Morning links: 10 stats you need to know about BYU football; four locals ranked among top 130 college football players

Mitch Harper of Athlon Sports looked at 10 statistics you need to know for the 2017 BYU football season.

The first number he looked at was 1,978, which is the combined rushing yards by Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams last season.

“One of the biggest questions for BYU in 2017 is how can the Cougars replace the production on the ground from running back Jamaal Williams and quarterback Taysom Hill?” wrote Harper. “Williams ended his BYU career as the school’s all-time leading rusher, and Hill is one of the most dynamic athletes to ever come through Provo.”

Harper then looked at the possible replacements in the running game, saying, “BYU will turn to running backs Squally Canada, Ula Tolutau, and walk-on KJ Hall to shoulder the load early on. But it’s hard to imagine BYU gets anywhere close to the production Williams and Hill produced on the ground a year ago.”

Another stat that stood out among the 10 he list was the 94.55 percent red zone conversation rate.

“BYU was excellent in the red zone last season, scoring on nearly 95 percent of its appearances inside the opponent’s 20,” explained Harper. “That was the fourth-best efficiency rate in the nation, behind only Florida State, Western Michigan and Washington.”

He then looked at turnover margin, scoring margin in the fourth quarter and the passing yards from Tanner Mangum in 2015 before looking at the 80 starts from the returning members of the offensive line.

“BYU’s offensive line in 2017 is one of the best out west,” wrote Harper. “The Cougars are led by center Tejan Koroma, who has been a starter since he was a true freshman in 2014. Left tackle Thomas Shoaf emerged last year as a force up front, and guards Keyan Norman and Tuni Kanuch bring a load of experience.”

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