Cougars 26-50

The G-man continues with his second installment of the ultimate reference guide to the 2007 BYU football team roster. The second installment goes through numbers 26-50, which includes the bulk of the roster's running backs and linebackers.

#26-Jordan Pendleton 6-2, 220 DB Fr. Pendleton will be looked at very closely as the defensive coaching staff explores options in regards to who will fill the final safety spot on the two-deep roster heading into the season. While Kellen Fowler will back up both safety positions, Coach Mendenhall has indicated that he'll decide between freshmen Steven Thomas and Pendleton in his effort to fill the final spot on the two-deep at the kat position.

Pendleton looks like a linebacker, as he reported to camp at around 220 pounds. He came to BYU with high credentials as the Utah Prep Player of the Year a season ago. So far, Pendleton is bringing great athleticism to the safety position, and his learning curve has been accelerated due to the unlikely rash of injuries that have hit the safety position.

#26-CJ Santiago 6-2, 215 punter Jr. Santiago has shown more consistency during recent practices as he has learned to kick behind the three-man wall used to protect the punter in the BYU special teams system. He has been held out of recent practices as he continues to wait for his transcripts to arrive.

#27-Joe Semanoff 5-11, 220 FB Sr. Semanoff's role should be significantly increased the first game against Arizona as he will help to fill the void left by Manase Tonga's one-game suspension.

Semanoff has practiced this fall like he's been playing over the past few years. Consistent and serviceable are the two words used best to describe what Semanoff brings to the fullback position. He has responded well whenever he's been called on in the past and will likely do so again come the Arizona game.

#27-Evan Kleinhenz 6-0, 210 LB So. Kleinhenz adds depth to the linebacker position as he's working for a spot on the team.

#29-Scott Johnson 5-11, 182 CB So. Johnson has had a very productive and consistent fall camp. He has shown well more often than not at the boundary cornerback position.

Johnson has managed to pick off some balls and has shown good knowledge of the defensive coverages coached by Jaime Hill. He will add greatly to the special teams units and will also add valuable depth as one of the primary backups at the cornerback position.

#29-Ryan Love 5-10, 180 RB Fr. Love hasn't seen significant reps during 11-on-11s, but is working to add future depth and talent to the running back position.

#30-Kelly Bills 6-0, 216 LB So. Bills was hurt during the first week of fall practices and has yet to return. After a very successful spring practice session, Bills looks to have a bright future playing inside linebacker.

#31-Chris Bolden 6-0, 230 LB Sr. Bolden lost a lot of weight from a season ago and it has benefited his play. Bolden is again showing he can mount an effective pass rush from the outside, and has been showing much better in space and in filling gaps than he was a season ago.

Bolden will likely be the first linebacker off the bench this coming year as he looks to expand on his role as just a third-down rush end from the weakside linebacker position. At the very least he'll add valuable depth behind David Nixon.

#31-Isaac Taylor 5-11, 186 RB Jr. Taylor is the featured back in many of the third-team and fourth-team offensive reps. He is a solid back who is providing valuable reps to help prepare the team during fall camp.

#32-Dennis Pitta 6-5, 230 TE So. Pitta is progressing well since spring practice, where he rose to become the top receiving option at the tight end position. He runs great routes while and comes up with some great catches during most practice sessions.

Pitta will join with Vic So'oto and Andrew George in providing solid tight end play as they work to fill in for Jonny Harline and Daniel Coats. Pitta is very good in the air, has great straight-ahead speed and knows how to get open. Look for Pitta to emerge as one of Hall's chief receiving options as the season begins.

#33-Wayne Latu 6-0, 220 RB So. Latu looks much improved from spring ball, as he seems to have recovered his burst and great lateral movement that he displayed against UNLV during the 2005 season. Latu will be a valuable option behind Fui Vakapuna and Harvey Unga at the RB position.

#33-Tyler Beck 6-1, 220 LB Fr. Beck came into camp with increased size and strength that he gained over the summer. Beck was told that he'd be looked at as an outside linebacker, but so far he's been filling in for the injured Shawn Doman and suspended Terrance Hooks at one of the inside linebacker positions, giving him a lot of valuable reps with the second-team defensive unit.

Whether Beck will stay inside or outside remains to be seen, but he has shown good ability so far this fall. Beck may be looked at as a constant contributor on special teams and as added depth to the linebacker position as a true freshman.

#34-Kayle Buchanan 6-1, 190 CB Sr. Buchanan has shown very well recently as he looks to secure a starting position as the primary field cornerback on defense. He knows the defensive coverages well and has always performed well when healthy.

Buchanan has made a lot of plays as of late during practices, and has shown good consistency in coverage. What Mendenhall has in Buchanan and Brandon Howard are the sort of options at cornerback that BYU rarely has the luxury of. While Buchanan knows the coverages and is more consistent, Howard's strength lies in simple man-coverage, where he excels. Look for both Buchanan and Howard to play significant roles on the defense this coming year.

#35-Matt Bauman 6-1, 220 LB So. Bauman has had a very productive fall camp while backing up Kelly Poppinga at inside linebacker. Bauman has shown very well in coverage and looks to improve on reading his gap assignments.

Bauman benefited from being able to play significant reps as a true freshman before his mission. He will be a solid backup option this season and should vie for a starting spot once this season closes.

#36-Markell Staffieri 6-3, 232 LB Sr. Staffieri has practiced every day and has quietly gone about having a productive fall practice session on the heels of missing the entire spring due to injury. His strength comes in run support, as he's very good at taking on blocks and filling gap assignments.

#37-Vic So'oto 6-3, 233 TE So. So'oto has shown well during reps and will play a prominent role in the regular tight end rotation along with Pitta and George. So'oto is more physical than the other two tight ends and will likely prove to be the best blocker during run and max-protect situations.

#38-Mitch Payne 6-2, 201 K Fr. Payne has shown very good leg strength, as he gets good depth and height on most of his kickoffs. The leg strength is certainly there, but what Payne is working towards is better accuracy with his field goal attempts. He aims to be more consistent once he recovers from his tendonitis issues which have limited him during practices this past week.

#39-Grant Nelson 6-2, 230 LB Fr. Like Bauman and Bolden, Nelson has been a consistent feature on the second-team defense during most reps. Nelson is Bryan Kehl's primary backup at the strongside linebacker position and has shown well, having vaulted up the depth chart this past spring into the summer workouts.

#41-Bryan Kehl 6-3, 233 LB Sr. Kehl is simply the most consistently dominating force on BYU's defensive squad. When Kehl is in, the difference is often stark in how the defense performs. What else can you say about the person who is widely considered BYU's best defensive player?

#42-Shawn Doman 6-2, 220 LB So. Doman has been limited throughout fall camp due to a nagging injury. He was, however, able to practice fully for the first time on Monday and looks to be completely healthy come kickoff against Arizona.

Doman pretty much earned his spot last season and into the spring as a primary option during passing situations, as he's proven very good in the open field and in coverages. Doman will play a huge role in rotating with Staffieri at one of the inside linebacker positions according to the situation.

#43-David Nixon 6-3, 223 LB Jr. Nixon is practicing fully again after sitting out spring with nagging groin injuries. Nixon and Kehl's reps have been limited, as both of them have little to prove as returning starters at each outside linebacker positions.

Nixon makes a difference coming fast and strong off the edge on the weakside of the line. He played most of 2006 with groin injuries that nullified his speed and overall play. Look for a fully recovered and healthy Nixon to compliment Kehl very well on the other side backing up the line.

#44-Dan Van Sweden 6-2, 221 LB So. Van Sweden is seeing most of his reps with the third-teamers on defense and should add greatly to BYU's kick coverage, as he did a season ago. He adds solid depth and is someone who can be counted on to fill in effectively if the need arises at outside linebacker.

#45-Harvey Unga 6-3, 230 RB Fr. Unga could very well be considered one of the top stories of fall so far. After showing good promise last fall, Unga has exploded onto the scene as BYU's most consistent and impressive back so far this fall.

Unga does everything well, and shows good instincts as a runner, nice speed around the edges, and above-average receiving ability out of the backfield. Don't be surprised when Unga finishes out the 2007 season as the leader in combined yardage from the running back position.

#46-Kelly Poppinga 6-2, 240 LB Sr. Poppinga has emerged as one of the defensive leaders from his inside linebacker position. He has shown good speed and athleticism at inside linebacker and should prove to be one of the team's more effective inside blitzing options. Poppinga has easily been one of the more consistent performers on defense this fall and should continue to prove his worth throughout the coming season.

#47-Terrance Hooks 6-1, 230 LB So. Hooks rejoined the team on Monday and after his five-day re-acclimation period, he will begin practicing fully. Hooks will be suspended for the Arizona game, but should figure in the defensive and special team coverage plans in time for the second game against UCLA.

#48-Austen Jorgensen 6-3, 230 LB Fr. Jorgensen was showing very well, having made some plays with the 2s, but mostly having played with the third-team unit on defense at outside linebacker. Jorgensen recently sustained a minor chest injury, but should figure in the special team plans this coming year at the very least. Jorgensen has shown great promise since arriving in Provo this past spring.

#49-Jadon Wagner 6-5, 235 LB Fr. Wagner is out for the year after sustaining an early injury this fall. We'll have to wait until spring to see how this unique athlete will fit into the overall defensive scheme.

#50-Tom Steele 6-0, 220 LB Fr. Steele has been seeing most of his reps with the third-team and fourth-team defensive units, and looks to add depth to the inside linebacker position.


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