Since 2009, the BYU football team has yet to have two players drafted in the same NFL draft.
That trend continued with the conclusion of the 2019 draft as former Cougar linebacker Sione Takitaki (who was picked 80th overall by the Cleveland Browns) was the only BYU player to have his name called.
Fred Warner (2018), Jamaal Williams (2017) and Bronson Kaufusi (2016) were also solo Cougar representatives in recent NFL drafts — but at least BYU had players drafted, unlike 2011, 2012 and 2015.
The best chance the Cougars had of getting a second player picked was the hope that NFL teams would overlook the injuries that ended defensive lineman Corbin Kaufusi’s season and resulted in multiple surgeries.
Instead, Kaufusi had to wait to find the right fit as an undrafted free agent. He eventually signed with the New Orleans Saints.
He’ll be joining two other former BYU undrafted free agents who have carved out niches for themselves in the “Big Easy”: quarterback Taysom Hill and defensive lineman Tomasi Laulile.
Hill tweeted out his welcome to his former Cougar teammate from his @T_Hill4 Twitter account: “Let’s go @CorbinKaufusi! Welcome to the big easy! We’re getting a warrior in this one #WhoDat nation!️”
BYU wide receivers coach Fesi Sitake immediately tweeted out his congratulations to Kaufusi from his @fsitake Twitter account, saying:
“Congrats @CorbinKaufusi. Joining the monster @T_Hill4 in WhoDat Nation!! Congrats toko! Go Cougs”
Kaufusi had a tremendous career at BYU, finishing with 154 total tackles, 19 sacks and four quarterback hurries. He ended his career in Provo in November because of injuries, which forced him to get three different surgeries.
He will also be the second member of the family to be on an NFL roster as his older brother, Bronson Kaufusi, plays for the New York Jets.
Corbin Kaufusi wasn’t the only former Cougar to get an opportunity at the next level. Ex-BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum accepted minicamp invitations with both the Oakland Raiders and Detroit Lions.
Even though it took many twists and turns, Mangum also had a solid overall career for the Cougars. A press release from BYU listed some of his accomplishments, saying:
“Mangum played in 34 games with 27 starts as the Cougars’ signal caller. From Eagle, Idaho, the 6-3, 208-pound quarterback threw for 6,262 yards and 39 touchdowns while adding three scores on the ground during his career. He led BYU to a win at Nebraska in his first college game in 2015, throwing the game-winning 42-yard Hail Mary touchdown in place of the injured Taysom Hill. Mangum went on to become the 2015 Touchdown Club of Columbus Freshman of the Year after throwing for 3,377 yards and 23 touchdowns to lead BYU to a 9-4 season record.”
BYU head coach Kalani Sitake made a brief statement wishing the two latest former Cougars well in their endeavors to continue playing football at the highest level.
“I’m grateful for all that Corbin and Tanner have done for BYU, and I’m excited they both have the opportunity to pursue playing in the NFL,” Sitake said in the release.
According to the press release, BYU has had 188 former players receive NFL opportunities as undrafted free agents in addition to Takitaki becoming the 142nd Cougar selected in the annual draft.
Additional signings or minicamp invites for BYU players could still be announced in the coming days.