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BYU football: Walk-on OL Kyle Johnson has common name, uncommon drive

Published August 17, 2014 12:58 pm

BYU notes • Lineman is not a stranger to the Cougars' game plan.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Provo • Perhaps it is because of his plain-sounding name, or the fact that he wasn't heavily recruited out of high school or junior college like several of his mates along BYU's offensive line. It might be because he redshirted during his first season in Provo, after a church mission to Mexico.

Kyle Johnson is sort of the man of mystery among coach Garett Tujague's hogs up front, and the walk-on from Sandy's Jordan High School knows it.

"I'm just a hard worker who does what the coaches tell me to do," Johnson said. "What's important is the coaches know who I am."

Even if the fans don't.

For instance, how many fans know that Johnson, a 6-foot-4, 300-pound sophomore, started in eight games last season as a redshirt freshman, and played in all 13?

Johnson will seemingly be BYU's starting left guard this season, lining up beside his good friend, DeOndre Wesley, who is closing in on the starting left tackle spot.

"I have worked my tail off to get where I am," Johnson said. "So I believe that I have earned a [starting] spot. But it is ultimately up to Tujague, if he wants to change it around. We all trust him."

Johnson got his starts at right guard last season, then was looked at as a left tackle in spring. He wants to be known as a versatile player who can line up at any spot.

"Whatever gets me on the field," he said.

Line taking shape

Line coach Tujague continues to say that all five spots are still up for grabs, but Friday's scrimmage at LaVell Edwards Stadium showed that there is a frontrunner for at least four offensive line positions.

The starters Friday were Brad Wilcox at left tackle, Johnson at left guard, freshman Tejan Koroma at center, Brock Stringham at right guard and Wesley at right tackle (cross-training, perhaps).

The center spot is seemingly still wide open, and not because Koroma was ejected Friday for picking up back-to-back personal fouls. Junior Terrance Alletto and senior Edward Fusi, a Rimington Trophy candidate, are also fighting for the spot. Alletto is also in the mix at right guard.

Tujague has said 10 will travel to UConn, and at least that many guys will play this season.

"I have been that guy who has been second-string, and you are just standing there biting your mouthpiece on the side of the field. You never know if you are going in or not. But our twos here, they know they are playing. So they better be ready. They don't want to be embarrassed," he said.

Briefly

Mendenhall said Thursday the kicking battle rages on between Trevor Samson, Moose Bingham and Andrew Mikkelsen, but Mikkelsen didn't get any field-goal reps in the scrimmage Friday. In some work as the scrimmage wrapped up, Samson was 4-for-5, making kicks from 28, 36, 43 and 48 yards and missing a 48-yarder. Bingham was 3-for-5, missing a pair of 48-yarders, after hitting from 28, 36 and 43. —

BYU at Connecticut

P Aug. 29, 5 p.m. MDT

TV • ESPN