BYU football players added to award watch lists

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Natalie Stoker
Bronson Kaufusi scores on an interception against Idaho State in 2013. Kaufusi was named to the Bednarik and Nagurski watch list.(Natalie Stoker)

Numerous BYU Cougars have been added to various award watch lists this last week.

BYU quarterback Taysom Hill and defensive end Bronson Kaufusi were recently named on watch lists released by the Maxwell Football Club.

Hill was selected to the 79th annual Maxwell Award watch list. The Maxwell Award has been given to America’s College Player of the Year since 1937. It is named in honor of Robert W. “Tiny” Maxwell, who was a football player, a sportswriter and an official.

“We have an excellent offensive system and a very good quarterback,” said head coach Bronco Mendenhall after the season opener with UConn last season.

Hill led the Cougars to a 4-0 start before his season-ending injury in the fifth game against Utah State. The 6-foot-2-inch, 232-pound senior completed 66.7 percent of his passes for 975 yards and seven touchdowns in 2014. Two games into last season, before getting injured, Hill was ranked as a top-five contender for the Heisman by USA Today.

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Taysom Hill stiffarms a Virginia defender. Hill was added to the 79th annual Maxwell Award watch list. (Maddi Dayton)

Hill is the career leader for quarterback rushing yards at BYU. In the four games he played last season, he averaged 219 passing yards per game. As a sophomore, he averaged 226 passing yards and 103 rushing yards per game.

This is the second consecutive year Hill has been named to the Maxwell Award watch list.

Kaufusi was named for the 21st annual Bednarik Award watch list. The Bednarik Award has been presented to the College Defensive Player of the Year since 1995. Kaufusi, a 6-foot-7-inch, 265-pound senior defensive end, is fourth in career sacks at BYU. He played all 13 games as a freshman, and as a sophomore he had a total of 37 tackles, seven for loss. Last year he led the team with seven sacks and 11.5 tackles for a loss.

“I was just happy for the opportunity to play. I love this game, and I love my teammates. Whatever it takes to help my team, I’ll do it,” Kaufusi said after the UNLV game last November.

Kaufusi was also added to the 2015 Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list along with fellow Cougar Travis Tuiloma. The Bronko Nagurski Trophy is awarded annually to the most outstanding offensive college player.

Tuiloma, a 6-foot-2-inch, 285-pound nose tackle, played all 13 games in 2014. The junior had 27 tackles and six tackles for loss.

Tuiloma and Ryker Mathews were named to the watch list for the 2015 Outland Trophy. The Outland Trophy honors the nation’s top interior lineman.

Mathews, a 6-foot-6-inch, 320-pound offensive lineman, has played 33 games with the Cougars and is entering his senior year at BYU.

BYU center Tejan Koroma was recently named on the watch list for the Rimington Trophy.

The list includes 63 centers in Division I football. The Rimington Trophy is awarded annually to the Most Outstanding Center in NCAA Division I-A College Football. Koroma is one of only two true sophomores on the watch list.

Last season, the 6-foot, 280-pound center was the only true freshman to start all 13 games. Koroma was named to the ESPN True Freshman All-America Team and averaged more than five flat-back blocks per game.

In December 2014, Cougar running back Paul Lasike told the Daily Herald, “(Koroma) has such a big impact on our offensive line. He has provided physicality. The presence that he brings gets everyone else going as well.”

Hill, Kaufusi and Koroma are 2015 Preseason Phil Steele All-Independent First Team selections. Tuiloma and Mathews are 2015 Preseason Phil Steele All-Independent Second Team selections.

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