani Sitake come in after 15 years away from his alma mater and with his arrival, a new era has dawned in Provo. In this series, Total Blue Sports will look review each position group and preview that group going forward. This initial article looks at the specialist positions

BYU's special teams in 2015 were, in a word, consistent. Senior kicker Trevor Samson established himself as the most accurate kicker in BYU school history over his two years booting field goals and extra points. He leaves BYU having connected on 26 of 31 field goal attempts and will be remembered for his consistency kicking the pigskin.

BYU welcomed a new punter to the squad in 2015, adding BYU Rugby All-American Jonny Linehan to their lineup. The converted rugby fly-half got his football career off to a booming start, uncorking 5 punts for 255 yards and what would become a season-long 77 yard punt against the Nebraska Cornhuskers in BYU's thrilling Hail Mary win in the season opener. Linehan had his ups and downs but finished the season with 62 total punts for a respectable 42.7 yard average. He also down nearly a third off those (20) inside the 20 yard line, which is a solid mark for a rugby-style punter. Linehan will hop back over to the rugby pitch in the spring to chase another national championship with the BYU Rugby team but expect him to have a solid senior year on the gridiron for BYU in 2016.

The best trait of a long-snapper is that he is anonymous or unknown to the vast majority of fans of his team. Matt Foley accomplished that feat in 2015. The true freshman came in with hype as one of the top long-snappers in the nation and lived up to that billing as he did not have a bad snap all season for BYU. Foley will be back in 2016 as a sophomore and it appears that the long-snapping position at BYU is in good hands for the next three years.

Looking to 2016, kicker appears that it will be the only specialist position that should see a position battle. Austin Brasher, who will be a senior in 2016, is expected to contend for the job after handling kick-off duties for BYU in 2015. Brasher flashed a strong leg at times, getting touchbacks on 33 of his 74 kick-offs. He'll need to show the ability to be consistent in spring and fall camps to lock up the spot. His competition for the spot will be Corey Edwards. Edwards has struggled to regain his form that made him a high school All-American at Hurricane High School after serving a mission in Taichung Taiwan. Injuries slowed him through 2014 and the first half of the 2015 season. He recovered and handled some kickoff duties in the latter half of the 2015, seeing the most action against Missouri, where he kicked off 4 times. He saw spot duty against Fresno State and Utah State as well, finishing his season with 7 total kickoffs. Edwards will need to show that he has regained his form and prove he can stay healthy if he hopes to capture the full-time kicking duties entering his sophomore year in 2016.

Rhett Almond was Jonny Linehan's backup in 2015 and saw sparse action. He punted one time in BYU's loss to UCLA for 48 yards and will likely remain in a reserve role in 2016. He'll look to make the job his in 2017 after Linehan's graduation.

In the Recruiting Pipeline

BYU has secured the commitment of Wasatch High School kicker Skyler Southam. Southam, The second-ranked kicker in the 2016 recruiting class nationally, will serve an LDS mission before enrolling at BYU. Cougar fans can expect to see him in a BYU uniform in 2018.

Diego Marquez is a transfer prospect from Division III Cal-Lutheran and is a kicker BYU's staff hosted on an unofficial visit in November when they took on Fresno State. Marquez is a highly touted kicker who trained under noted kicking specialist Chris Sailer. He's eligible immediately after sitting out during the 2015 season and will have two years to play two at the FBS level. An offer from BYU has not come his way yet, but if Kalani Sitake and Ed Lamb feel uneasy about the kickers on the roster currently (Brasher & Edwards), they may try to snag Marquez.

BYU currently holds a commitment form Olympus High School athlete Britton Hogan. When he announced his commitment in late August, many people felt it was a ruse. Hogan will also a serve a mission before enrolling at BYU. He's the heir apparent to Matt Foley at the long-snapper position and will be on campus in 2018 when Foley will be a senior.


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