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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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BYU's Kaufusi on Hendricks Watch List, and another Cali LB commits to Cougars

It isn't known yet whether massive defensive lineman Bronson Kaufusi, 6-7, 282, will re-join the BYU basketball team again this winter when the football season ends -- he said Monday it is up in the air -- but if he does, Kaufusi quite likely will be coming off a monster season.

I wrote about Kaufusi as a possible replacement for Ziggy Ansah, in the playmaking department, in today's Salt Lake Lake Tribune.

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Thursday, the sophomore was named to the Watch List for the 2013 Ted Hendricks Award, the honor given to college football's premier defensive end.

Kaufusi is one of 22 players on the Watch List. He made 23 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks last season. On the basketball team, he averaged 1.3 points, 1.8 rebounds per game in 20 appearances.

"For 280 pounds, he runs like a deer, and basketball probably had something to do with that," football coach Bronco Mendenhall said Wednesday, when asked how basketball helped him.

Mendenhall didn't elaborate, but just the way he responded to the question gave me the impression that he isn't 100 percent on-board with having Kaufusi play the other sport. It will be interesting to see what happens this winter, because coach Dave Rose's squad is going to need big bodies inside again, just like last year.

The winner of the Hendricks Award will be announced on Dec. 11; Previous recipients include Terrell Suggs, David Pollack, Chris Long and Jadaveon Clowney, who is back at South Carolina and will be the odds-on favorite to win it again this year.

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As the story mentioned, three guys will rotate at the two defensive end positions for a lion's share of the plays: Kaufusi, Eathyn Manumaleuna and Remington Peck. That's if a nose tackle steps up and allows Manumaleuna to play on the outside. If not, he will be the nose tackle and Peck and Kaufusi will have to become ironmen. Austin Holt and Michael Doman could also see some plays at DE.

"Any team that has depth can pretty much do what they want. When a guy gets tired, throw someone else in that can do the same thing, and you are not going to take a step back. So that's good," Kaufusi said. "Just having guys that can play both is what we are looking at. Marques Johnson can play end, too. Eathyn can do the same. So it is nice to be able to sub guys in who can do either/or for us. So that is good."

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BYU's coaches received some welcome news on Thursday when Tyler Cook, a linebacker from Vista Murrieta High in Murrieta, Calif., committed to BYU. Cook is 6-foot-3, 220 pounds, according to his profile on several recruiting websites.

Those services say he also had offers from Arizona, Boise State, Hawaii, Miami, Washington State and several other schools.



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