PROVO — BYU concluded its spring football practices last Friday after providing better clarity of each position group heading into fall camp. Several players saw their stock rise throughout the session while others will look to make an impact this fall.

So how does each position group look and what can fans expect come the fall practice session and into the regular season?

Brandon Gurney was there for every open session and gives his best glimpse into what's on tap heading into the 2014 season.

Email: bgurney@desnews.com Twitter: @BrandonCGurney

Quarterback

Overview

It was all about assumed starter Taysom Hill (6-2, 221) getting a lot of reps while learning the finer points of becoming a true pocket-passing quarterback. The amount of reps were very apparent throughout most practice sessions and coaches consistently praised the improvements Hill has made from the end of last season up until the final spring practice session.

Coaches were very definitive in naming senior Christian Stewart (6-2, 201) as Hill's primary backup. The question of who will rise to become the third-string quarterback remains in question heading into the offseason.

What's on tap

Sophomore Billy Green (6-2, 206) will continue his bid for the third-string spot and will be joined by McCoy Hill, who will join the team after serving an LDS Church mission. Freshman Hunter Moore (6-3, 180) will also be in the mix.


Running back

Overview

Coaches were generally very pleased with the progress made at running back this spring. Coach Bronco Mendenhall consistently pointed the position out as an area of strength for this year's team.

The top three running backs were clearly defined this spring, according to coaches, and consist of junior Jamaal Williams (6-0, 200), sophomore Algernon Brown (6-1, 219) and senior Paul Lasike (6-0, 227.)

Junior Nate Carter (5-9, 185) had a productive spring while junior Adam Hine (6-1, 202) sat out spring training recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

What's on tap

With no real notable incoming running backs set to join this fall, it's easily assumed the two-deep at running back is largely set. Hine may have a say in that final outcome once he proves healthy, but beyond that it's not likely anyone will unseat Williams, Brown and Lasike on the two-deep roster.


Wide receiver

Overview

With many assumed contributors shelved with injury issues, it was largely junior Kurt Henderson (6-1, 180), sophomore Colby Pearson (6-0, 190) and junior Nick Kurtz (6-6, 205) seeing most of the reps. Both Henderson and Pearson saw the majority of first-team work early on while both Kurtz and sophomore speedster Michael Davis (6-2, 180) came on strong toward the end.

What's on tap

There's likely more to be sorted out at wide receiver than any other position on the team this coming fall. Junior Mitch Mathews (6-6, 206) sat out due to injury, but is sure to make a strong starting bid along with Senior Ross Apo (6-3, 207) who is largely in the same situation as Mathews.

There's also a lot of incoming talent set to join the team this coming June. That group includes junior college transfer Devon Blackmon (6-1, 185) along with UTEP transfer Jordan Leslie (6-3, 210) and Stanford transfer Keanu Nelson (5-11, 184.) Also joining the mix will be incoming freshman Trey Dye (5-11, 180).


Tight end

Overview

Senior Devin Mahina (6-6, 247) was a standout in spring training along with junior Terenn Houk (6-4, 213.) Both players will likely start fall practices as the team's primary Y receivers with Mahina taking on the traditional tight end role while Houk will fill the role of a sort of hybrid tight end/wide receiver type. Sophomore Mitchell Juergens (5-10, 180) had a good spring as the shorter JD Falslev-type slot receiver.

What's on tap

There's as many as four returned missionaries who will join the team and compete for spots, namely Colby Jorgensen and Matt Sumsion. Bryan Sampson is another name to keep on eye on as a potential contributor. Sampson practiced in spring and should be set for improvements this fall.

A lot of the intrigue at tight end, or more specifically the Y receiver spot, involves how coaches will employ the position. Last season saw scant use of the traditional tight end type in favor of a slot receiver, but that could certainly change in 2014.

Offensive line

Overview

The entire offensive line remains largely intact from a season ago with big improvements anticipated as a result. Coaches expressed satisfaction at the improvements made this spring and hope to see the necessary improvements in production.

Adding considerably to the offensive front were key additions of converted defensive lineman Tuni Kanuch (6-2, 325) and freshman Ului Lapuaho (6-7, 280) who recently returned from LDS missionary service. Coaches also like the strides made by senior center Edward Fusi (6-0, 317.)

What's on tap

Coaches anticipate full participation from those shelved with injuries and academic issues this coming fall. Those players include sophomore Brayden Kearsley (6-4, 295) and senior Ryker Mathews (6-6, 309), among others. Adding to the overall depth at the position will be players recently returned from LDS mission service such as Brian Rawlinson and Manu Mulitalo, along with recent signee Tejan Koroma.


Defensive line

Overview

There's a lot of new faces along the defensive front, but coaches remain optimistic about the overall depth and production. The lone returning contributors from a season ago are senior nose tackle Marques Johnson (6-2, 308) and junior defensive end Remington Peck (6-4, 250.) Both players are anticipated to being back to full strength this fall after being limited in spring.

The group was boosted significantly by both junior Graham Rowley (6-2, 260) and sophomore Travis Tuiloma (6-2, 260.) Both players recently returned from LDS missionary service and will play defensive end and nose tackle respectively.

Other potential contributors out of spring practices include freshman JonRyheem Peoples (6-4, 339) and freshman Kesni Tausinga (6-1, 285.)

What's on tap

Coaches hope the additions of recent signee Jaterrius Gulley and Sione Takitaki will add to the overall depth along the defensive front. Sophomore Tomasi Laulile (6-3, 270) was making good strides before suffering a dislocated patella, but he may return at full strength this fall.


Outside linebacker

Overview

The big news was the move of junior Bronson Kaufusi (6-7, 263) from defensive end to outside linebacker. Coaches feel he can help soften the blow of losing Kyle Van Noy at the position and were pleased with what they saw from him this spring. Kaufusi will likely be joined by senior Alani Fua (6-5, 215) on the other side.

Sophomore Sae Tautu (6-3, 245) showed promise in the spring along with some others.

What's on tap

Some of the biggest names that signed as part of the 2014 class included top recruits Tyler Cook and Fred Warner. Both players will join the team this fall along with four-star recruit Troy Hinds, who recently returned from serving an LDS mission. The position will also receive a boost from converted running back Michael Alisa, who sat out spring training with an injury.

How much a contribution the incoming players make is certainly of interest given the established depth at the spot coupled with overall talent of those set to join the program.


Inside linebacker

Overview

Junior Manoa Pikula (6-1, 235) firmly established himself as the top option at either Mike or Buck linebacker with a solid spring. The next option proved to be senior Zac Stout (6-1, 217) followed in order by junor Jherremya Leuta-Douyer (6-0, 236) and sophomore Austin Heder (6-1, 241.)

What's on tap

The position could be boosted with the return of Taloa'i Ho Ching (6-1, 230) and Teu Kautai (6-1, 220) who both sat out spring training with injuries. Other additions include Phillip Amone, who will be returned from his LDS mission service among others.

Safety

Overview

Senior Craig Bills (6-1, 205) returns as an established starter and saw most of his reps at strong safety this spring after starting at free safety in 2013. Who will join with Bills at safety remains in question heading into fall camp as senior Robertson Daniel (6-1, 198) will continue to learn the free safety spot after seeing plenty of reps there this spring.

Others rising as potential contributors this spring were sophomore Dallin Leavitt (5-11, 198) and sophomore Kai Nacua (6-1, 205.) Both players received praise from coaches for their work in spring training.

What's on tap

There may be room for an incoming player such as recent signee Kavika Fonua to make an impact at safety this year. There remains a lot of question marks surrounding who will start alongside Bills heading into fall camp.


Cornerback

Overview

The team enjoyed unusual depth at cornerback this spring, led by the return of junior Trent Trammell (6-0, 190) who looked capable of locking down one starting spot this spring. Other standouts included Daniel, who finished out spring training playing corner, freshman Michael Shelton (5-8, 170) and junior Trevor Bateman (5-9, 178) among others.

What's on tap

Senior Jordan Johnson (5-10, 185) should practice at full strength again in fall camp and should be one of the favorites to start. Beyond Johnson's return there aren't any incoming junior college players set to join the team this fall, which is a rarity at BYU.