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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 LB Alani Fua getting some preseason hype

The College Football Performance Awards program has been good to BYU in the past, naming tight end Dennis Pitta as its 2009 Elite Tight End and linebacker Kyle Van Noy as its top linebacker in 2012 and giving the Detroit Lions draftee its National Defensive Performer of the Year honor in 2012 as well.

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Now, the CFPA has placed a current Cougar, linebacker Alani Fua, on its 2014 Linebacker Trophy Watch List.

Fua is one of 40 linebackers from across the country who made the list.

Fua made the Phil Steele Preseason Independent First Team last month.

He started in nine games at OLB last season and made 63 tackles, including five tackles for loss, and three sacks. He had two interceptions, including that pick against Houston in the final minute to end the red Cougars’ upset bid.

The CFPA is in its seventh season. Go here to see the other 39 linebackers on the list, a list that includes Utah State’s Zach Vigil and Kyler Fackrell.

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I wrote about BYU’s Chase Dalton in April and surmised that the senior might be the best BYU athlete you’ve never heard of. Dalton had a somewhat disappointing NCAA Track & Field finals meet, but bounced back last week with a strong performance at the USATF Championships in Sacramento, Calif.

Dalton placed fifth in the decathlon in Sacramento, but second among collegiate athletes. He scored 7,592 points. Wisconsin’s Zach Ziemek was the top collegian.

The Cougars sent five athletes to the meet.

Sophomore Korey Smith was 13th overall in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 51.93 seconds, and freshman Brian Mathews was ninth in the junior decathlon with 6,750 points.

Freshman Nicole Laws was sixth in the junior heptathlon with 4,863 points and fourth among college athletes.

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There are two major golf tournaments in Utah next week — the State Amateur at Ogden Golf & Country Club and the Web.com Tour’s Utah Championship at Willow Creek Country Club in Sandy.

Former and current BYU golfers will be prominent in both events.

Current Cougar golfer Cole Ogden is the defending champion in the State Amateur.

Fresh off his 40th-place finish at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst, ex-BYU golfer Zac Blair received an exemption on Wednesday to play in the Utah Championship July 10-13 at Willow Creek.

An All-American at BYU, Blair is currently 17th on the PGA Tour Latino America NEC Series. He’s also a member of the Canadian Tour.

Three other players with Utah ties — Tony Finau, Chris Moody and Scott Pinckney — will also be part of the 156 player field.



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