BYU Cougars’ Top 10 Returning Players in 2024 Include Tyler Batty, Chase Roberts

    After struggling late in 2023, the BYU Cougars will rely on an experienced offensive line and lower-level defensive transfers to right the ship in 2024.

    Despite a strong start to their time in the Big 12, the BYU Cougars struggled to build a consistent pass rush on defense and passing attack on offense, leading to an unfortunate five-game losing streak to end the year.

    The Cougars returned a ton of offensive line talent and reached into the lower levels of college football to address some defensive inconsistencies. As a result, the BYU Top 10 returning players in 2024 are a solid mix of existing talent and intriguing newcomers.

    BYU Cougars’ Top 10 Returners in 2024

    10) Marque Collins, CB

    Staying healthy is the key for the Weber State transfer, who will likely start at corner this season. One of the oldest players in college football, Marque Collins is entering his seventh season after injuries have limited him to just six games in the last two years.

    When healthy, Collins is an elite cover corner, picking off more passes in his career (four) than touchdowns surrendered in coverage (two). He’s a day-one starter if he’s healthy enough to play.

    9) Connor Pay, OC

    Connor Pay started every game last season, first at right guard, then at center. It took him a few weeks to settle in at center, but once he did that, he was a solid player in the middle. With a full offseason to work at center, Pay is expected to be a key piece of one of the most experienced offensive lines in football.

    8) Jakob Robinson, CB

    Jakob Robinson was actually the second-leading tackler for the Cougars in 2023, registering 39 solo stops last season. He also had four interceptions and seven pass breakups in coverage.

    He’s back as a senior this season, and the Cougars will rely heavily on his experience and talent on the back end as the secondary has a lot of pressure on it with the relative struggles of the pass rush.

    7) Weylin Lapuaho, OG

    One of several returning starters on the offensive line, Weylin Lapuaho will be key in protecting the quarterback in 2024. A slightly better pass protector than run blocker, Lapuaho had a solid season in 2023 and will look to take the next step in 2024.

    6) Isaiah Bagnah, Edge

    A better run defender than pass rusher, Isaiah Bagnah had a solid but unspectacular year in 2023. This season, he looks ready to take the next step. Outside of the top player on this list, BYU’s pass rush was non-existent last year, evidenced by Bagnah finishing tied for second on the team with only one sack.

    If he improves as a pass rusher, the entire defense will benefit.

    5) Jack Kelly, LB

    Jack Kelly is one of the top FCS-to-FBS transfers in college football, and the pass-rushing specialist is looking for a huge year in 2024. He’s racked up 18 sacks in just two seasons at Weber State and has the opportunity to start in the Big 12.

    It looks like BYU will play the 6’2″, 235-pounder off the ball at linebacker, but he will certainly have opportunities to rush the passer this season.

    4) LJ Martin, RB

    LJ Martin is the top returning rusher for the Cougars and had a strong freshman season, averaging five yards a carry on 108 carries last year. Expect the 6’2″, 225-pounder to be more of a workhorse for the Cougars in 2024 as he has the ability to be a steady runner or a homerun threat.

    He’ll need to improve as a pass blocker to stay on the field more, but the potential is there for him to be an All-Conference candidate in 2024.

    3) Brayden Keim, OT

    Brayden Keim will start again at tackle, though it’s not yet clear whether he’ll play more on the left or the right side in 2024. Keim only allowed one sack as the full-time starter at right tackle last season, but after Kingsley Suamataia left for the NFL it’s possible Keim moves to the left side. Either way, he’s a steady presence on the offensive line for the Cougars.

    2) Chase Roberts, WR

    Chase Roberts had a good year in 2023, with 42 catches and 572 yards, making him the Cougars’ leading receiver. The rest of the wide receiving corps was decimated in the offseason, so expect Roberts to be the go-to guy in 2024 rather than the lead player in a balanced passing attack.

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    Roberts has the speed to get deep but also excels as a route runner underneath.

    1) Tyler Batty, EDGE

    Batty was BYU’s best player last season, racking up 34 pressures and six sacks from his edge position. He has great size and acceleration, allowing him to get around the edge to the quarterback.

    Batty will be monumentally important to BYU’s success in 2024 as the defense loses some other key players. If he can take his game to another level, the Cougars will be dangerous defensively.

    College Football Network has you covered with the latest news and analysis, rankings, transfer portal information, top 10 returning players, the 2024 college football season schedule, and much more!

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