You always question defensive guys at lower levels. But the BYU Cougars are close enough to this level to have a defensive guy make the list, and Isaiah Kaufusi leads all returners on the team in tackles, tackles for a loss, and even interceptions along with Austin Lee. So he’s a do-it-all type of linebacker, and Tennessee football could be in trouble with him.
Kaufusi had six tackles for a loss last year, including a sack, and 50 tackles overall, and he also had two interceptions, four passes defended and a forced fumble. The 6’2″ 219-pound junior may be a bit undersized, but he knows how to be all over the field, and he’s the type of player a defensive-minded head coach like Kalani Sitake loves.
Jeremy Pruitt may prefer bigger linebackers, but he has to have respect for what Kaufusi may be able to do if his team is going to hold off the Cougars. Given that he was able to rack up those stats as a sophomore while other guys were more prominent defensively, his potential is scary.
If the Vols are going to avoid an upset at the hands of BYU, Kaufusi is the guy Jim Chaney needs to always be aware of. He needs to avoid that guy at all costs. Otherwise, it could become a very disappointing Sept. 7 for Rocky Top.