Nineteen BYU football players were named to Phil Steele’s 2015 Postseason All-Independent Team, including freshman quarterback Tanner Mangum, who was also an all-freshman honorable mention.
Mangum led BYU’s offense to a 9-4 record, throwing for 3,377 yards, 23 touchdowns and a 136.0 efficiency rating while completing 59.9 percent of his passes. He was also the Touchdown Club of Columbus Freshman of the Year and received a Campus Insiders Freshman All-American honorable mention.
The All-Independent Offensive First team not only included Mangum, but also running back Algernon Brown, wide receiver Mitch Mathews and center Tejan Koroma.
Brown led the team with 13 total touchdowns (11 rush, 2 receiving), 709 rushing yards and 127 carries to go along with 13 receptions for 71 yards. Mathews’ 737 receiving yards and 11 touchdown catches outnumbers five other BYU receivers who each had more than 450 yards. Koroma and Mathews’ selections to the first team are their second All-Independent honors. Koroma was also named to five freshman All-American teams in 2014.
The Cougars were represented on the All-Independent First Team by defensive end Bronson Kaufusi, linebacker Fred Warner and defensive backs Kai Nacua and Michael Wadsworth. Kafusi also received first-team honors last year.
Kaufusi led the defense to rank No. 1 in blocks with eight and No. 8 in team sacks per game with 3.08 and 40 total for the most by a BYU team in the history of official NCAA defensive statistics. He recorded 64 total tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 11 sacks, one interception, two pass breakups, six hurries, one fumble recovery, three forced fumbles and a national-leading four blocked kicks.
Warner, the sophomore outside linebacker, had 67 total tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, four sacks, two interceptions and tied for No. 2 in the nation with four fumble recoveries. Nacua was sixth in the country with six interceptions to go along with 66 total tackles, one tackle for loss, six pass breakups, two hurries and two interceptions returned for touchdowns. Wadsworth stepped up for the Cougars, leading the team with 79 total tackles, including 51 solo stops in addition to 2.5 tackles for loss and double-digit tackle totals in five games in 2015.
Second-team offensive players include receivers Devon Blackmon, Nick Kurtz and Terenn Houk as well as offensive linemen Ryker Mathews and Brad Wilcox. Linebackers Harvey Langi and Sae Tautu, defensive lineman Logan Taele and cornerback Micah Hannemann were named to the defensive second team.
Punter Jonny Linehan was named to the special teams first team, while kicker Trevor Samson received second team honors. Linehan averaged 42.7 yards per punt with his longest being 77 yards. He landed 20 kicks inside the 20-yard line and had 10 punts of 50 or more yards.