Six BYU Cougars reach NFL agreements as free agents
PROVO, Utah — In addition to Ezekiel “Ziggy” Ansah being selected by the Detroit Lions with the No. 5 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, six other BYU football players from the 2012 team have confirmed free-agent agreements with NFL teams since the draft concluded on Saturday night.
Joining Ansah are four more players from BYU’s No. 3-ranked defense and two from the offensive side of the ball. Additional agreements could still be announced.
“I’m proud of each of these young men for earning these opportunities with the NFL,” BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “Each has contributed a great deal to our program, and I’m looking forward to following their continued success beyond BYU.”
Offensive tackle Braden Brown signed with the St. Louis Rams and offensive guard/center Braden Hansen inked a deal with the Oakland Raiders. Inside linebacker Brandon Ogletree signed a contract with the Miami Dolphins while fellow insider linebacker Uona Kaveinga and defensive tackle Romney Fuga both signed with the Denver Broncos. The Seattle Seahawks extended a minicamp invite to defensive back Preston Hadley to provide an opportunity to make the team.
Brown, a converted tight end, showcased his talent and athleticism as starter in four seasons, earning 41 starting nods in his career. A two-time FBS and Phil Steele All-Independent honoree, Brown helped lead the Cougars to 36 wins in four years, four straight bowl victories and was also a two-time All-Academic winner.
Hansen was a four-year starter on the offensive line playing both guard positions as well as center. The 6-foot-6, 307-pounder from Sandy was named a Freshman All-American and earned all-conference and all-independent selections in his career. Hansen totaled 49 starts at BYU and was a two-time selection to the Outland Trophy Watch List.
Ogletree, a 5-foot-11, 235-pounder and 2012 defensive captain, led BYU’s top-3 defense with 102 tackles and was second on the team with 13.5 tackles for loss. A ferocious competitor with a nose for the football, Ogletree led the Cougars in tackles for two straight seasons and amassed 246 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries in his career.
A transfer from USC, Kaveinga helped the Cougar defense to a No. 3 ranking in total defense (266.1 yards per game allowed) in 2012. The 5-foot-11, 233-pounder started all 26 games he played at BYU and posted 106 tackles in two seasons, including nine tackles for loss. He forced a team-high four fumbles in 2011 and added an interception, a fumble recovery and two pass breakups in 2012.
A mainstay in the Cougar 3-4 defense for several years, the 6-foot-2, 318-pound Fuga played in 55 games over his career, starting 36 at nose tackle. A native of Huntington Beach, Calif., Fuga ate up double teams his whole career and rallied for 42 tackles in 2012, second among lineman at BYU, while posting 131 tackles over his career. Fuga added 10 tackles for loss and three sacks as a Cougar.
A 6-foot, 200-pound defensive back from Pleasant Grove, Utah, Hadley joined BYU after two years at Snow College and started all 26 games at boundary corner. Versatile enough to play corner and safety, Hadley racked up 117 tackles over the past two seasons to go along with 21 pass breakups. His 14 breakups in 2011 tied for No. 9 nationally.
Having signed as free agents, the players will take part in upcoming team minicamps and also participate in summer camps, looking to make their respective team's final roster.
BYU football wrapped up its first week of fall camp with its fifth practice on Saturday morning.