No. 87 Dayan Ghanwoloku – Safety/Special Teams coverage – 2015 – Current
Dayan Ghanwoloku [Die-ON Gone-whoa-LUKU] arrived to BYU with the name Dayan Lake. After his father immigrated from the civil war country of Liberia in 2002 and some consideration he decided to use another of his family’s surnames Ghanwoloku. Both names were official surnames of his family, however it wasn’t until 2016 that Dayan decided to make the switch on his jersey to better represent his family.
Ghanwoloku somehow has made punting fun. When a team has to punt the ball, many times that is the time to grab a quick snack since a commercial break is probably coming up afterwards, and honestly was really happens during a punt? Punting is honestly the most boring play to watch outside of a halfback draw or kneeling the ball at the end of the half/game. There are only three exceptions in the last decade.
Jonny Linehan somehow making us think he would always run the ball on a fake. This was fun despite it working exactly ZERO times.
When Tyrann Mathieu (Honey badger) played for LSU and was returning punts for TD’s all the time.
When BYU is punting and Dayan Ghanwoloku is on coverage.
Just last season, Ghanwoloku had three dropped punt fumble recoveries. For a team that only punted the ball 63 times and only 55 we actually fielded, that is about a 6% recovery rate by Ghanwoloku. In other words, every time that BYU punts the ball, there is a better chance that Ghanoloku will come down with a fumble recovery than the chances that Max Hall threw an interception in four pass attempts.
We didn’t mention this much, but Ghanwoloku is also a pretty good defensive back. He was a big reason why Cole McDonald from Hawaii was unable to be much of a threat playing super glue tight defense deep. Ghanwoloku also got the momentum going against Utah this past year by getting the fumble recovery on a muffed punt to start off the game. Had BYU won that game, many would have pointed that moment out as the difference. This season, Ghanwoloku is going to be a team leader as one of, if not the player with the most experience on that side of the ball. His impact stats could shoot up if he has a big season.
In his career he adds five interceptions, 12 broken up passes, two touchdowns, 145 tackles and five fumble recoveries. Although his stats aren’t as good as even Kai Nacua, it is important to remember that he still has a year left with the team, and will likely be the team leader on the defense alongside Khyiris Tonga and Zayne Andersen. If he is able to add another pick six or two, a few more fumble recoveries and can play defense the way he did against Hawaii and Utah last season, Ghanwoloku has a real shot at being one of the top three safeties ever for BYU. One aspect of his game that helps him is his consistency. Kai Nacua, who was No. 98 on the list lacked this. Nacua would show up in the big moments, but besides that was quite. Ghanwoloku gets his three to five tackles every game and prevents the deep ball, and that is all you can ask for when wanting a good safety.
Memorable Moments C+
Again, when your team is lining up to punt, normally there is disappointment and a lack of interest for the next five minutes as normally the ball will be fair caught/returned for five yards, there will be a few pizza commercials and a commercial about some car winning a J.D Power award for the eighth straight year and then football starts again. Ghanwoloku has single handedly changed that for me, at least the first part. He also scores a few points with his fumble recovery touchdown against California (shoutout to Butch Pau’u who got that hit) and his pick six against Boise State, but both resulted in losses which makes them a bit less memorable.