No. 9: Graham Rowley, BYU junior defensive lineman
Note: As the final month before the BYU football team starts fall camp ticks away, here is Jared Lloyd's list of the Top 25 individuals who will have the biggest impact on the success of the Cougars in 2014.
What better way to welcome Rowley back from his LDS mission to Chicago than by heaping on a large dose of responsibility?
Sure, he hasn't played a snap for BYU since 2011, but that shouldn't matter.
Yes, he's playing at a position that lost two of the three starters from 2013.
But no pressure, Graham.
Actually, the reality is that there is quite a bit of pressure on the Cougar defensive front this year.
While some might point to Marques Johnson, Travis Tuiloma or maybe Kesni Tausinga as needing to be the difference-makers, Rowley has a mixture of previous experience and ability that make him stand out.
The junior played in 21 games his first two years at BYU, earning 19 tackles, four tackles for a loss, 2.5 sacks and three quarterback hurries. While not daunting, those numbers show that Rowley got a chance to take care of business on the field.
Now the Cougars need him to step in and at least maintain that level of play. In BYU's defensive scheme, defensive linemen are rarely going to stuff the stat sheet, but don't think they aren't just as vital as the other positions.
The Cougars need Rowley to hold his place on the line, tie up blockers and tackle securely when he gets the chance. If BYU can get some penetration from him as well, that would be an added bonus.
Rowley had a good spring and came out listed as the starting defensive end. He still has things to do to get better, but he has to be good for the Cougar defense to be at its best.