BYU football’s Kyle Van Noy is picking up right where he left off at the end of last season, earning preseason All-American recognition this summer in anticipation of the 2013 season.
Van Noy was recently named to Phil Steele’s 2013 Preseason All-American team as a first-team selection and was also nominated for the Lott Trophy, which is awarded annually to the top overall defensive player in the nation.
Last season, Van Noy received All-American honors from numerous college football publications, including Phil Steele’s third team, CBS Sports’ second team and the Associated Press’ third team.
“It’s very honorable,” Van Noy said. “It’s cool to get noticed for the things you do on the field. But more importantly, people recognize BYU. Having more exposure to the team and school is pretty cool.”
Van Noy is the only player to record a statistic in every major defensive category two years in a row. He finished second in the nation last season in total sacks and forced fumbles. If he puts up similar numbers this season, more accolades will come for Van Noy, along with the ultimate possibility of being a high NFL draft pick.
“The pressure only gets worse so this is, in a way, practice,” Van Noy said. “I have more of a target this year. I think it will benefit the team. Other elite players will stand out.”
Bleacher Report’s Samuel Benson even named Van Noy to his preseason Heisman Trophy watch list. With several nationally televised games against traditional powerhouses like Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Boise State and Texas, Van Noy will have opportunities to stand out on a big stage.
Preseason hype is unavoidable, but Van Noy has grown accustomed to it and remains focused this summer.
“I don’t pay much attention to it,” Van Noy said. “My parents did a good job of keeping me grounded. They used to say you’re never as good as you think and never as bad as you think. You can always improve.”
Van Noy has worked hard on improving his speed and strength, maintaining a good diet, watching a lot of film and keeping a good balance of fun off the field to remain grounded during the offseason.
With several leaders from last season having moved on, Van Noy’s play will be critical to the Cougars’ success. He believes his role will be key this season.
“As it is every year, it’s to change momentum in games, get a stat in every category and raise the level of play of everyone around me,” Van Noy said.
Along with high personal expectations, Van Noy has high expectations for the whole team despite what many consider to be one of BYU’s toughest schedules ever. He believes the Cougars can achieve success if they keep things simple.
“Improve from last year and play every game like it’s your last,” Van Noy said.
Van Noy and his teammates will have the chance to live up to their preseason hype beginning Saturday, Aug. 31, when they open the season at Virginia.