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BYU football: 10 players to buy stock in (10 items)

By , Deseret News

July 9, 2014

PROVO — BYU’s media day last month brought with it the typical buzz associated with the team and its prospects for the coming season. The team returns a lot of veteran players who are likely due for improvement along with some up-and-comers, who were talked about with optimism by both coaches and players.

So which players seem to have created the most buzz with their offseason workouts and otherwise?

Here’s a look at 10 such players who would be smart stock buys for those looking for some quick gains heading into the 2014 football season.

1 of 10. Algie Brown, 6-1, 219, running back

Brown is a bruiser and a “jack of all trades,” according to running backs coach Mark Atuaia. A standout during most practice sessions, the sophomore running back is set to play a big role within BYU’s offense this season.

Last season, fans saw a glimpse of what Brown is capable of given his 234 rushing yards and two touchdowns playing as a redshirt freshman.

Quote: “Algie is a lot like the typical running backs BYU has had in years past. A guy like Harvey Unga, or a Manase Tonga — a player who can do a variety of things and run with a lot of strength and power. Also a guy who can catch the football and block well. We’re looking for all that from Algie, and I think he could have a special year for us,” said Atuaia.

2 of 10. Edward Fusi, 6-0, 317, offensive lineman

Fusi was able to contribute almost immediately last season despite having missed most of fall practices waiting to be cleared academically as a junior college transfer. This year hold no setbacks for the assumed starting center along with what looks to be a vastly improved offensive front.

Fusi’s buzz started in earnest during spring practices and has continued into the summer workout period.

Quote: “Fuse (Fusi) is the man. He’s like a bulldog, and he’s real intelligent in knowing everyone’s assignment, and he’s a true leader that way. He’s always been a good football player, but now that he’s in shape and has a year under his belt — he’s going to get it done this year. No doubt,” said offensive lineman De’Ondre Wesley.

3 of 10. Tuni Kanuch, 6-2, 325, offensive lineman

If you’re looking for an influx of attitude and physicality along the BYU offensive front, look no further than Kanuch. The freshman switched over from the defense in spring and was received immediately by coaches and teammates as a potentially huge component to the offensive line’s overall success this coming season.

Quote: “Tuni adds that hard edge to our room that helps everyone. Guys start fighting more when they have that and when they’re surrounded by it. That’s what Tuni brings, and we’re going to benefit huge from it and we already saw some of that in spring,” said offensive line coach Garett Tujague.

4 of 10. Nick Kurtz, 6-6, 205, wide receiver

It was well noted throughout spring that Kurtz had to climb a steep learning curve, which limited his overall practice production initially. Toward the end of the practice session, however, the highly recruited junior college prospect began to show why schools such as USC and Oregon offered him out of Grossmont Junior College.

Now with a good grasp of the offense, Kurtz is an excellent buy as someone who could explode into a top offensive option his first year in Provo.

Quote: “Nick is smart and after three weeks of fast study he just did his thing in spring. I mean, we saw it immediately in other drills, but when things started clicking for him with how we do things, you started to see him make big plays. That’s only going to get better and better this fall, and I’m excited for him. I’m excited about how much he can help us this year,” said receiver Mitch Mathews.

5 of 10. Jordan Leslie, 6-3, 210, receiver

It’s somewhat risky to buy stock in someone yet to complete even one practice session, such as Leslie, but those who know best (coaches and players) are completely sold. A veteran player with three years under his belt at UTEP, big things are expected for the transfer in his only season playing for the Cougars.

Quote: “You can see it immediately when he’s out there working out. He’s a lot like (Kurtz) in that you can immediately know he’s a player capable of big things. He’s going to experience some learning this fall, but it helps that he’s been in a college system before,” said Mathews.
1. Darren Rowe
Heber City, UT,
July 9, 2014

Out of all these players, I really hope Zac Stout has a breakout season. It would be awesome to see him work back to where he plays and succeeds on this team.

I think Manoa is the most likely to have a breakout year. BYU's defense is designed to let the middle LB's be tackling machines, and they have delivered for years. We keep on cranking them out. In my opinion, Manoa has the talent of Uani Unga with the motor and insanity of Brandon Ogletree. Hopefully, he will add the leadership abilities of Cameron Jensen.

Watch out for Trevor Bateman. He could be a dark horse. Many players and coaches have mentioned how good he was in spring, and speed is the word that always comes up. I know the secondary is very deep. I'm not saying he will start or even play a ton, but watch for him to be impressive when he comes in.

2. Meckofahess
Salt Lake City, UT,
July 9, 2014

Oh, please college football season come quick - I can hardly wait!. I think this is going to be a fantastic year for the Cougars. Looking forward to some exiting games and that feeling that comes from winning lots of ball games. Go Cougs!