BYU All-Decade Defense

The Cougars weren't without some standout defensive players this past decade. G-man gives his All-Decade defenders, which include a lot of current players and a few that played around the turn of the century. Those players are revealed here in the second installment of the All-Decade BYU football team.

Defensive End

First-Team: Jan Jorgensen 6-3, 260/Ryan Denney 6-7, 275

Jan Jorgensen started in each of his four seasons as a Cougar and was at one point the MWC all-time sack leader. He was a three-time All-MWC performer, receiving First-Team honors as both a sophomore and senior.

Ryan Denney played around the turn of the century and had his best years in 2000 and 2001. He was a First-Team All-MWC selection as a senior and was a second-round draft pick for the Buffalo Bills, where he still plays.

Second-Team: Setema Gali 6-4, 245/Brett Denney 6-4, 251

Setema Gali was named to the All-MWC Second-Team as a junior and finished out his senior year on the All-MWC First-Team. He led the team in sacks his senior season in 2000.

Brett Denney was a two-year starter while seeing significant playing time his sophomore season. He finished out his career at BYU by being named as an All-MWC performer.

Nose Tackle

First-Team: Chris Hoke 6-2, 295

Chris Hoke finished out his career at BYU in 2000 and was a Second-Team All-MWC performer. He went on to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers and is still there today as a valuable contributor to their defense.

Second-Team: Ifo Pili 6-3, 310

Ifo Pili started from 2001-2003 and recorded 12 sacks as a junior. He was a two-time All-MWC performer.

Inside Linebacker

First-Team: Cameron Jensen 6-2, 235/Justin Ena 6-3, 261

Cameron Jensen was the unquestioned team leader of the defense from 2004-2006. He led the team in tackles in each of his three seasons and was an All-MWC performer in each of those years.

Justin Ena was a three-year starter from 1999-2001. He led BYU in tackles during his junior and senior seasons while being named as a First-Team All-MWC performer in both of those years.

Second-Team: Kelly Poppinga 6-2, 240/Matt Bauman 6-1, 220

Kelly Poppinga only started one season at inside linebacker, but led the team in tackles that one year while being named as an All-MWC performer. He spent his junior year contributing heavily at outside linebacker before being moved to the inside.

Matt Bauman was a four-year starter for BYU, earning All-MWC academic honors in all four of those seasons.

Outside Linebacker

First-Team: Bryan Kehl 6-2, 225/Brady Poppinga 6-3, 257

Bryan Kehl was a First-Team All-MWC performer as a senior and tied for the team lead in interceptions that season with three. He went on to be drafted by the New York Giants in the fourth round.

Brady Poppinga was a three-year starter for BYU from 2002-2004. He played a variety of positions while at BYU, including defensive end, but is best known for his contributions at outside linebacker. He was a First-Team All-MWC performer in each of his three seasons as a starter before being drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the fourth round.

Second-Team: David Nixon 6-3, 215/Colby Bockwoldt 6-3, 220

David Nixon started in each of his four seasons, providing great play while receiving All-MWC academic honors during his final three years.

Colby Bockwoldt was a two-year starter in the 2002 and 2003 seasons while being named as an All-MWC performer during both of those years. He went on to be drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the seventh round.

Free Safety

First-Team: Aaron Francisco 6-2, 215

Aaron Francisco started at free safety and at the "Cougar" position in the 3-3-5 defense from 2002-2004. He received All-MWC honors in each of his three years starting, including First-Team honors in 2003 and 2004.

Second-Team: Quinn Gooch 6-1, 190

Quinn Gooch played during the 2004-2007 seasons and was named as an All-MWC performer during his junior and senior seasons. He tied for the team lead in interceptions his senior year with three.

Strong Safety

First-Team: Jared Lee 6-0, 210

Jared Lee led the team in tackles as a junior while being named as an All-MWC performer his senior year in 2000.

Second-Team: Jon Burbidge 6-1, 205

Jon Burbidge was a three-year starter during the 2002-2004 seasons. He finished out his career receiving All-MWC honors as a senior.

Cornerback

First-Team: Jenaro Gilford 6-2, 185/Ben Criddle 6-0, 185

Jenaro Gilford was a three-year starter from 2001-2003. He led the team in interceptions in 2001 and received All-MWC honors in 2001 and 2003. His 2002 season was cut short due to injury.

Ben Criddle was a two-year starter at boundary corner, where he became a key component of the defense both years while receiving All-MWC academic honors. Criddle was also the best tackling CB of the decade.

Second-Team: Brandon Heaney 5-11, 185/Justin Robinson

Brandon Heaney starred opposite Gilford for most of his career, playing from 2001-2004. Heaney was a gutty performer who played an entire year with a separated shoulder. He tied for the team lead in interceptions in 2002 while being named as an All-MWC performer that same year.

Justin Robinson started at field corner from 2005-2006. He led the team in interceptions as a senior while providing very good play during that season.

Punter

First-Team: Matt Payne 6-4, 234

Matt Payne was BYU's punter from 2002-2004. He received First-Team All-MWC honors as a punter in 2004 He averaged 45.4 yards per punt during his career.

Second-Team: Aaron Edmonds 5-11, 190

Aaron Edmonds received All-MWC honors in both his seasons as punter in 2000 and 2001.


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