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2022 BYU football Countdown to Camp: Big plays are expected from No. 8

By Jared Lloyd - | Jul 23, 2022

Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo

BYU wide receiver Puka Nacua waves to Cougar fans after the 38-24 Cougar loss to Baylor in Waco, Texas, on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. (Jaren Wilkey, BYU Photo)

The 2022 college football season continues to inch closer — agonizingly slowly for most fans.

Much of the talk surrounding the sport this summer has focused on conferences, realignment, television deals and superpowers.

In other words, money.

Just like in every other business, everyone clearly wants as much cash as they can get their hands on.

The irony is that having a lot of bucks in the bank doesn’t automatically equate into having success on the field, as clearly shown by Texas’s struggles over the last decade.

While fancy facilities, high-paid coaches and now glitzy name, image and likeness (NIL) deals certainly get a lot of attention, the reality is that victory or defeat comes down to the players who are actually playing.

Athleticism, tactics, execution, strategy, talent and cohesion are what truly make college football fun and exciting.

While BYU will probably never find itself at the top of the money list in the sport, the Cougars appear to be in good position to do well when they step onto the gridiron — as long as the players and coaches (particularly those in the Countdown) achieve their potential.

The next player on the list combines seemingly endless energy with impressive ability to come up with big plays.

No. 8: Puka Nacua, junior wide receiver

In many ways it’s hard to believe that Nacua has only been in Provo for a single season after transferring from Washington. The former Orem High star appears to have inserted himself into the team establishment almost effortlessly.

Now he is an integral part of what the BYU offense wants to accomplish this year.

Last season he had 953 total yards (805 receiving, 148 rushing) and six touchdowns, averaging 18.7 yards per catch and 10.6 yards per rush, as the Cougars looked to get him the ball in a variety of ways.

Opposing defenses always had to be aware of where Nacua was and what he was doing, and still had trouble slowing him down.

Add that success to his emotional leadership and he certainly is a key to BYU’s success this fall.

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