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BYU football: Top 10 Cougar players from Texas

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As BYU football sets to play its third straight opponent from the state of Texas this weekend, we feel it’s a fine time to name our top ten players from the Lone Star State in program history. Cougar coaches have mentioned the state of Texas will likely prove more fertile recruiting ground for them moving forward, considering Big12 Conference affiliation with Texas Tech, TCU, Houston and Baylor following the 2023 season along with Texas this season.

Several players from the state of Texas have already contributed heavily to Cougar football success, and with BYU becoming more visible within the state, many more could be on their way to Provo in short order.

1. Ty Detmer:

The argument could well be made that Detmer is the best player in BYU football history regardless of state affiliation. Detmer played for the Cougars from 1988-1991, won a Heisman Trophy, set numerous NCAA passing records while defeating top opponents after arriving from San Marcos, Texas. Naming any Texan above Detmer on the list would be criminal.

2. Margin Hooks:

Hooks arrived at BYU after prepping in Waco, Texas in 1997 and saw immediate contribution before finishing his BYU football career as one of the most prolific receivers ever to pass through the program. Hooks racked up 189 receptions over his career for 2,841 yards over four seasons, good for fifth all-time at BYU in those categories.

3. Derwin Gray:

Gray played defensive back for the Cougars from 1989-1992 before enjoying a solid NFL career where he played six seasons — primarily for the Indianapolis Colts. Gray played high school ball for Judson in San Antonio and finished his Cougar career with 283 total tackles on top of 14 interceptions and four forced fumbles.

4. David Nixon:

Nixon was a 4-year starter for the Cougars, playing as a true freshman before returning from missionary service for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to start at outside linebacker from 2006-2008. Hailing from College Station, Nixon compiled 275 tackles, 43.5 tackles-for-loss and 11.5 sacks over his career in Provo before moving on to play four years in the NFL.

5. Brian Mitchell:

Mitchell played for BYU from 1987-1990 after arriving from Waco and finished his Cougar football career with 171 total tackles and nine interceptions. He went on to play briefly in the NFL before becoming BYU’s cornerbacks coach from 1994-2005 and currently coaches the position for North Carolina State.

6. Lee Johnson:

It’s always hard to rank kickers and punters on any list, but someone with the resume of Johnson certainly deserves recognition. Johnson averaged 46.9 yards per punt during the 1983 and 1984 seasons after arriving from the Woodlands while also handling the kicking duties where he converted 13-17 field goal attempts in 1984. He went on to play 18 years in the NFL.

7. Tejan Koroma:

Starting at center as a true freshman, but that’s exactly what Koroma did at BYU after arriving to the program from Allen, Texas. Koroma started for four straight seasons at BYU from 2014-2017 before a brief stint in the NFL. Koroma certainly stands as one of the best offensive linemen ever to pass through the program.

8. Michael Reed:

Reed played a significant role within the Cougar offense from 2005-2008 and finished his collegiate career hauling in 133 receptions for 1,613 yards and 10 touchdowns. Reed hails from Baytown, Texas and was a standout during some very prolific offensive years for BYU.

9. Brandon Ogletree:

Ogletree was a defensive standout throughout his BYU football career where he primarily played at the inside linebacker position. Ogletree is from McKinney, Texas and played from 2009-2012. Ogletree finished his Cougar career with 245 total tackles and three interceptions and was known as a defensive leader throughout his time in Provo.

10. McKay Jacobson:

Jacobson provided significant contributions as a freshman in 2006 before putting together solid years from 2009-2011 after completing a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Overall he finished with 113 catches over his four seasons for 1,836 yards and nine touchdowns while also adding 435 additional yards in both kick and punt returns.

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