BYU football: Ranking the best defensive players in school history

While the offense has garnered most of the recognition over the years, the Cougars have had plenty of terrific defenses and defensive players. There have been stud linebackers, great defensive ends and tackles as well as some very talented safeties and corners, They have had numerous all-conference selections at every position as well as conference defensive player of the year honorees, a handful of All-Americans and even a national award winner.

Here is my list of the best defensive players in BYU history.

Note: These rankings are based on what each player did at BYU. No other parts of each players career was taken into consideration. It is also important to note that defensive stats weren’t officially recognized by the NCAA until 2000 so some stats may be incomplete.

Stats from BYUCougars, Sports-reference.com and SLTrib.Cougarstats.com. Award information from BYUCougars.com.

H.M. Brett Keisel, defensive end (1998, 2000-01) 

Keisel was a big part of the defensive line for the Cougars for two seasons. His most productive season came in 2001 when he earned All-MWC recognition after he totaled 41 tackles, nine tackles for loss, four quarterback hurries, three sacks and three pass break-ups.

For his BYU career, he recorded 66 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, eight sacks, six hurries and six pass break-ups.

H.M. Carl Bowers, linebacker (1968-1971)

Bowers was a big-time play-maker during the time where he was on the field for the Cougars. One of his most impressive seasons came in 1971 when he totaled 124 tackles and six tackles for loss.

For his BYU career, he managed 246 tackles, eight tackles for loss and a pass break-up.

H.M. Josh Arnold, defensive back (1988-1991)

Arnold had two solid seasons in the secondary during his time with the Cougars. His best year came in 1991 when he had 112 tackles, seven pass break-ups, three interceptions and three tackles for loss.

For his BYU career, he totaled 181 tackles, 13 pass break-ups, eight interceptions and three forced fumbles.

H.M. Mike Russell, defensive back (1973-74)

Russell had two impressive seasons in the Cougar secondary. One of his best years came in 1974 when he led the team with six interceptions to go along with 68 tackles, eight pass break-ups and two forced fumbles.

For his BYU career, he recorded 132 tackles, 17 pass break-ups, 12 interceptions, with three returns for touchdowns.

H.M. Brad Smith, defensive tackle (1980-84)

Smith was a big contributor during his three seasons on the Cougar defense. His most productive season came in 1983 when he totaled 65 tackles, 23 quarterback hurries, 10 sacks, two tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.

For his BYU career, he recorded 171 tackles, 48 hurries, 19 sacks and three tackles for loss.

H.M. Chris Ellison, defensive back (1996-98)

Ellison had two very productive seasons in the secondary with the Cougars. One of his best years came in 1998 when he earned All-WAC recognition after he recorded 86 tackles, eight pass break-ups, three tackles for loss and an interception.

For his BYU career, he totaled 179 tackles, eight pass break-ups, four tackles for loss, three interceptions and three forced fumbles.

H.M. Jeff Wilcox, defensive back (1982-86)  

Wilcox had one really impressive season in the Cougar secondary. That year came in 1986 when he was second-team all-conference after he registered 75 tackles, seven interceptions, six pass break-ups, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry.

For his BYU career, he totaled 96 tackles, eight interceptions and seven pass break-ups.

H.M. Kelly Poppinga, linebacker (2006-07) 

Poppinga was a solid contributor during his two years as a linebacker with the Cougars. His most productive season came in 2007 when he was second-team All-MWC after he led the team with 113 tackles to go along with 7.5 tackles for loss, five pass break-ups and three quarterback hurries.

For his BYU career, he totaled 149 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, six pass break-ups, four hurries, three interceptions and two sacks.

H.M. Jared Lee, safety (1999-2000)  

Lee had two really good seasons in the Cougar secondary. One of his best years came in 2000 when he was second-team All-WAC after he registered 86 tackles, eight pass break-ups, three tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.

For his BYU career, he totaled 182 tackles, 16 pass break-ups, seven tackles for loss, five interceptions and three forced fumbles.

H.M. Hans Olsen, defensive tackle (1996-2000) 

Olsen had two solid seasons on the defensive line for the Cougars. His best season came in 2000 when he was second-team All-Mountain West Conference after he recorded 45 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, three quarterback hurries and two sacks.

For his BYU career, he had 89 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, 12 hurries, five sacks and two forced fumbles.

H.M. Craig Bills, safety (2011-14)

Bills was a big hitter in the secondary during his time as a Cougar. His most productive season came in 2013 when he earned All-Independent second-team after he led the team with 79 tackles to go along with two interceptions and a forced fumble.

For his BYU career, he had 200 total tackles, 16 passes defended, five interceptions and two forced fumbles.

H.M. Jason Walker, defensive back (1994-98) 

Walker was a huge piece to some very good Cougar defenses. His most productive year came in 1998 when he earned second-team All-WAC after he recorded 73 tackles, 11 pass break-ups, six interceptions, two sacks and two tackles for loss.

For his BYU career, he totaled 219 tackles, 20 pass break-ups, seven interceptions, three tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.

H.M. Travis Hall, defensive end (1990-94)

Hall had two very productive seasons on the defensive line for the Cougars. One of his best years came in 1994 when he earned All-WAC recognition after totaled 51 tackles, 19 quarterback hurries, 13 tackles for loss, 10 pass break-ups and seven sacks.

For his BYU career, he recorded 104 tackles, 27 hurries, 27 tackles for loss, 12 pass break-ups and 11 sacks.

H.M. Colby Bockwoldt, linebacker (1999-2003) 

Bockwoldt had two really impressive seasons as a linebacker during his time in Provo. His most productive year came in 2003 when he earn All-MWC recognition after he had 77 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, five sacks, three quarterback hurries and two pass break-ups.

For his BYU career, he totaled 196 tackles, 31 tackles for loss, 10 hurries, eight sacks and three forced fumbles.

H.M. Paul Walkenhorst, linebacker (2000-05)

Walkenhorst made an impact during all four of his seasons on the field as a linebacker. His most productive season came in 2002 when he had 107 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, two quarterback hurries and two sacks.

For his career, he recorded 267 tackles, 31 tackles for loss, five sacks and four hurries.

100. Gene Frantz, defensive end (1960-62)

Frantz had an impressive career during his time with the Cougars. He most productive season came in 1962 when he recorded 22 total tackles. He also led the conference with nine interceptions, including games against Colorado State and New Mexico where he had three picks.

His nine interceptions in one season is still tied for the most in any season in school history.

99. Curg Belcher, linebacker (1964-66) Belcher was a big defensive presence during his three years on the field with the Cougars. His best season came in 1966 when he was part of an 8-2 squad and was a first-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection.

98. Chris Hoke, defensive tackle (1994,1997-2000) 

Hoke made significant contributions during his last three seasons with the Cougars. One of his best seasons came in 2000 when he earned second-team All-MWC after he had 51 tackles, 15 tackles for loss and four sacks.

For his BYU career, he recorded 135 tackles, 38 tackles for loss, 13 sacks and seven quarterback hurries.

97. Mark Berntsen, linebacker (1974-77)

Berntsen stepped up as a senior and was a key piece to the defense. That year, he earned first-team All-WAC honors after he finished with 68 total tackles, three quarterback hurries, three pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and an interception.

For his BYU career, he managed 105 tackles, four quarterback hurries, three pass break-ups and three tackles for loss.

96. Eric Bergeson, defensive back (1988-89)

Bergeson had two good seasons during his time with the Cougars after coming from Snow College. As a senior, he earned first-team all-conference recognition after he totaled 63 tackles, five pass break-ups and three interceptions.

For his BYU career, he had 117 tackles, 14 pass break-ups, four interceptions and three sacks.

95. Ron Tree, linebacker (1970-72)

Tree was another impressive linebacker for the Cougars. His best season came in 1972 when he was first-team All-Western Athletic Conference after he recorded 79 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and four pass break-ups.

94. Alema Fitisemanu, linebacker (1984-85, 1988-1990)

Fitisemanu had a really solid senior season with the Cougars. He earned first-team All-WAC honors after he totaled 65 tackles, 11 sacks, 11 quarterback hurries and four tackles for loss.

For his BYU career, he had 95 tackles, 15 quarterback hurries, and 14 sacks.

93. Mark Brady, defensive back (1979-1981)

Brady had one really good season with the Cougars during his three seasons on the field. That year came in 1980 when he earned first-team All-WAC after he totaled 71 tackles, including four for loss to go along with three interceptions, three pass break-ups and a forced fumble.

For his BYU career, he finished with 96 tackles, six interceptions, six tackles for loss and five pass break-ups.

92. Jernaro Gilford, defensive back (1999-2003)

He played four years in the secondary for the Cougars. His best year came in 2001 when he was first-team All-MWC when he finished with 56 tackles, 11 pass break-ups and was sixth in the nation with six interceptions.

For his BYU career, he totaled 114 tackles, 18 pass break-ups, 10 interceptions and three tackles for loss.

91. Daren Yancey, defensive line (1995-98)

Yancey was a solid member of the defense line during his time in Provo. His best year came in 1998 when he had 42 tackles, nine sacks, nine quarterback hurries and six tackles for loss to earn first-team All-WAC recognition.

For his BYU career, he had 123 tackles, 27 hurries, 24 tackles for loss, 14 sacks and three forced fumbles.

90. Bronson Kaufusi, defensive line/linebacker (2012-current)

Even with huge expectations, Kaufusi has been a very good player so far for BYU. In 2014, he was an All-Independent first-team honoree after he had 43 tackles, including 11.5 for loss to go along with seven sacks and six passes defended.

To this point in his BYU career, he has 104 tackles, including 24 for loss as well as 15.5 sacks, 13 passes defended and two forced fumbles.

89. Keith Rivera, defensive end (1971, 1973-74) 

Rivera was one of the best players on the defensive line for the Cougars in the early 70’s and a first-team All-WAC performer as a senior. One of his best statistical seasons came in 1971 when he finished with 53 tackles, eight tackles for loss, six quarterback hurries and five sacks.

For his BYU career, he recorded 121 total tackles, 21 tackles for loss, 12 quarterback hurries and five sacks.

88. Thor Salanoa, linebacker (1983-87)

Salanoa played all over the field before settling in as a linebacker and having success. His best year came in 1987 when he earned first-team All-WAC after he recorded 54 tackles, 20 quarterback hurries, seven tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and three sacks.

For his BYU career, he had 99 tackles, 27 quarterback hurries, 11 tackles for loss, six sacks and five forced fumbles.

87. Sid Smith, linebacker (1972-75)

Smith had two very solid years during his three years on the field with the Cougars. His best season came in 1975 when he was first-team All-WAC after he recorded 149 total tackles, five quarterback hurries, three sacks and three forced fumbles.

For his BYU career, he registered 201 total tackles, nine quarterback hurries, three sacks and three forced fumbles.

86. Gary Shaw, defensive back (1973-75)

Shaw was excellent in the secondary during his three years on the field. In 1974, he recorded 81 total tackles and had four interceptions. A year later, he earned first-team All-WAC after he had 69 tackles and three interceptions.

For his BYU career, he recorded 195 tackles, eight tackles for loss, seven interceptions and three forced fumbles.

85. Gary Kama, linebacker (1975-79)

Kama finished his career in style with the Cougars. After sitting out 1978 as a medical redshirt, he had a great season in 1979. That year, he earned first-team All-WAC after he led the team with 139 tackles to go along with 15 tackles for loss, seven quarterback hurries and five pass break-ups.

For his BYU career, he totaled 215 tackles, 18 tackles for loss, eight hurries, seven pass break-ups and three forced fumbles.

84. Jeff Slipp, defensive back (1967-69)

Slipp was a big part of the secondary during his three years on the field in Provo. His one of his best seasons came in 1968 when he finished with 81 tackles, including 14.5 for loss. A year later, he totaled 105 total tackles to earn first-team all WAC as the Cougars finished 6-4.

For his BYU career, he had 209 tackles, 13 pass break ups and five fumble recoveries.

83. Patrick Mitchell, defensive back (1990-94) 

Mitchell had four solid seasons in the secondary during his time with the Cougars. He most productive season came in 1993 when he had 37 tackles and 15 pass break-ups.

For his BYU career, he totaled 150 tackles, 32 pass break-ups, five interceptions and a forced fumble.

82. Stan Varner, defensive end (1972-75)

Varner was a stalwart on the defensive line for the Cougars for three seasons. In 1974, he had 59 tackles, 14 sacks, 11 quarterback hurries, 10 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles. The following year, he had 103 tackles, nine hurries and five sacks.

For his BYU career, he had 230 tackles, 26 hurries, 19 sacks, 12 tackles for loss and six forced fumbles.

81. Tony Crutchfield, defensive back (1987-1991)

Crutchfield was a huge piece of the secondary for three seasons with the Cougars. One of his best years came in 1990 when he was second-team All-WAC after he totaled 33 tackles, 11 pass break-ups, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.

For his BYU career, he recorded 127 tackles, 20 pass break-ups, seven forced fumbles, and four interceptions.

80. Brandon Ogletree, linebacker (2009-2012)

Ogletree was a great tackler during his time with the Cougars. His best year came as a senior in 2012 when he was named a first-team All-Independent selection by Phil Steele after he led the team with 102 tackles, including 13.5 for loss as well as four passes defended.

For his BYU career, he had 246 tackles, including 22.5 for loss to go along with nine passes defended, three interceptions and three forced fumbles.

79. Bryan Kehl, linebacker, (2002, 2005-07)

Kehl is another in a long line of Cougar linebackers. His most impressive campaign came in 2007 when we was a first-team All-Mountain West Conference honoree and was the team’s defensive MVP. That year, he finished with 91 tackles, including 11.5 for loss to go along with four sacks, four passes defended and three interceptions.

For his BYU career, he had 205 tackles, including 20.5 for loss as well as 11 passes defended, seven sacks, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.

78. Andrew Rich, safety (2008-2010)

Rich had a tremendous career in the secondary during his time as a Cougar. He was a second-team All-MWC selection as a junior after he had 85 tackles and four interceptions. A year later, he made the All-MWC first-team after he led the team with 110 tackles, 13 passes defended, 7.5 tackles for loss, five interceptions and three forced fumbles.

For his BYU career, he registered 221 tackles, 22 passes defended, 11 tackles for loss, 10 interceptions, six forced fumbles and two sacks.

77. Brian Gray, defensive back, (1998-99)

Gray stepped in and was a huge contributor in the secondary for the Cougars. He was a two-time first-team all-conference performer. One of his best seasons came in 1999 when he was first-team All-MWC after he had 36 tackles, eight pass break-ups, three tackles for loss, three sacks and an interception return for a touchdown.

For his BYU career, he totaled 69 tackles, 20 pass break-ups, five tackles for loss, five interceptions and two touchdowns.

76. Joe Liljenquist, defensive end (1969-1971)

Liljenquist was an important piece for the Cougars on defense and special teams during his time in Provo. His best statistical season came in 1970 when he recorded 118 tackles, 14 tackles for loss and five pass break-ups. A year later, he was first-team All-WAC after he had 95 tackles and 13 tackles for loss.

For his BYU career, he had 216 tackles, 28 tackles for loss and eight pass break-ups.

75. Craig Bozich, linebacker (1966-68)

Bozich was a fantastic playmaker as a linebacker for the Cougars. He was first-team All-WAC after he led the team in defensive statistics, according to BYUCougars.com. A year later, he was second-team all-conference after he recorded 109 tackles.

74. Ezekiel Ansah, defensive line (2010-12)

Although it took a long time before he got on the field for significant action, Ansah made a huge impact as a senior in 2012. That year, he was a first-team All-Independent selection and an honorable mention All-American after he totaled 62 tackles, including 13 for loss as well as nine passes defended and 4.5 sacks.

For his BYU career, he had 72 tackles, including 13 for loss with 10 passes defended and 4.5 sacks.

73. David Nixon, linebacker (2003, 2006-08)

Nixon was a fantastic linebacker for some very good Cougar teams. His best year came in 2008 when he was a second-team All-Mountain West Conference selection after he had 90 tackles, including 11.5 for loss with seven passes defended, a team leading three interceptions, two forced fumbles and two sacks.

For his BYU career, he had 275 tackles, including 43 for loss as well as 14 passes defended, 12 sacks, eight quarterback hurries and three interceptions.

72. Daniel Sorensen, safety (2008, 2011-13)

Sorensen was a big-time play-maker for the Cougars during his time in Provo. He was a named an All-Independent first-team selection in 2012 by Phil Steele and followed that up with another first-team selection a year later. One of his most productive seasons came in 2012 when he had 68 tackles, eight passes defended, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.

For his BYU career, he had 211 tackles, 28 passes defended, 11.5 tackles for loss, eight interceptions and two forced fumbles.

71. Brad Martin, linebacker (1994-98)

Martin had some really good seasons as a linebacker for the Cougars. He earned All-WAC recognition during each of his last three seasons. One of his most productive seasons came in 1996 when he totaled 77 tackles, nine tackles for loss, six sacks and three quarterback hurries.

For his career, he recorded 273 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 17 hurries, 13 sacks and four forced fumbles.

70. Rich Kaufusi, defensive tackle (1989-1990)

Kaufusi was a solid contributor during both his seasons with the Cougars. His most productive season came in 1990 when he was first-team All-WAC after he totaled 60 tackles, 20 quarterback hurries, eight sacks and six tackles for loss.

For his BYU career, he registered 115 tackles, 24 quarterback hurries, 14 sacks, seven tackles for loss and three pass break-ups.

69. Setema Gali, defensive end (1994, 1997-2000)

Gali was a key contributor for the Cougars during his four seasons. His best year came in 2000 when he was first-team All-Mountain West Conference after he had 39 tackles, 18 tackles for loss and 10 sacks.

For his BYU career, he totaled 94 tackles, 32 tackles for loss, 19 sacks and 15 quarterback hurries.

68. Todd Herget, linebacker (1987,1991-93)

Herget was a solid performer during his time with the Cougars. He was second-team All-WAC as a junior and earned first-team as a senior. His best statistical season came in 1992 when he had 86 tackles, including nine for loss to go along with 3.5 sacks and three hurries.

For his BYU career, he had 174 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 10 quarterback hurries, 5.5 sacks and five forced fumbles.

67. Brian Mitchell, defensive back (1987-1990)

Mitchell was one of the best defensive backs the Cougars ever had. He earned second-team All-WAC in 1989 after he totaled 71 tackles, 12 pass break-ups and five interceptions. The following season, he was first-team all-conference after he had 70 tackles, 13 pass break-ups and four picks.

For his BYU career, he had 171 tackles, 29 pass break-ups and 13 interceptions.

66. Aaron Francisco, safety (2001-04)

Francisco had three really good seasons in the Cougar secondary. His best season came in 2003 when he was first-team All-Mountain West Conference selection after he had 116 tackles, seven tackles for loss, three interceptions, three pass break-ups and three forced fumbles.

For his BYU career, he totaled 330 tackles, 16.5 tackles for loss, 16 pass break-ups and seven interceptions.

65. Blake Murdock, linebacker (1973-76)

Murdock was a big part of the Cougar defense during his time in Provo. One of his most productive seasons came in 1975 when he had 92 tackles, three quarterback hurries and two tackles for loss. A year later, he earned first-team All-WAC after he recorded 79 total tackles and three pass break-ups.

For his BYU career, he managed 202 tackles, six pass break-ups, four tackles for loss, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.

64. Gerald Meyer, defensive end (1968-1970)

Meyer was a huge presence on the defensive line during his time with the Cougars. His best season came as a senior in 1970 when he was first-team All-WAC after he had 121 tackles and six tackles for loss.

For his BYU career, he totaled 281 tackles and 20 tackles for loss.

63. Jeff Sprowls, defensive back (1984-85) 

Sprowls had two good seasons in the secondary for the Cougars. One of his best years came in 1985 when he was second-team All-WAC and honorable mention All-American after he had 36 tackles, four interceptions, three tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.

For his BYU career, he totaled 111 tackles, eight pass break-ups, five interceptions, four tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.

62. John Young, defensive back (1982-83)

Young had one really impressive season during his two years with the Cougars. His best season was in 1983 when he was a first-team all-conference selection and an AP honorable mention All-American after he totaled 57 tackles, 10 pass break-ups and six interceptions.

61. Uani Unga, linebacker (2011-13)

Unga made a big impact for the Cougars during his two seasons in Provo. His best year came as a senior in 2013 when he led the team with 143 total tackles, including 7.5 for loss to earn Phil Steele All-Independent first-team and SI.com honorable mention All-American.

For his BYU career, he totaled 171 tackles, including 10.5 for loss to go along with four pass break-ups and two forced fumbles.

60. Chad Robinson, linebacker (1987-89) 

Robinson had two impactful seasons as a Cougar linebacker. One of his best years came in 1989 when he was a second-team All-WAC performer and an honorable mention All-American after he totaled 86 tackles, 11 quarterback hurries, nine sacks and three tackles for loss.

For his BYU career, he recorded 194 tackles, 18 hurries, 15 sacks and 11 tackles for loss.

59. John Raass, defensive line (1994-95)

Raass was a big part of the Cougar defense during his two years on the field. His best season came in 1995 when he was first-team All-WAC and a UPI honorable mention All-American after he recorded 47 tackles, eight hurries, six tackles for loss and five sacks.

For his BYU career, he totaled 91 tackles, 21 hurries, 11 tackles for loss and seven sacks.

58. Stan Raass, linebacker (1994-95)

Raass had two really good seasons for the Cougars. One of his best years came in 1995 when he earned first-team All-WAC after he registered 59 tackles, 10 quarterback hurries, nine tackles for loss, four sacks and three forced fumbles.

For his BYU career, he had 134 tackles, 14 hurries, 14 tackles for loss, eight sacks and four forced fumbles.

57. Henry Bloomfield, defensive line (1995-96)

Bloomfield was a huge part to one of the best teams in school history. His best year came in 1996 when he was first-team All-WAC after he totaled 69 tackles, 25 quarterback hurries, seven tackles for loss and three sacks.

For his BYU career, he recorded 132 tackles, 39 hurries, 10 tackles for loss and seven sacks.

56. Lenny Gomes, nose guard (1989-1993) 

Gomes was a dominating force on the defensive line during his time with the Cougars. One of his best seasons came in 1992 when he was first-team All-WAC after he recorded 81 tackles, nine tackles for loss, four quarterback hurries and 2.5 sacks.

For his BYU career, he totaled 229 tackles, 30 hurries, 20 tackles for loss, 9.5 sacks and nine pass break-ups.

55. Chuck Ehin, defensive tackle (1979-1982)

Ehin was part of some of the best defensive lines in school history. His best season came in 1982 when he was a first-team All-WAC performer after he registered 86 tackles, 19 quarterback hurries, eight sacks and five tackles for loss.

For his BYU career, he had 194 tackles, 36 hurries, 21 sacks, 12 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.

54. Jeff Lyman, linebacker (1969-1971)

Lyman was one of the best linebackers for the Cougars in the 70’s. His best season came in 1971 when he was first-team All-Western Athletic Conference after he had 151 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, five pass break-ups and four interceptions.

For his BYU career, he had 328 tackles, 21 tackles for loss, seven pass break-ups and seven interceptions.

53. Mike Morgan, defensive tackle (1979-1982)

Morgan was a significant member of the Cougars defensive line for all four seasons with the Cougars. His most productive season came in 1982 when he was a first-team All-WAC performer after he had 63 tackles, 21 quarterback hurries, five sacks and two tackles for loss.

For his BYU career, he totaled 194 tackles, 46 hurries, 22 sacks and five tackles for loss.

52. Rodney Rice, defensive back (1986-88)

Rice had two really impressive seasons in the secondary for the Cougars. He led the team in interceptions and was an All-WAC honoree each year. His most productive year came in 1988 when he was first-team All-WAC and AP honorable mention All-American after he totaled 55 tackles, six interceptions, six pass break-ups and two tackles for loss.

For his BYU career, he registered 101 tackles, 15 pass break-ups and 12 interceptions.

51. Bill Rice, defensive line (1973-76)

Rice was a tremendous contributor during his three seasons on the field for the Cougars. One of his best years came in 1975 when he had 128 total tackles, 10 quarterback hurries and five sacks. The following season, he earned first-team All-WAC and honorable mention All-American after he registered 113 total tackles, 21 quarterback hurries and 13 sacks.

For his BYU career, he registered 252 tackles, 31 hurries and 18 sacks.

50. John Neal, defensive back (1977-79)

Neal had two very solid seasons on the field for the Cougars in the defensive backfield. His most productive season came in 1979 when he earned first-team All-WAC and was an AP honorable mention All-American after he had 71 total tackles, six pass break-ups, two tackles for loss and an interception.

For his BYU career, he recorded 137 tackles, eight pass break-ups, four tackles for loss, three forced fumbles and two interceptions.

49. Larry Miller, linebacker (1975-78)

Miller was really productive part of the defense during his time in Provo. One of his best years came in 1978 when he was first-team All-WAC and honorable mention All-American after he had 90 total tackles, including five for loss and five pass break-ups.

For his BYU career, he had 243 totals tackles, including 16 for loss, 13 pass break-ups, 12 quarterback hurries and seven interceptions.

48. Cary Whittingham, linebacker (1981-85)

Whittingham was a great tackler during his time with the Cougars. His best season came in 1984 when he had 147 tackles, six quarterback hurries, five pass break-ups and a forced fumble for the National Champions.

For his BYU career, he had 340 tackles, 18 hurries, 14 pass break-ups and four sacks.

47. Troy Long, defensive back (1985-88)

Long had two very good seasons in the secondary during his time with the Cougars. His best statistical season came in 1987 when he earned first-team All-WAC and was honorable mention All-American after he recorded 122 tackles to go along with seven pass break-ups, seven tackles for loss and six interceptions.

For his BYU career, he totaled 228 tackles, 17 pass break-ups, 10 tackles for loss and eight interceptions.

46. David Futrell, nose guard (1984-87)

Futrell was a very impactful player during his time with the Cougars. He was second-team All-WAC as a junior and firs-team as a senior. One of his best years came in 1987 when he had 61 tackles, 11 quarterback hurries, 11 sacks and three tackles for loss to earn AP honorable mention All-American.

For his BYU career, he had 164 tackles, 22 sacks, 20 hurries and six tackles for loss.

45. Rodney Thomas, defensive back (1984-87)

Thomas had three productive seasons in the secondary during his time in Provo. He was a two-time all-conference selection and earned AP honorable mention All-American. One of his best seasons came in 1985 when he had 42 tackles, seven pass break-ups and five interceptions.

For his BYU career, he had 124 tackles, 17 pass break-ups, nine interceptions and two touchdowns.

44. Tim McTyer, defensive back (1995-96)

McTyer was a key piece to the Cougars success in both of his seasons. His best year came in 1996 when he was first-team All-Western Athletic Conference after he had 55 tackles, 17 pass break-ups, three interceptions and two tackles for loss.

For his BYU career, he had 120 tackles, 24 pass break-ups, seven interceptions, four tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.

43. Mat Mendenhall, defensive line (1975-79)

Mendenhall had some really good seasons on the defensive line for the Cougars. His best statistical season came in 1977 when he had 64 tackles, 24 quarterback hurries, 16 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and four forced fumbles. A year later, he earned first-team All-WAC honors and AP honorable mention All-American.

For his BYU career, he totaled 155 tackles, 37 quarterback hurries, 23 tackles for loss and 15 sacks.

42. Cameron Jensen, linebacker (2003-06)

Jensen was defensive stalwart during all three of his seasons on the field for the Cougars. He led the team in tackles three straight years and was a two-time team captain. His most productive season came as a senior in 2006 when he was a first-team All-MWC selection when he had 107 tackles, including 9.5 for loss. He also totaled four sacks, three interceptions, three pass break-ups and three forced fumbles.

For his BYU career, he had 294 tackles, including 27.5 for loss to go along with nine pass break-ups, six sacks, six fumble recoveries and five interceptions.

41. Rocky Biegel, linebacker (1988-1991)

Biegel was a big-time play-maker during his time with the Cougars. He earned second-team All-WAC as a junior with 86 tackles and two forced fumbles. He was even better as a senior. He earned first-team all-conference after he recorded 192 tackles, 14 quarterback hurries and six sacks.

For his BYU career, he totaled 371 tackles, 31 quarterback hurries, nine sacks and two interceptions.

40. Bobby Roberts, defensive back (1965-67)

Roberts was a big-time player for the Cougar secondary and was a two-time All-Western Athletic Conference selection. One of his best seasons came in 1967 when he had seven interceptions, including one that he returned for a touchdown.

For his BYU career, he totaled 18 interceptions with two he returned for touchdowns.

39. Ross Varner, defensive line (1976-78)

Varner had three good seasons for the Cougars on the defensive line. His best year came in 1978 when he was first-team All-WAC and honorable mention All-American after he had 92 tackles, 12 quarterback hurries, nine tackles for loss and seven sacks.

For his BYU career, he totaled 191 tackles, 45 hurries, 17 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, and 10 forced fumbles.

38. Justin Ena, linebacker (1998-2001)

Ena had a terrific career as a linebacker for the Cougars. He was a four year contributor and a three-time all-conference selection. One of his most productive seasons came in 2000 when he had 107 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, four pass break-ups, three sacks and three forced fumbles.

For his BYU career, he recorded 279 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, 10 pass break-ups, six forced fumbles and four sacks.

37. Omarr Morgan, defensive back (1996-97)

Morgan had two really impressive campaigns in the Cougar secondary. He was a two-time first-team All-WAC selection and an honorable mention All-American. His most productive season came in 1996 when he totaled 54 tackles, 10 pass break-ups and four interceptions.

For his BYU career, he recorded 85 tackles, 18 pass break-ups and four interceptions.

36. Ryan Denney, defensive end (1998-2001)

Denney had three good seasons on the defensive line for the Cougars. His best year came in 2001 when he was first-team All-MWC and The Sporting News fourth team All-American after he registered 68 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, eight pass break-ups and seven sacks.

For his BYU career, he had 156 tackles, 40 tackles for loss, 16 sacks, 13 pass break-ups and six forced fumbles.

35. Chris Farasopoulos, defensive back (1968-1970)

Along with being a terrific return man, Farasopoulos was great in the secondary. He was a two-time first-team All-WAC selection in his three years on the field. One of his best seasons came in 1969 when he had 80 tackles, 13 pass break-ups and four interceptions.

For his BYU career, he had 168 tackles, 23 pass break-ups and eight interceptions.

34. Paul Linford, defensive tackle (1972-74)

Linford was a dominant presence on the defensive line for the Cougars and a three-time first-team All-Western Conference performer. One of his best seasons came in 1974 when he had 53 tackles, seven sacks, seven tackles for loss and six quarterback hurries.

For his BYU career, he registered 201 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 22 hurries, seven sacks and four forced fumbles.

33. Byron Frisch, defensive end (1996-99)

Frisch was a top-notch performer on the defensive line during his time as a Cougar. He was a two-time second-team All-WAC performer and a first-team All-MWC selection as a senior. One of his best seasons came in 1999 when he had 55 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, 14 quarterback hurries, eight sacks and two forced fumbles.

For his BYU career, he recorded 210 tackles, 46 hurries, 43 tackles for loss, 25 sacks and seven forced fumbles.

32. Tom Holmoe, defensive back (1978-82)

Holmoe was a big contributor for the Cougars during his last three seasons on the field. One of his most productive seasons came in 1982 when he was first-team All-WAC and an AP honorable mention All-American after he registered 54 tackles, five pass break-ups and three interceptions.

For his BYU career, he totaled 180 tackles, 18 pass break-ups, 13 interceptions and five tackles for loss.

31. Brady Poppinga, linebacker/defensive line (2001-04)

Poppinga was one of the best Cougar defensive players in school history. He is one of only a handful of players to earn first-team all-Conference three times. One of his best seasons came as a junior in 2003 when he had 55 tackles, including 13 for loss as well as six sacks and two pass deflections.

For his BYU career, he had 193 tackles, 39 tackles for loss, 19 sacks, nine quarterback hurries and four forced fumbles.

30. Jim Herrmann, defensive end (1980-84)

Herrmann played four years on the defense line for the Cougars. As a junior, he had 46 quarterback hurries, 36 tackles and 16 sacks to earn second-team all-conference. The following year, he was first-team All-WAC and honorable mention All-American after he recorded 62 tackles, 29 hurries, 10 tackles for loss and six sacks.

For his BYU career, he totaled 106 sacks, 76 quarterback hurries, 26 sacks, 12 tackles for loss and six forced fumbles.

29. Brandon Flint, defensive end (1980-83)

Flint terrorized opposing quarterbacks during his time with the Cougars. He led team in sacks each of his last three seasons. One of his best years came in 1983 when he was an AP  All-American after he recorded 57 tackles, 31 quarterback hurries and 12 sacks.

For his BYU career, he totaled 194 tackles, 64 quarterback hurries, a school-record 35 sacks and 14 tackles for loss.

28. Derwin Gray, defensive back (1989-1992)

Gray had three fantastic seasons in the secondary for the Cougars. He earned All-WAC recognition his last two seasons and was a UPI honorable mention All-American. His best statistical season came in 1991 when he had 128 tackles, nine pass break-ups, three tackles for loss, three interceptions and two forced fumbles.

For his BYU career, he totaled 283 tackles, 25 pass break-ups, 14 interceptions, nine tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and two touchdowns.

27. Kurt Gouveia, linebacker (1982-85)

Gouveia had two very good seasons as a starting linebacker. In 1984, he earned second-team All-WAC after he recorded 107 tackles, 21 quarterback hurries, seven sacks, five tackles for loss and three forced fumbles. A year later, he was first-team all-conference and AP honorable mention All-American after he had 98 tackles, seven tackles for loss, five pass break-ups and three sacks.

For his BYU career, he had 224 tackles, 34 hurries, 13 tackles for loss, 10 sacks and six forced fumbles.

26. Dave Atkinson, defensive back (1970-73)

Atkinson was a big part of the secondary for the Cougars during each of his three years. His most productive season came in 1972 when he was first-team All-WAC after he recorded 68 tackles, nine pass break-ups, eight interceptions and two tackles for loss.

For his BYU career, he totaled 179 tackles, 22 pass break-ups, a school-record 20 interceptions and five tackles for loss.

25. Brad Anae, defensive end (1979-1981)

Anae was a terrific pass rusher during his time with the Cougars. He was two-time first-team All-WAC selection and an AP honorable mention All-American. His most productive season came in 1980 when he had 37 tackles, 30 quarterback hurries, nine sacks, five tackles for loss and an interception return for a touchdown.

For his BYU career, he recorded 94 tackles, 51 hurries, 21 sacks, 14 tackles for loss and six forced fumbles.

24. Dana Wilgar, defensive back (1973-76)

Wilgar had four very productive seasons in the Cougar secondary. He was a two-time first-team All-WAC performer and AP honorable mention All-American. One of his best seasons came in 1975 when he had 93 tackles, three interceptions, a pass break-up and a forced fumble.

For his BYU career, he totaled 280 tackles, 14 pass break-ups, eight interceptions and six forced fumbles.

23. Randy Brock, defensive end (1991-94)

Brock stared all four seasons on the defensive line. He was a Football News freshman and sophomore first-team All-American selection and an All-WAC first-team honoree in 1994. One of his best years came as a senior when he had 53 tackles, 22 quarterback hurries, 13 tackles for loss, eight sacks and seven forced fumbles.

For his BYU career, he had 175 tackles, 59 hurries, 46 tackles for loss, 28.5 sacks and 12 forced fumbles.

22. Larry Carr, linebacker (1971-1974)

Carr had three great seasons as a Cougar linebacker. One of his most productive seasons came in 1974 when he earned first-team All-Western Athletic Conference after he registered 137 tackles, five pass break-ups, five quarterback hurries, four interceptions and four forced fumbles.

For his BYU career, he had 389 tackles, 16 pass break-ups, eight interceptions, eight tackles for loss and six forced fumbles.

21. Glen Titensor, defensive line (1978-1980)

Titensor had two great seasons during his time with the Cougars. He was a two-time first-team All-WAC selection and an AP honorable mention All-American. One of his best years came in 1980 when he totaled 41 tackles, 38 quarterback hurries, 13 sacks and five tackles for loss.

For his BYU career, he recorded 88 tackles, 57 hurries, 17 sacks, 12 tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.

20. Bill Schoepflin, defensive back (1977-1980)

Schoepflin had three impressive seasons in the Cougar secondary. He was a two-time first-team All-WAC selection and earned honorable mention All-American status his last two years. One of his best seasons came in 1979 when he recorded 65 tackles, six pass break-ups, five interceptions and four tackles for loss.

For his BYU career, he totaled 187 tackles, 14 pass break-ups, 10 interceptions, eight tackles for loss and five forced fumbles.

19. Todd Shell, linebacker (1980-83)

Shell was an impressive linebacker during his time in Provo. He was a two-time first-team All-WAC selection and an AP  All-American. One of his best seasons came in 1983 when he had 110 tackles, 29 quarterback hurries, 14 sacks, four tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.

For his BYU career, he had 275 tackles, 46 hurries, 20 sacks, 11 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles.

18. Dan Hansen, safety (1968-1972)

Hansen had an incredible career in the secondary for the Cougars. He was a two-time first-team All-WAC performer and an AP All-American. One of his best years came in 1970 when he registered 119 tackles, 10 pass break-ups and eight interceptions.

For his BYU career, he recorded 369 tackles, 29 pass break-ups, 18 interceptions and two touchdowns on interception returns.

17. Marv Allen, linebacker (1978,1981-84)

Allen had three fantastic years as a Cougar linebacker. His best year came in 1984 when he was an AP  All-American and a first-team All-WAC performer after he had 131 tackles, seven quarterback hurries and four tackles for loss.

For his career, he registered 354 tackles, 19 hurries, seven tackles for loss and four sacks.

16. Kyle Whittingham, linebacker (1978-1981)

Whittingham had two really good seasons as a Cougar linebacker. His best year came in 1981 when he was first-team All-WAC, conference Co-Player of the Year and an AP honorable mention All-American. That season, he totaled 132 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, nine quarterback hurries, eight pass break-ups and seven sacks.

For his BYU career, he registered 272 tackles, 23 tackles for loss, 23 hurries, 10 sacks and six forced fumbles.

15. Wayne Baker, defensive tackle (1972-74)

Baker spent three years on the defensive line for the Cougars. His best year came in 1974 when he was a second-team All-American after he had 82 tackles, 10 sacks, nine quarterback hurries, four tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.

For his BYU career, he had 179 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, 10 sacks, nine quarterback hurries and four forced fumbles.

14. Leon White, linebacker (1982-85)

White was a very impressive linebacker during his four seasons with the Cougars. He was a two-time honorable mention All-American and a first-team All-WAC performer. One of his best seasons came in 1983 when he had 87 tackles, 19 quarterback hurries, nine sacks, three tackles for loss and two forced fumbles.

For his BYU career, he had 249 tackles, 42 hurries, 20 tackles for loss, 19 pass break-ups, 17 sacks and seven forced fumbles.

13. Shay Muirbrook, linebacker (1993-96)

Muirbrook was a significant contributor each of his four years with the Cougars. He was second team All-WAC as a sophomore and a first team selection each of his last two seasons. His best year came as a senior when he was the WAC Defensive Player of the Year and the MVP of the Cotton Bowl after an epic six sack performance. That year, he had 97 tackles, nine sacks, eight tackles for loss and six pass break-ups.

For his BYU career, he recorded 345 tackles, 29 quarterback hurries, 23 tackles for loss, 19 sacks, 13 pass break-ups and six forced fumbles.

12. Glen Redd, linebacker (1976-1980)

Redd had three impressive seasons as a Cougar linebacker.He was a two-time first-team All-WAC performer and one of the best tacklers in school history. One of his best seasons came in 1980 when he was an AP honorable mention All-American after he had 148 tackles, six pass break-ups, four forced fumbles, two sacks and two tackles for loss.

For his BYU career, he had 384 tackles, 18 pass break-ups, 12 forced fumbles and 10 tackles for loss.

11. Mekeli Ieremia, defensive end (1974-77)

Ieremia had three fantastic seasons on the defensive line while in Provo. He was a two-time first-team All-Western Athletic Conference performer and a two-time AP honorable mention All-American. One of his best seasons came in 1976 when he had 95 tackles, 17 quarterback hurries, a single-season school-record 17 sacks and eight tackles for loss.

For his BYU career, he had 257 tackles, 42 hurries, 27 sacks, 15 tackles for loss and five forced fumbles.

10. Shawn Knight, defensive tackle (1983-86)

Knight was a very good player on the defensive line during his last two seasons with the Cougars. His best year came in 1986 when he was an AP third-team All-American after he totaled 60 tackles, 16 sacks, eight quarterback hurries and four tackles for loss.

For his BYU career, he had 126 tackles, 27 hurries, 23 sacks, seven tackles for loss and three forced fumbles.

9. Jan Jorgensen, defensive line (2006-09)

Jorgensen was a huge part of the Cougars front seven during each of his seasons at BYU. After earning third-team freshman All-American honors, he was an All-MWC first-team performer during each of his last three years. His best season came as a sophomore in 2007 when he had 77 tackles, including 20 for loss and 13.5 sacks.

For his BYU career, he had 221 tackles, including 44 for loss to go along with 30 sacks, 22 quarterback hurries, four passes defended and two forced fumbles.

8. Shad Hansen, linebacker (1989-1992)

Hansen was a tackling machine during his time with the Cougars. One of his best statistical seasons came in 1991 when he earned second-team All-WAC after he recorded a school record 193 tackles to go along with 13 quarterback hurries, five sacks and four tackles for loss. The next season, he was first-team All-WAC and a third-team Football News All-American after he recorded 95 tackles, including three for loss with two sacks.

For his BYU career, he registered 407 tackles, 16 quarterback hurries, 12 tackles for loss and nine sacks.

7. Bob Davis, linebacker (1987-89)

Davis is one of the great Cougar linebackers. He was the team’s leading tackler in back-to-back seasons and a two-time first-team All-Western Athletic Conference selection. One of his best years came in 1989 when he was a AP third-team All-American after he had 137 tackles, six sacks, five quarterback hurries, four pass break-ups and three tackles for loss.

For his BYU career, he registered 349 tackles, 17 hurries, 12 sacks and seven tackles for loss.

6. Jason Coloma, defensive back (1975-78)

Coloma was a really good defensive back during his time with the Cougars. He was a two-time first-team All-WAC selection and an AP third-team All-American. His best season came in 1978 when he had 69 tackles, seven tackles for loss, four pass break-ups, two forced fumbles and two interceptions.

For his BYU career, he had 136 tackles, nine tackles for loss, six interceptions, six pass break-ups and two forced fumbles.

5. Rod Wood, linebacker (1975-78)

Wood was a huge contributor for the Cougars during his time in Provo. He was a first-team All-WAC selection and garnered All-American honors during two different seasons. One of his most productive seasons came in 1978 when he was a Churchmen’s All-American after he registered 157 tackles, six tackles for loss and three quarterback hurries.

For his BYU career. he totaled 394 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 11 hurries, nine sacks and five forced fumbles.

4. Kyle Morrell, defensive back (1981-84)

Morrell had a great career in the secondary for the Cougars. His best year came in 1984 when he was first-team all-conference, WAC Defensive Player of the Year and an AP first-team All-American after he had 70 tackles, six pass break-ups and three interceptions.

For his BYU career, he had 232 tackles, 16 pass break-ups, eight interceptions, four tackles for loss and three sacks.

3. Kyle Van Noy, linebacker (2010-13)

Van Noy is one of the best linebackers to ever suit up for the Cougars. He was a three-time first-team All-Independent selection, the Independent Defensive Player of the Year in 2013 and a second-team All-American. His most dominant season came in 2012 when he finished with 53 tackles, including 22 for loss with 13 sacks, six forced fumbles, two interceptions and two touchdowns. His sack and tackles for loss totals placed him in the top five in the nation in both categories.

For his BYU career, he registered 226 tackles, including 62 for loss as well as 30 quarterback hurries, 26 sacks, 12 forced fumbles, seven interceptions and five touchdowns.

2. Rob Morris, linebacker (1993, 1996-99)

Morris had a fantastic career as a linebacker for the Cougars. he was a two-time first-team all-conference performer, a two-time All-American and the 1998 WAC Defensive Player of the Year. One of his best seasons came in 1998 when he was a first-team Football News All-American after he had 147 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, 11 quarterback hurries, six sacks and four pass break-ups.

For his BYU career, he had 333 tackles, 35 tackles for loss, 21 hurries, 13 sacks and three forced fumbles.

1. Jason Buck, defensive tackle (1985-86)

Buck dominated for the Cougars for two seasons. He was the 1985 WAC Defensive Player of the Year, a two-time All-American and the 1986 Outland Trophy winner. In 1986, he was a consensus All-American after he had 59 tackles, 17 quarterback hurries, 13 sacks and 13 tackles for loss.

For his BYU career, he had 112 tackles, 44 hurries, 25 sacks and 20 tackles for loss.

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