BYU football: Bronson Kaufusi stays calm, collected – and thrifty – as NFL Draft approaches – Salt Lake Tribune

6 months ago Comments Off on BYU football: Bronson Kaufusi stays calm, collected – and thrifty – as NFL Draft approaches – Salt Lake Tribune

He says it is not. It is just the opposite, he believes.

After starring at Provo’s Timpview High, Kaufusi went on a two-year LDS Church mission to Auckland, New Zealand. He believes that experience, and the added maturity it brought to his life, should and will be viewed positively when the draft’s first round is held Thursday night in Chicago. The second and third rounds — where most projections have Kaufusi landing — are Friday night in the same town.

“I don’t feel like my age is an issue, and it hasn’t seemed to be an issue for the NFL teams I’ve talked to,” he said. “Whoever can make plays is going to play, and get the job done. To me, it doesn’t matter how old you are. This is serious stuff. The best players are going to play. It is not a big concern for me.”

Forget that he’s 24. Kaufusi has all the other numbers pro clubs are looking for: He was measured at just over 6-foot-6 and 285 pounds at the NFL Combine, with a 34 1/2-inch arm length and 9 3/4-inch hands. His 40 time was 4.87 seconds, not bad for a man his size.

He is athletic enough that he was able to hold his own on the basketball court when he played for coach Dave Rose’s team as a freshman in 2012-13. Coincidentally, Kaufusi’s brother, BYU center Corbin Kaufusi, will now give football a try after playing the last two seasons for Rose, a move that older brother says is great for the 6-10 junior and the football team.

“He is going to really turn some heads when he plays,” said Bronson, who already has.

Bruce Feldman of recently put the older Kaufusi on his top-10 most underrated prospects of 2016 list.

“I am just excited,” Kaufusi said. “After all this training, all this waiting, I can’t wait for it to actually happen. I am just looking forward to it.”

If you think speculation over Kaufusi’s age is rampant, wait until next year, when three-times injured, 26-year-old Taysom Hill’s draft prospects are evaluated.

Although his father, BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi, played for the Philadelphia Eagles from 1988-90, Bronson doesn’t have a favorite pro team. And he’s not about to say which team he hopes drafts him. The statistics major who took 18 or 19 credit hours the past three semesters so he could graduate last December and spend early 2016 concentrating on his training for the draft is much too smart to do that.

“I love them all,” he said. “I just love football. I will watch any team play, any time.”

When it came time to pick an agent, Kaufusi chose Bruce Tollner of Rep1 Sports, who is the son of Ted Tollner — a former USC and San Diego State head coach who was BYU’s quarterbacks coach in 1981. Tollner’s firm also represents former Utes Zane Beadles, Jeremiah Poutasi, Star Lotulelei and Tenny Palepoi and former East High and Oregon star Will Tukuafu.

“Bronson is an incredible young man,” Bruce Tollner said. “He is very athletic and intelligent. He can play in both a 3-4 and a 4-3 defensive scheme. He is explosive and powerful with great length to shed blockers at the point of attack. He is productive and will wreak havoc as an extremely well-rounded defensive end. The team that drafts him is going to be fired up when they realize just how special he is.”

He might even show up at training camp in a beat-up old Ford. His wife, former BYU soccer goalie Hilary Smith of Orem, will be there as well, having graduated last December, too.

The couple will spend the weekend watching the draft with friends and family at the home of his parents, the aforementioned Steve and Michelle, a member of the Provo School District Board of Education.