Cougars 1-25

TBS presents the first installment of this fall's ultimate reference guide to every player on BYU's roster for the 2008 football season. G-man takes you up and down the Cougar roster, starting with numbers 1-25, which include the bulk of the quarterbacks, receivers and defensive backs.

#1-Fui Vakapuna 6-1, 253 Sr. FB/RB: Vakapuna has progressed during the course of fall practices after a rough start in which head coach Bronco Mendenhall criticized him for not being diligent in his rehab. Since that time Vakapuna has responded with some good weeks of work on the practice field.

Vakapuna's main improvement looks to be in his ability to catch the football. He's been much more involved in the passing game and seems to be embracing his new role as the primary fullback. Vakapuna has shown to be a punishing lead-blocker during running plays at times.

#2-Bryce Mahuika 5-9, 190 Sr. WR: Mahuika has had to battle through some injuries again this fall, which has limited his potential movement into the regular receiving rotation. Where and how Mahuika will contribute on offense or on special teams should be interesting, as he has good experience fulfilling a variety of roles.

#2-Shiloah Te'o 5-10, 197 Fr. DB: Te'o started off fall camp with a bang before hitting the so-called "wall" that many true freshmen encounter during their first weeks of practice. Lately Te'o has seen his reps with the 2s on defense increase and is battling Jordan Pendleton for the fourth safety position.

#3-Michael Reed 6-1, 202 Sr. WR: Reed has had a very productive fall camp filling in as the primary wideout target for Max Hall while Austin Collie has been hobbled. Reed has shown more burst and overall quickness this fall.

Reed will in no doubt play a big role within the Cougar offense this year, and the comfort level between him and Hall has been fun to watch develope. Look for Reed to go out with a bang with what should be his best overall year as a regular feature in the Cougar wide receiver rotation.

#4-Brandon Howard 5-9, 170 Jr. CB: Howard has been a consistent performer, which is a premium at the field cornerback position. Howard has recorded some good pass breakups and interceptions and has hung on to the starting field corner spot, although G Pittman is making a strong case for himself to unseat Howard as the starter.

#4-Kurt McEuen 6-2, 209 So. QB: McEuen has made it very tough for quarterback coach Brandon Doman to make a decision on who will back up Hall. McEuen gave way to Brenden Gaskins, but not without a strong fight, which benefited Gaskins and indeed the whole Cougar offense as a result.

#5-Brandon Bradley 6-0, 201 So. CB: Bradley has been practicing very well. What is readily apparent when watching practices are his ball skills. Bradley's athleticism enables him to perhaps make more plays than the other cornerbacks on the roster, which is his clear advantage.

It will be interesting to see if a role for Bradley develops within the defense, as it looks like Scott Johnson will initially take the reigns as the starting boundary cornerback. Bradley's upside is tremendous and his prospects are exciting.

#6-Brenden Gaskins 6-4, 213 Jr. QB: Gaskins has been a great story. McEuen may have had the slightest of edge over Gaskins entering fall camp, but Gaskins came out very strong and has retained his role as primary backup to Max Hall.

#6-Daniel Sorensen 6-1, 208 Fr. OLB: I like the move of Sorensen to outside linebacker. He's someone with a big frame, which should allow him to put on 20 or more pounds with ease in his future seasons as a Cougar.

This year Sorensen fulfills a vital role as sort of a third-down-type OLB who can cover receivers very well out of the backfield and across the middle. Wednesday's scrimmage is huge for Sorensen as he looks to etch out a role for himself in this year's defense.

#7-Tyler Kozlowski 5-9, 193 So. WR: Kozlowski is a solid practice performer and looks to be the sixth receiver right now on the depth chart.

#7-Garrett Nicholson 5-9, 180 Fr. CB: Nicholson has seen his reps decrease a bit in large part due to some nagging injuries that have limited his contribution. He has shown good feet and the potential to contribute in future years.

#9-Austin Collie 6-2, 206 Jr. WR: He's starting to slowly come back to where he practices fully and will be ready to go against Northern Iowa. Collie obviously will become a focal point - if not the focal point - of the Cougar passing attack from day-one of his return.

#10-Stephen Covey 5-11, 186 Fr. QB: Covey presents a unique chance for the offense to run some option at the quarterback position. Whether or not Covey will actually see playing time in games has yet to be determined.

#10-J.J. DiLuigi 5-9, 199 Fr. RB: DiLuigi is one of those guys who have made marked strides this August during two-a-days. He has shown much more quickness and burst through the line and looks to be the first running back behind Harvey Unga and Vakapuna in the Cougar backfield.

DiLuigi catches the ball very well, which is his big advantage right now over Wayne Latu. DiLuigi has really focused on his pass blocking this fall and has made some good improvement in that critical area.

#11-O'Neill Chambers 6-2, 209 Fr. WR: Anyone who reads our reports regularly should be well-versed on the impact Chambers has made during fall camp. Simply stated, Chambers has shown very well and will play a role within the Cougar offense this season ,and that role could be a significant one when it's all said and done.

#12-Brannon Brooks 5-8, 194 Fr. CB: Brooks has been limited since not making weight for his position. He has really hit the weights and has been holding steady with the third-team defense.

#13-Luke Ashworth 6-2, 195 So. WR: Ashworth and Chambers look to fill out the two-deep roster at wideout along with starters Michael Reed and Austin Collie. Ashworth has had some good moments in camp as he continues to work on his chemistry and timing with Hall.

#13-Christain Stewart 6-0, 190 Fr. QB: Stewart comes to BYU with some pretty impressive high school credentials, having led a very prolific passing offense in high school. Stewart recorded the third-most passing yards in Utah prep history his senior season. Look for Stewart to get some scout team work this year.

#15-Max Hall 6-1, 201 Jr. QB: Hall is playing like you'd expect him to, although he's been hindered a bit by not having Collie during practice sessions. Dennis Pitta and Harvey Unga have also seen their respective reps severely limited here of late, but Hall has made do without them well, leading to some prolific practice performances.

#16-Kellen Fowler 5-11, 187 Sr. DB: Fowler has played as steady this fall as you'd expect. Lately Fowler has shown very well in defending the deep ball, as it's becoming increasingly difficult to complete long passes during most practice sessions.

#16-BJ Peterson 6-3, 196 So. WR: Peterson looks to be a promising receiving prospect. He's been a very consistent performer for the second- and third-team offensive units, using his size to his advantage during most practice sessions.

#17-G Pittman 5-10, 189 Fr. CB: Pittman was having a great week of practice before going down with a head injury. Now that he's back he'll make a strong push to unseat Howard from his starting cornerback spot. At the very least, Pittman will provide a ready and able backup to Howard this season.

#18-Justin Sorensen 6-1, 222 Fr. K: Sorensen had a rough start upon entering fall camp, but has steadily proven more consistent. It appears at this point that Mitch Payne will retain his role as primary kicker, with Sorensen handling kickoff responsibilities.

#18-Travis Uale 6-2, 200 Fr. DB: Uale isn't seeing a lot of reps as of right now, but shows great size and should be in the mix at safety in future years.

#19-Cameron Comer 6-0, 189 Fr. CB: Comer looked completely lost and overwhelmed his first week of practice, but has really started to come on here of late. It's no secret that Comer came into camp as a very raw prospect with a lot of upside, and early on we're seeing some of that upside. Right now he's entrenched as one of the cornerbacks with the third-team defense.

#19-Rex Morgan 5-10, 180 Fr. DB: Morgan is getting most of his work with the third- and fourth-team defensive units.

#20-Reed White 5-10, 190 Sr. WR: Look for Reed White to be returning punts for the Cougars this year. Coaches feel that White has been the most consistent return man and the player who is best able to consistently make the 10-yard minimum gain that the coaches ask of their punt returner.

#21-Scott Johnson 5-11, 185 Jr. CB: Johnson is the player who will not go away, and thereby benefits the Cougar defense. He simply has a knack for being exactly where he needs to be in coverage when he needs to be there.

Whatever he lacks in overall athleticism relative to Bradley, Johnson makes up for in smarts. Coach Hill's defensive coverage system is specifically designed for athletes such as Johnson, and he is thriving because of it.

#22-Andrew Rich 6-3, 202 So. DB: Rich is another one of those players who has seen good and consistent improvement throughout fall camp. Rich will be backing up both safety positions and thereby fulfill a critical role within the Cougar defense this year.

#23-Kelly Bills 6-0, 230 Jr. FB: Due to a very unfortunate run of concussions, Bills is likely done with football for good, which is a shame since he showed well at fullback early on this month.

#23-David Tafuna 6-1, 211 Sr. DB: Talk about a boost to the defense. When Tafuna returned to the lineup after his own injury issues, the boost he gave the defense was readily apparent to observers.

Tafuna is very well-seasoned in the Cougar defensive system, and it shows. Along with Fowler, he gives the Cougars some very good and consistent play over the middle of the field. Tafuna is also a great athlete who provides a physical and athletic presence across the middle of the field.

#24-Steven Thomas 5-11, 172 Fr. DB: Thomas was beginning to emerge as both a free safety and kick returner before going down with an injury this past scrimmage. Hopefully Thomas can come back fully healthy, as his improvement has been exciting to note.

#25-Gary Nagy 6-1, 185 Fr. DB: Nagy is holding steady with the third-team defense and at times got reps with the second-team defense when one of the first- and second-team corners didn't participate in drills. Nagy has good size and he aims to break the two-deep in future seasons.


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