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It's a belated Christmas present for BYU football fans: linebacker Kyle Van Noy is staying for his senior season with the Cougars, and will not enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
In a press release Monday morning, Van Noy made his decision official:
"I've decided to stay and complete my senior season at BYU," Van Noy said. "I plan to finish what I started and feel like I've still got some unfinished business. I'm looking forward to being on the field this next season with my Cougar teammates."
Van Noy earned second- and third-team All-America citations after a 2012 season in which he compiled 13 sacks, 22 tackles for loss, eight quarterback hurries, a school record six forced fumbles and two blocked kicks. Van Noy added five pass breakups, two interceptions, and one fumble recovery. He scored two touchdowns in the Poinsettia Bowl, setting the BYU record for career touchdowns scored by a defensive player, with four. For the second straight season, he was the only defensive player nationally to record a stat in every major defensive category.
Last Friday, BYU wide receiver Cody Hoffman announced that will stay for his senior season, putting him in position to leave Provo as the Cougars' most prolific pass-catcher. Hoffman has a current 32-game reception streak, and ranks fifth all-time at BYU with 2,718 career receiving yards. He also ranks fourth with 203 career receptions and is just the third player in school history to record 100 receptions in a season and the fourth to have more than 200 receptions for his career. Hoffman's 28 receiving touchdowns have him in third-place on the BYU all-time tally, only two away from Austin Collie's career mark of 30. His eight 100-yard receiving games are second all-time; Collie has the BYU record with 11.
On our postgame show following BYU's bowl win over San Diego State, when asked about reasons to return for his senior campaign, Hoffman said "possibly draft stock going up, and re-writing the (BYU) record books."
With Van Noy and Hoffman back in the fold for 2013, the Cougars are positioned to make a strong run at a BCS bowl game in the final season of that postseason format.
BYU will return its top three wide receivers, entire tight end corps, and leading running back Jamaal Williams, in addition to Michael Alisa, who missed eight games with a broken forearm. Quarterback Taysom Hill is expected to recover fully from a serious knee injury suffered in early October, while the offensive line will have four returners of the five who started in the bowl game. The O-line is expected to receive a significant amount of off-season attention, particularly in recruiting from the junior college ranks.
Defensively, at linebacker, Van Noy and Spencer Hadley will return on the outside, with 2012 backups Uani Unga and Manoa Pikula expected to replace graduates Uona Kaveinga and Brandon Ogletree on the inside. The secondary returns safeties Daniel Sorensen and Craig Bills, while only one corner needs to be replaced with the departure of Preston Hadley. Up front, Eathyn Manumaeuna returns after a medical redshirt, while Bronson Kaufusi and Remington Peck are back for their sophomore seasons. Promising lineman Theodore King will be a redshirt freshman. In short, a 2012 defense that could be called the best in BYU history won't have too many holes to fill in 2013.