Cougars 1-25

G-man reviews the first fourth of the roster in his semi-annual ultimate roster guide. The first fourth of the roster includes the quarterbacks, defensive backs and position players that are competing this fall for spots on the two-deep roster and regular rotation.

#1-Jordan Pendleton 6-2, 228 So. LB: Pendleton has seen just about every rep at strong side linebacker, or the Sam position, and has steadily progressed since making the switch to the position this past spring. He's shown very good work while making plays in space, which is of necessity for the position in Jaime Hill's 3-4 defensive system.

The big question surrounding Pendleton is in his run defense and coming off of blocks. So far this fall he's seen some good moments in that area and has subsequently been praised by coaches. Pendleton's play will largely determine how effective the defense as a whole proves to be this season.

#2-Shiloah Te'o 5-10, 206 So. DB: Te'o's development within the defense has been very interesting to note. He's already proven to be an effective backup option at the Kat or strong safety position, but now has spent the bulk of his time being cross-trained at the Buck linebacker position.

Te'o will play a key role in nickel packages and against spread offenses this coming season, which was the purpose of the move. He has very good instincts and has worked to improve those instincts this fall at a different position. We'll anxiously note the development of his role during the final week of practices now that he's been cross-trained effectively.

#3-Garett Nicholson 5-9, 181 Fr. DB: Nicholson was all but buried on the depth chart the first week of practice, as both Robbie Buckner and Brian Logan were getting reps over him. Lately, however, Nicholson has seen a lot of reps with the ones in large part due to Buckner's nagging hamstring injury.

Nicholson has remained hard-working and determined, however, as he's been somewhat reborn here in the last week or so since he's earned himself first-team reps. To stay with the first-team, he'll have to work on his consistency and ability to make plays.

#4-O'Neill Chambers 6-2, 210 So. WR: Chambers has been a mainstay at the XR position and will see the bulk of the reps there this coming season. He's becoming more and more reliable with every practice and has made several key third-down conversions during practice sessions, which has earned him more trust from Max Hall.

Chambers' biggest assets are his strength and his hands. What he's working hard on to improve are his route running and knowledge of the offensive system. Once he gets those aspects down, he'll prove at least as effective as Michael Reed at the position.

#4-Brad Sorensen 6-4, 224 So. QB: Sorenson is the fourth or fifth quarterback on the team right now, depending upon the day. He has very good natural quarterbacking skills and a very good arm.

#5-Brandon Bradley 6-0, 200 Jr. DB: Bradley has had a frustrating fall camp because he's been hampered by knee and groin injuries. When he's healthy he's proven to be very effective from his boundary corner position, but it's somewhat questionable at this point if he'll be fully effective come the Cougars' opening date against Oklahoma.

Bradley presents a strong, athletic presence at the boundary position that can lock down wide receivers while providing good run support. We'll be watching when he comes back to practice within the next week and how effective he proves to be then.

#6-McKay Jacobson 5-11, 192 So. WR: Jacobson will likely be the top wideout on the team this coming season. He doesn't appear as if he's missed a beat since his mission service and may have even improved upon his impressive game that he displayed as a true freshman.

Jacobson will play a key role in this year's offense in that he's a legitimate deep threat that can spread the coverages, thereby opening up routes for the tight ends, running backs and other receivers. He's shown to be a very good route runner and subsequently has a lot of trust from Hall. Jacobson will also handle both the punt and kick return duties.

#7-Brian Logan 5-6, 176 Jr. DB: Logan showed very well with the first-team defense during the first scrimmage and since Buckner has been forced to sit down. He has a very good nose for the ball and has proven to be a very effective open-field tackler.

Logan's disadvantage is obviously his height, but along with Buckner and Lee Aguirre, he's made more plays on the ball this fall than the other cornerbacks I've seen. He's thrived most during live situations, which is a good indication of being game-ready.

#9-Jray Galea'i 6-0, 193 Fr. DB: Galea'i has been a mainstay with the second-team defense playing mostly at the free safety position, although he's being cross-trained at Kat as well. He's shown very good instincts and has made some standout plays on the ball during practice sessions. It will be difficult for him to crack the rotation this year, but the future definitely looks bright for him, as he's proven to be a legitimate prospect this fall.

#9-Josh Hamblin 6-1, 196 Fr. QB: Just like Sorensen, he's the fourth or fifth quarterback in the program from day to day.

#10-J.J. Di Luigi 5-9, 198 So. RB: Di Luigi has seen a ton of work this fall and has responded very well as a result. He has worked to separate himself from those he's competing with during every practice session by simply making the plays he's been asked to.

While he won't be a featured back this year, he will play a significant role in spelling Harvey Unga. Throughout the fall he's shown increased burst, better lateral movement and has simply become more dependable, which has earned him the trust of coaches. Coach Reynolds doesn't separate running backs from fullbacks and labeled Di Luigi as his second or third back just prior to the return of Manase Tonga.

#11-Parker Mangum 6-4, 212 Sr. WR: Mangum has held steady with the second- and third-team offense throughout the fall.

#11-Manase Tonga 6-0, 238 Sr. RB: The big news here is that he's simply part of this article thanks to finally becoming eligible and finding his way onto BYU's roster. Tonga's return is enormous in regards to what the offense can do as a result.

Tonga knows the offense as well as anyone and it was apparent how big of a boost he gave them after just one day of practice. He now needs to work his way back into playing shape and will likely get a lot of practice reps in order to do that.

#12-Stephen Covey 5-11, 188 So. WR: Covey has begun to emerge somewhat with the third-team offense. He's had to learn his third position while at BYU and has made progress slowly but securely. We'll watch for what contributions he'll be able to make, as he's likely pegged for scout-team duty this year.

#13-Carter Mees 5-11, 192 Fr. DB: Mees has been seeing reps with the third-team defense at safety. He's likely going to see scout-team duty this year, and we'll watch for the progressions he makes throughout the season.

#13-Riley Nelson 6-0, 207 So. QB: Nelson is currently getting all his reps with the second-team offense, as Brenden Gaskins graciously relinquished the backup duties earlier this week. Nelson is still struggling to learn the offense, but during live situations has shown great ability to buy time and to make yards with his feet.

#15-Max Hall 6-1, 201 Sr. QB: Hall has quietly become very proficient at moving the offense this fall. He looks very similar to how John Beck did his senior season, in that he's distributing the ball equally while having complete command of the offense.

Hall has always been vocal, but maybe even more so during this fall practice session. He's been working tirelessly with his new wideouts in particular, making sure they're seeing what he's seeing in regards to coverages and how to react accordingly. All of this work should pave the way for what looks to be a monster senior year for him and the offense as a whole.

#16-J.D. Falslev 5-8, 173 Fr. WR: Falslev has shown a lot of promise as a preferred walk-on. He presents a real option at the slot receiver or HR position in the future. Falslev has very good straight-ahead speed and is very shifty. He'll be hard-pressed to get into any sort of rotation this year, but should get a shot at kick returns.

#16-Brenden Gaskins 6-4, 215 Sr. QB: Gaskins graciously gave the backup spot to Nelson, but after Saturday's scrimmage this reporter is wondering if it was a bit premature. Gaskins has limitations, but does provide a consistent option behind Hall. Nelson provides unique options and perhaps more upside, but short of Nelson improving drastically on his scrimmage performances, Gaskins is the more secure choice to back up Hall.

#17-Landon Jaussi 6-5, 210 Jr. DB: Jaussi has seen a lot of reps with the second-team defense here of late while playing the boundary corner position. He has proven to be a physical player who uses his superior height effectively. He'll likely be behind Bradley and Lee Aguirre on the depth chart when it's all said and done.

#18-Craig Bills 6-1, 209 Fr. DB: I can't remember a safety since Aaron Francisco that had a better initial practice session at the position than Bills has had this fall. Bills certainly has the talent, but has proven to be remarkably aware of what is going on and what his assignments are during practice sessions.

Bills most likely will have a role within the defense this season. He'll certainly be on the two-deep roster and will likely be used in certain situations, as he's shown the ability to complete assignments when he's been given the opportunity.

#19-Trevor Bateman 5-9, 178 Fr. CB: Bateman hasn't had the impact necessary to play as a true freshman so far. He'll leave for a mission following the season and will most likely spend the season getting valuable experience on the scout team.

#19-Matt Marshall 5-10, 171 So. WR: Marshall has had some nice practice moments with the first-team offense, although he's been running primarily with the second-team here of late. Marshall has good quicks and will add quality depth to the wideout position this coming season.

#20-Lee Aguirre 5-9, 204 Jr. CB: From the first practice up until Saturday's scrimmage, Aguirre has provided the most consistent play of all the new junior college corners from my observations. He provides a very strong body and simply knows how to play the position. Aguirre has all but locked up a spot on the two-deep roster at the very least and looks to be game-ready.

#21-Scott Johnson 5-11, 188 Sr. DB: Johnson is the quarterback of the defense, as he's become Coach Hill's shining student of his 3-4 defense. Being as such, he'll provide very consistent play at the free safety position, which is paramount.

Johnson has also shown good play-making ability, as his knowledge of the defense allows him to quickly react and get to the right spots. He'll be a huge benefit to the overall production of the secondary throughout the season while raising the level of those he plays alongside.

#22-Andrew Rich 6-3, 223 Jr. DB: Rich is the type of physical and aggressive presence that one wants playing strong safety. He's shown increased knowledge of the defensive scheme this fall that goes along very nicely with his aggressive style.

The potential of both Rich and Johnson at the two safety positions is exciting and could very well be considered the strength of the defense, if not for the prospects of a very deep and talented defensive line. Fans can expect Rich to have a very good season based on his camp performance.

#23-Mitch Mathews 6-6, 202 Fr. WR: Mathews hurt his ankle and couldn't perform for most of this past week, which, among other factors, may preempt him from any regular role this season. Despite that, Mathews has had a solid fall camp. His obvious advantage is his superior height, but he's proven to be no stiff in showing good route running ability and speed to compliment his height.

#23-Travis Uale 6-2, 195 So. DB: Uale has been passed up by Bills and Galea'i as options at safety, but remains a promising prospect nevertheless. He's likely ticketed for scout-team duty this year, which he could use to his advantage, as a lot of those currently in front of him at the position will be leaving for missions or graduating before the 2010 season.

#24-Steven Thomas 5-11, 176 So. DB: Thomas has been switched back to safety, where he's seeing most of his work with the second-team defense. This speaks well to the overall strength of the boundary position in that they simply don't need him there anymore, allowing him to play his more natural position of safety.

#25-Corby Eason 5-8, 174 So. CB: Eason has provided some very promising practice moments mixed in with some assignment uncertainty that is common for new players. He'll be hard-pressed to surpass either Logan or Buckner on the depth chart, but looks to be a good option at the position in future seasons.


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