|Dayan Ghanwoloku knows what to do with the ball in his hands (Nick Wagner, Deseret News).|
One of the more intriguing side stories of the BYU Cougars' Spring Game last Saturday was defensive back Dayan Ghanwoloku playing the role of kick returner. There was a fair amount of attention given during the last month about his position change from cornerback to safety. However, the idea of Ghanwoloku returning kickoffs is even more exciting.
In the Spring Game, Ghanwoloku returned a kickoff 85-yards. If BYU coaches decide to have him assume the kick return duties during the season, it could turn out to be one of the best moves made this off season. The excitement and momentum from good field position that a big kickoff return generates can be game changing. It was conspicuously missing last year.
The Cougars were abysmal on kickoff returns in 2017. Averaging a paltry 17.55 yards per return, BYU was worse than all but eight FBS schools. The longest return was a 45-yarder by Jonah Trinnaman against Utah.
Like Cody Hoffman and Adam Hine earlier this decade, Ghanwoloku could be a consistent home-run threat for BYU from the kick return position. He could create the expectation that a huge return is probable on every kickoff. He already has on defense.
Ghanwoloku has, officially, five career interceptions. Four of those interceptions have been returned for 38 yards or more. Against San Jose State last year, he had a 54-yard interception return negated due to a questionable roughing the passer penalty. His ability to run in the open field has him fifth all-time in interception return yards in school history.
This ability is exactly what is needed in a kickoff returner. If that 85-yard return didn't make it clear enough, Ghanwoloku's 43.6 yard average on interception returns should. He could be exactly what BYU needs on kickoff returns.
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