5 To Watch: BYU Defense

Totalbluesports.com and BYU beat writer Talo Steves gives Irish fans an inside look at five BYU Cougar defenders to watch in this Saturday's contest with Notre Dame.

#3 -- OLB Kyle Van Noy: An All-American selection by Phil Steele, USA Today, SI.com, and Sporting News, Kyle Van Noy has been selected to just about every award watch list. The senior Cougar is the only college defensive player to put a checkmark in every statistical box over the past two years to be named the CFPA National Player of the Year in his junior season. Van Noy will be facing a physical and experienced Zack Martin at the left tackle position and should be a good matchup to watch.

#41 -- MLB Uani Unga: While Kyle Van Noy might be the one that gets all the attention, senior Uani Unga is arguably one of the best middle linebackers in the Coach Mendenhal era. Unga is one of the leading tacklers on BYU's defense and recorded 15 tackles against Wisconsin, 17 against Boise State, 13 against Houston, 10 against Georgia Tech, and 17 against Utah State. A versatile middle linebacker, Unga is stout in the middle against the run, covers well in space, and has the speed to cover well from side to side.

#4 -- CB Robertson Daniel: A safety at DeAnza Junior College, Daniel was recruited by BYU to play boundary corner. Following a season ending injury to two-year starter Jordan Johnson, Daniel was moved to field corner where his performance over the course of this season has been outstanding for the most part. Daniel has surpassed everyone's expectations and has become a solid pass defender in BYU' secondary.

#5 -- DL Ethan Manumaleuna: A fifth year senior having started five years, Manumaleuna has been a strong, versatile, and consistent player across BYU's defensive line every year he's started. He's been named to the Outland Trophy watch list and recorded 10 tackles in BYU's season opener against Virginia this season. Against the Badgers of Wisconsin, Manumaleuna recorded six tackles in Madison playing in BYU's 3-4-4 defensive system.

#9 -- S Daniel Sorensen: One of the leading tacklers on the defense, Sorensen brings experience, physicality and a hawkish nose for the ball to the Cougar secondary. An athletic player with a large position I.Q, Sorensen is one that has become a major force in BYU's secondary both in the passing game and in run defense. His name is being tossed around as a NFL draft pick for both his play at the safety position as well as for his special teams play.

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