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August 31, 2015

Presenting the 2015 BYU BIFF

-- Who takes home the coveted freshman prize this season?

Last year I introduced a concept I'd practiced for some time yet never produced in blog form: the picking of the BIFF! The anointing of the Best Incoming Freshman Footballer is one of my favorite fall traditions. After patrolling Twitter and Cougarboard like a hawk, investigating each snippet of filmed practice in the name of Zapruder and analyzing every coaches comment, I pick a few blades of grass, mash them in a bowl, and like Rafiki before me toss these remnants into the wind as I bestow the title of BIFF on my chosen Freshman. Sadly, I whiffed on last year's BIFF. My man Trey Dye had all the markings of a great one -- the pedigree, hair, number selection, pathway to playing time -- but Tejan Koroma had something better. These. 

The Man With Tree Arms started every game for the Cougars at center, earned freshman all-american status in the process, following in the footsteps of famous BYU forebearers Austin Collie, Harvey Unga and Matt Reynolds (to name a few from the realm of the recent). Somehow Koroma's 2014 year wasn't the only standout performance from the youngsters. Fred showed well before multiple injuries descended, Takitaki and Preator were beyond serviceable and Horse Meat was a lock on the offensive line. It was a great year to be young and on the BYU roster. Even a fool like me predicted as much, evidenced by this snippet from last year's post. 

"What a great year (2014) we're in for with BYU freshman. Where 2011 was the famine, I now officially welcome you to the feast."

Will 2015 be as plentiful? Let's run through some of the potential newcomers and analyze their chances at BIFF stardom. A reminder on the rules of BIFF picking. The selection is not awarded to the player expected to have the best career or future, just the biggest freshman year impact. For a refresher on past years' results click here.

CB Dayan Lake
When was the last time BYU's highest rated recruit was a defensive back? I don't know, but I'm guessing never. Historically the corner has been BYU's weakest position team wide -- meaning an incoming 4-star recruit should be a lock to make an immediate impact -- but this year the team returns two seasoned starters from 2014 in Jordan Preator and Michael Davis, not to mention another highly touted freshman in Michael Shelton. Lake's opportunities to shine may be limited this year. 

CB Michael Shelton
See Dayan Lake.

WR Moroni Laulu-Pututau
The captain in waiting, I was pumped for this guy for two long mission years, expecting him to take the mantle of 'next great tight end' upon his return. Then I learn he weighs a trim 190 and is anticipated to play at WR. I'm selling my MLP stock if anyone's interested.1
1. Bronco is infatuated with tall receivers playing on the outside. I'm guessing from a defensive perspective he believes they are harder to defend and he's right: if the receivers are fast, which BYU's giants have never been. So on MLP as a WR I'm not thrilled.Spotted in the middle of the field as a TE, lack of speed isn't nearly so debilitating. 

QB Tanner Mangum
Please no. I can't lose him again.

DB Morgan Unga
The offseason workout wonder, I haven't heard much from this fellow in fall camp. Still ... the name Morgan reminds me of this. The name Unga reminds me of that. For these reasons I expect this frosh to always hold a spot in my heart, regardless of contribution.

DL Tevita Mo'Unga
A big body that packs more Unga than even Morgan Unga. Wow that joke was terrible. Moving on.

OL Jaterrius Gulley
On here only because he has an awesome name. Best name on the team, no questions asked. Not likely to contribute much unless bad things happen to the offensive line. I hope those bad things do not happen.

LB Scott Huntsman

Yes. I like this. Getting into fights and stirring up bad blood with seniors because they don't know their assignments is a good sign. May the legend of the walk-on turned hype-master grow ever on. So stoked am I to see this story unfold that Huntsman would be the 2015 BIFF if it weren't for ...

RBs Riley Burt and Francis Bernard

When Jamal Williams was announced AWOL for the 2015 season, I wanted to punch a baby wearing a University of Utah bib. After completing the stages of grief, aided in part by a trip or three to Bear Lake, I honed in on the one silver lining that is available whenever a star disappears: the opportunity for someone new to shine. According to all reasonable sources, the hole left by Jamal is to be filled by a combination of slow motion Algernon Brown, walk-on garbage time yard-per-carry hero Nate Carter and the best there ever was at running in a straight line, Adam Hine.

Color me less than impressed with the trio of alternates.

Waiting further down the wings are two freshman runners, Riley Burt and Francis Bernard. Bernard is the potential power back, a bruiser Bronson Kaufusi called the biggest hitter on the offensive side of the ball. Burt is the more traditional runner, a track athlete with speed to burn. I know to choose two players seems a bit of a violation of BIFF protocol, but on their own these two will never be able to develop into anything special. But together? Together they form a fire-and-ice duo that will be known through all of college football, even through all of college football history, by one name and one name only:


To the gods of football, you know I don't ask much. Today I make this small request. You've seen what we've done with nicknames before. Let us do it once more. Bless us with these BIFFs. Bless us with this comedy. Amen.

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