PROVO — When BYU's football team was forced to go it alone through the 2020 college football season as the only active team west of Texas, the Cougars marched on.
Cobbling together a schedule of any team it could find during the COVID-19 pandemic — and with the Pac-12, Big Ten and Mountain West initially opting out of the season — BYU put together its best season in over a decade with an 11-1 record and top-15 finish in every major national poll, capped by a win over UCF in the Boca Raton Bowl.
The Cougars had a banner year on the field in 2020, and it led to a banner draft, with the most selections in the top-seven rounds since 2002.
From Zach Wilson's No. 2 overall selection by the New York Jets on Thursday — a program record by itself — to Dax Milne's selection as the penultimate pick of the draft by the Washington football team, the Cougars had five picks spread out over three days. That's the most since Doug Jolley (Raiders), Ryan Denney (Bills), Brandon Doman (49ers), Luke Staley (Lions) and Brett Keisel (Steelers) were selected between the second and seventh rounds of the 2002 draft show.
BYU's banner year helped boost a banner year for Utah high school products, where former Bingham High star Jay Tufele (USC) and Brighton's Simi Fehoko (Stanford) — along with Desert Hills' Penei Sewell (Oregon) — elevated the state's count to seven total picks, including two in the top-10 overall. That's the most in Utah High School Activities Association history, breaking the previous record of five set in 2019.
Two prospects came from Bingham High in Tufele and BYU wide receiver Dax Milne.
In addition, two BYU prospects from the Class of 2020 — wide receivers Aleva Hifo and Micah Simon — both signed agreements with the New Orleans Saints and Carolina Panthers, respectively. Simon signed as free-agent prior to the draft, while Hifo, who spent part of last season with the Chiefs, will be on a mini-camp invitation in New Orleans.
But the draft season isn't over. Teams are adding free agents and camp invites as we speak. Here's a look at where everybody who played in the state of Utah landed; check back often to see if your favorite player made it to the league.
- Zach Wilson, QB, BYU/Corner Canyon (No. 2, New York Jets)
- Brady Christensen, OT, BYU/Bountiful (No. 70, Carolina Panthers)
- Khyiris Tonga, DT, BYU/Granger (No. 250, Chicago Bears)
- Chris Wilcox, CB, BYU (No. 251, Tampa Bay Buccaneers)
- Dax Milne, WR, BYU/Bingham (No. 258, Washington Football Team)
- Chandon Herring, OL, BYU (Free agent, Tennessee Titans)
- Zayne Anderson, LB, BYU/Stansbury (Free agent, Kansas City Chiefs)
- Isaiah Kaufusi, LB, BYU/Brighton (Free agent, Indianapolis Colts)
- Matt Bushman, TE, BYU (Free agent, Las Vegas Raiders)
- Tristen Hoge, OG, BYU (Free agent, New York Jets)
- Troy Warner, DB, BYU (Free agent, Los Angeles Rams)
- Zac Dawe, DL, BYU/Pleasant Grove (Free agent, Atlanta Falcons)
- Kavika Fonua, LB, BYU/Syracuse (Mini-camp invitation, Carolina Panthers)
- Josh Nurse, DB, Utah (Mini-camp invitation, Tennessee Titans)
- Alani Pututau, DL, Adams State via Snow College (Free agent, Atlanta Falcons)
Utah high schools
- Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon/Desert Hills (No. 7, Detroit Lions)
- Jay Tufele, DT, USC/Bingham (No. 106, Jacksonville Jaguars)
- Simi Fehoko, WR, Stanford/Brighton (No. 179, Dallas Cowboys)