BYU Football Position Preview: Defensive Line

BYU’s defensive line is often one of the most watched units on the team. Fans are always clamoring for a fiercer pass rush and sexier sack numbers. It’s not always that simple. However, the coaching staff have their work cut out to replace the talents that have left and develop the ones they retain. For the most part, the unit is intact from last year and they hope to build on the experience they had last season. The closet is not bare along the defensive line. This year, we’ll find out who’s going to take on bigger roles and shine.

Defensive purposes

Tyler Batty

Batty is the headliner along the defensive line. Appearing in 12 of 13 games last season, he had 43 tackles, including five for losses, as well as 3.5 sacks. He’s yet to fully realize his potential, but at 6-foot-5 and 275 pounds, with a bit of athleticism, he can’t do much as a defensive end. Expect 2022 to be the breakout year that fans and coaches have been waiting for, in good health.


The South Jordan native appeared sparingly in nine games last season. He could see a bigger role this season given the lost experience.

Blake Mangelson

As a true freshman in 2021, Mangelson appeared in seven games, with five tackles. The Nephi native has racked up big stats as a prep player.

Count Tuioti-Mariner

ETM is one of the most experienced players on the 2022 roster. Entering his sixth season on the program, he has recorded 42 games, with 49 total tackles, including four for losses and three sacks. At 6-foot-4 and 288 pounds, he’s one of the bigger ends. He’ll probably see the weather in front of Batty as the “split end”, which is traditionally the bigger, bulkier end.

Aisea Moa

The four-star rookie enters the program with a lot of hype. He will have to earn his place in the rotation, like everyone else. Being listed as a No. 5 ranked prospect in Utah comes with expectations. After attracting interest from a few PAC-12 schools, Moa chose BYU. It looks like he will become a viable weapon along the defensive line with some experience.

John Nelson

The former three-star rookie appeared in all 13 games as a true rookie last season, totaling 12 tackles and two tackles for the loss. He can also at the inside defensive line.

Alden Tofa

Tofa has appeared in at least seven games every season for the past four seasons. He recorded three sacks in seven games last season. It has plenty of size and volume to impact the ending. Someone has to step in and be a Robin for Batty’s Batman and Tofa is a prime candidate.

Pepe Tanuvasa

The former Navy transfer returns for a final season looking to build on a strong 2021 campaign. Pepe has moved from linebacker to defensive line during his career, and Kalani indicated in Spring Ball that he could play linebacker this season. He was the Cougars’ fifth-highest tackle with 42, along with three sacks and seven tackles for loss. He was one of Provo’s most productive linemen. He even had an interception against Idaho State. This season is shaping up to be his best yet and he should have a big impact.

Note: Logan Fano came to Provo as a four-star rookie but tore his ACL in the spring and may not play at all this season.

defensive tackle

Laurent Fauatea

The sixth-year eldest missed the second half of last season through injury. He forced a fumble against Utah and may be one of the most disruptive defensive linemen BYU has on the roster when healthy. He had four sacks in total between 2018 and 2019.

Hunter Greer

The former Timpanogos is entering his second season on the program. He wore a red shirt last season, appearing in a game against Idaho State.

Alema Pilimai

Pilimai is another defensive lineman who has been on the program for several seasons. So far he has mainly been a scout team player. This may be his last season in Provo and his last chance to play a bigger role. He could have that chance this year.

Gabe Summers

Summers is entering his fifth season on the program and third as a starter. Last season, he played in all 13 games, racking up 24 tackles, including one tackle for loss. In 2020, he also won two sacks. He is one of the most productive returning inside defensive linemen for BYU and is looking to take another step forward, especially in the pass rushing department.

nose attack

Caden Hawks

Haws certainly looks like a nose tackle, at 6-foot-2 and 320 pounds. After graduating from high school in Arkansas, he attracted the interest of several SEC military schools and academies. Over the past two seasons, he’s been a mainstay in the middle of BYU’s defensive line, playing in 23 of a possible 24 games. He picked up his first career sack last season, against Utah State, along with three tackles for loss. Once again, it will be a staple of the interior line.

Josh Larsen

The former three-star rookie appeared in three games last season as a true rookie. At 6-foot-4 and 300 pounds, he’s a load to handle in the middle for opposing offensive lines.

Atunaisa Mahe

Having played 25 games between 2019 and 2021, Mahé is emerging as one of BYU’s top defensive linemen. He had 26 tackles with 1.5 sacks last season. He is one of BYU’s most athletic interior linemen.

Joshua Singh

Singh appeared in one game last season and enters this year as a redshirt rookie.

About Joyce Hill

Check Also

In Case You Missed It: President Oaks on the ‘Forgotten Man’ Painting, Plus 8 More Stories

During the week of November 6-12, President Dallin H. Oaks, First Counselor in the First …