SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – 2020 was a particular 12 months for BYU soccer, who turned the chaos of faculty soccer amidst a world pandemic into one among their most profitable seasons in many years. That success continues to repay as 5 former Cougars heard their names referred to as through the 2021 NFL Draft.

Underclassmen Zach Wilson, Brady Christensen and Dax Milne capitalized on their success and located properties within the NFL. Seniors Khyiris Tonga and Chris Wilcox turned their time at BYU into choices within the NFL Draft. All of these gamers have been under-recruited out of college and turned adversity into accomplishment.

Five gamers chosen within the NFL Draft are probably the most choices from BYU in a single draft since 2002. Zach Wilson grew to become the highest-selected participant from BYU in NFL Draft historical past, when he was chosen 2nd to the New York Jets. Brady Christensen was the primary BYU offensive lineman drafted in 16 years. And he was chosen with the seventieth decide, the identical as former Cougs Fred Warner (2018) and Bronson Kaufusi (2016).

Needless to say, the 2021 NFL Draft can be one remembered fondly by Cougar followers for years to come back. Here are the largest NFL Draft lessons from BYU since 1980, as heard on the “Top 5” phase on Cougar Sports Saturday (KSL Newsradio, Noon-3pm).

BYU’s Largest NFL Draft Classes Since 1980


Following a 12-2 season, the primary within the post-Lavell Edwards period for BYU, the Cougars despatched 5 gamers into the league within the 2002 NFL Draft. Two gamers went within the 2nd spherical, TE Doug Jolley to the Oakland Raiders and DE Ryan Denney to the Buffalo Bills. The stars on offense for the Cougars in 2001 have been QB Brandon Doman and Doak Walker award winner RB Luke Staley. Doman was taken within the fifth spherical by the San Francisco 49ers and Staley was chosen within the seventh spherical by the Detroit Lions. The participant who had one of the best profession, although, was the final participant chosen: DE Brett Keisel. The Pittsburgh Steelers picked Keisel with the 242nd decide and he was a steal. Keisel performed 12 seasons for the Steelers, making a professional bowl and successful two Super Bowls.


BYU was a Top 25 staff in 1994, going 10-3 with a Top 30 offense. It was the Cougar offense that had NFL groups within the 1995 NFL Draft, the place 4 out of the 5 BYU gamers chosen got here from the offense. QB John Walsh entered the draft as a junior, due largely to overly-optimistic draft expectations. He was chosen within the seventh spherical by the Cincinnati Bengals.

Two offensive linemen have been drafted in 1995. G Evan Pilgrim was chosen within the third spherical by the Chicago Bears and T Eli Herring was drafted by the Oakland Raiders within the sixth spherical. Herring advised NFL groups he wouldn’t play within the league due to his refusal to play on Sundays. Despite that the Raiders nonetheless drafted Herring, who in any other case would have been an early choice within the draft. TE Tim Hanshaw was picked by the San Francisco 49ers within the 4th spherical and DT Travis Hall was picked within the sixth spherical by the Atlanta Falcons.


In 1985, BYU adopted up their nationwide championship season with one other strong 12 months. The Cougars went 10-3 and by no means fell decrease than 18th within the AP ballot. Many of the celebs on the 1984 staff entered the NFL this 12 months and it led to seven Cougars being drafted within the 1986 NFL Draft. The highest choice was QB Robbie Bosco, who went within the third spherical to the Green Bay Packers.

Three linebackers have been taken from the stellar Cougar protection. The Cincinnati Bengals took two, choosing Leon White within the fifth spherical and Cary Whittingham within the ninth spherical. Kurt Gouveia was chosen by Washington within the eighth spherical. Vai Sikahema grew to become a particular groups star after being drafted by the St Louis Cardinals within the tenth spherical. WR Glen Kozlowski was drafted by the Chicago Bears within the eleventh spherical and DB Jeff Sprowls was chosen by the San Diego Chargers within the twelfth spherical.


Success brings consideration from the NFL, as we’ve seen in 2021. After a nationwide championship season in 1984, the Cougars had 5 gamers chosen within the 1985 NFL Draft. C Trevor Matich was a 1st spherical decide, going twenty eighth to the New England Patriots. DB Kyle Morrell was chosen within the 4th spherical by the Minnesota Vikings. The St Louis Cardinals took G Luis Wong within the fifth spherical and the Dallas Cowboys drafted DE Jim Herrmann within the seventh spherical. It was P Lee Johnson who would had the longest profession of the bunch. After being chosen within the fifth spherical by the Houston Oilers, Johnson performed 18 years within the NFL and gained a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots.


The BYU Cougars had the #1 offense in 1980, led by QB Jim McMahon.  After successful the Miracle Bowl in opposition to SMU, the Cougars despatched seven gamers to the league within the 1981 NFL Draft. TE Clay Brown was the primary to listen to his identify, going within the 2nd spherical to the Denver Broncos. Two extensive receivers have been taken within the draft: Scott Phillips to the Seattle Seahawks within the 4th spherical and Lloyd Jones to the New York Jets within the eighth spherical.

RB Eric Lane was additionally chosen within the eighth spherical, becoming a member of his teammate Phillips with the Seattle Seahawks. T Nick Eyre was drafted by the Houston Oilers within the 4th spherical. Two defensive gamers have been taken on this draft. DE Galen Titensor was taken within the third spherical by the Dallas Cowboys and LB Glen Redd was drafted by the New Orleans Saints within the eighth spherical.

The Cougars are already seeing the fruits of their success in 2020. Five gamers chosen within the 2021 NFL Draft and even more players signing as undrafted free agents. There’s a brand new wave of Cougar alumni within the league and extra to come back. Kalani Sitake and his employees have proven that they’ll develop 2-3 star recruits into NFL expertise. Perhaps final 12 months’s success will assist Sitake safe extra prime recruits sooner or later. We gained’t know for some time how profitable this group of gamers can be within the NFL, however this group can be remembered as one of many greatest draft lessons in BYU historical past.

Listen to your entire phase from Cougar Sports Saturday discussing the 2021 NFL Draft and BYU’s greatest draft lessons since 1980.

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