BYU football center James Empey declares himself for 2022 NFL draft

PROVO, Utah – BYU football’s offensive line anchor to James Empey advances.

Empey, a COVID-19 junior, who graduated from BYU with a finance degree, has his sights set on the 2022 NFL draft. The 6-foot-4, 303-pound center sent a thank-you letter to the football program BYU announcing plans to move on.

“I want to express my gratitude to all the coaches past and present, the football staff, and especially my teammates for believing in me and pushing me to give my best in all aspects of the game. life. You have influenced my life more than just football.

“I also want to express my gratitude to my wonderful wife and family who have supported me through everything.

“After much thought, prayer and discussion, I am delighted to declare myself for the 2022 NFL Draft. I have high hopes for the future and will always cherish my time at BYU. Go Cougs!

A graduate of American Fork High School, Empey initially signed with Utah after graduating from high school. However, after serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Portugal, Empey switched to BYU to be coached by his father, Mike Empey, who was the offensive line coach in 2017.

Empey wore a red shirt in 2017, but then had the heavy task of filling in the shoes that Tejan Koroma left behind. Immediately, Empey was a star at the center of BYU, earning Freshman All-American recognition in his first full season of play.

Empey started the first 28 games he appeared in his BYU career until he was sidelined with injury in the 2020 season. Empey started in 41 BYU games throughout his career which has seen him coached by four different offensive line coaches.

Empey’s offensive line coach in the 2021 season, Darrell Funk, wrote on Twitter to Empey, “We wish you the best James! It was a pleasure to coach you this year. You’ve been devoting yourself body and soul to this program for a long time and we all appreciate it! I look forward to seeing you take the next step in your career. Good luck!”

During the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Empey has struggled with injuries. The last appearance of his BYU career came in a win in Washington state, where he suffered a lower-body injury that kept him from playing the last six games of his senior year at Provo.

Empey was a team captain for BYU during the 2020 and 2021 seasons. When in good health, he’s one of the best centers to come out of BYU in the 21st century.

Along with his success on the pitch, Empey has been recognized for his efforts off the pitch at BYU. Empey was a semi-finalist for the Wuerffel Trophy in 2021. The Wuerffel Trophy is the best community service award in college football. Empey was part of the More 2 Life Foundation’s trips to Harlem, New York, to positively impact the youth of the Harlem Jets.

Mitch Harper is a BYU insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday 12 p.m. to 3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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