BYU football: Top 5 candidates for breakout seasons

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

BYU football is almost upon us! One of the most exciting aspects of any upcoming season is scouting the players who are poised to have breakthrough performances.

As documented, there’s plenty of talent on BYU football’s roster. At the same time, there are plenty of unknowns.

Still, it is an exciting time in Provo. With a roster full of high-potential players, the Cougars have a number of guys who are primed for a breakout year.

Here are my top five picks for potential breakouts in 2017:

Micah Simon, 6-1/190 WR, RS Sophomore

I have been high on Micah for a while now.

He has been very impressive in the last two spring games, showing off a great blend of speed, quickness, and agility. He is a great athlete with the tools to be a real YAC threat after catching the ball. I love his pedigree as a former state champion QB in Texas High School football.

He has been working hard on his craft as a wideout for the last two years and I believe this season he breaks through in a big way.

Matt Bushman, 6-5/230 TE, Freshman

If Bushman were a stock being traded on the Provo exchange, he’d be the hottest commodity on the market. He was an absolute revelation at the Spring game, showing off an unusual blend of size, speed, agility and hands in a dominant performance. Bushman was so impressive that after the game Kalani Sitake remarked to the Daily Herald:

“I’ve said it before that Matt Bushman is a special player. He’s big and he’s smooth. He can do a lot of things.”

All indications coming out of Fall Camp are that Bushman has picked up right where he left off in the Spring. Expect Matt Bushman to become a very important weapon for the BYU offense this season.

Kieffer Longson, 6-7/321 OL, RS Freshman

Longson was a huge recruiting win for BYU in the class of 2015. The former four-star recruit held offers from big-name programs such as Ohio State, Florida State and UCLA. After redshirting the 2016 season, look for Longson to make a big impact on the offensive line in 2017.

For more on Longson, and the rest of BYU football’s offensive line, check out our o-line breakdown.

Sione Takitaki, 6-2/245 DE, RS Junior

Sione showed a real talent for disruption in the backfield in 2015 as a sophomore. He was a rising star in Bronco Mendenhall’s defense. In just six games he produced 3.5 sacks, 2 QBH and 7 TFL as an outside linebacker before being dismissed from the team for off the field issues.

After sitting out the 2016 season, Sione is back and he is hungry. His speed off the edge as a rush-end in the 4-3 could be deadly. My prediction: Sione collects double digit sacks this season.

Corbin Kaufusi, 6-9/285 DE, Junior 

Corbin played a lot more last season than many anticipated, appearing in all 13 games with five starts.

He showed some real flashes, collecting 31 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 2 QBH, 2.5 TFL and blocking 2 kicks. His unique size cannot be under-valued along the defensive line.

Having another off-season of football conditioning and more experience will be a huge factor for Corbin in 2017.