Provo • The biggest playmaker from a BYU defense that ranked among the best in the country last season used the last day of 2012 to announce he is returning in 2013.
Linebacker Kyle Van Noy announced Monday that he will remain at BYU for his senior season and not declare for April’s NFL draft. Last Friday, BYU junior receiver Cody Hoffman said he plans on returning as well, meaning the Cougars will have their two best players back from the team that went 8-5 and defeated San Diego State 23-6 in the Poinsettia Bowl.
“I have decided to stay and complete my senior season at BYU,” Van Noy said in the release. “I plan to finish what I started and feel like I’ve still got some unfinished business. I am looking forward to being on the field this next season with my Cougar teammates.”
Both announcements come as welcome news for the Cougars, who are saying that the 2013 schedule will be the most difficult in school history. The Cougars open the season Aug. 31 at Virginia and also travel to Utah State, Houston, Wisconsin, Notre Dame and Hawaii. They will play host to Texas, Utah, Georgia Tech, Boise State, Middle Tennessee State and an opponent not yet named.
Van Noy, a 6-foot-3, 235-pound junior from Reno, Nev., is an Associated Press third-team All-American. He made CBSsports.com’s All-America second team.
Van Noy is currently ranked No. 1 nationally in sacks, tied with four other players. He is tied for second in forced fumbles, and is third in tackles for loss and seventh in blocked kicks.
The Cougars are ranked fourth nationally in scoring defense, and kept six opponents — Washington State, Boise State, Utah State, Hawaii, Georgia Tech and San Diego State — from scoring an offensive touchdown.
Van Noy was named the Poinsettia Bowl MVP after scoring two defensive touchdowns against the Aztecs. His interception return for a TD in the fourth quarter sealed the Cougars’ fourth-straight bowl win.
Hoffman was the offensive MVP and announced his intention last Friday to return to BYU.
“I am proud to announce that I will be returning to BYU for my senior year,” Hoffman said after totaling 1,248 yards on 100 catches in 2012.