BYU, Utah Football Players Invited To NFL Scouting Combine
Feb 13, 2024, 10:41 AM
SALT LAKE CITY – A total of six Utah Utes and three BYU Cougars have been invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
The NFL released the list of 321 collegiate prospects on Tuesday. The Scouting Combine will take place from February 26 to March 4.
— NFL Draft (@NFLDraft) February 13, 2024
Quarterback Kedon Slovis, offensive lineman Kingsley Suamataia, and punter Ryan Rehkow will be representing BYU.
For Utah, wide receiver Devaughn Vele, offensive lineman Keaton Bills, offensive lineman Sataoa Laumea, defensive lineman Jonah Elliss, safety Cole Bishop, and safety Sione Vaki will all be heading to Indianapolis.
Cougars In Indi
Slovis started in eight games for BYU. He posted a 5-3 record and is the program’s first-ever starting quarterback to kick off the Big 12 era.
Slovis was sidelined for the final four games of the season due to multiple injuries on his throwing arm. He finished his one season at BYU with 1,716 passing yards, 12 touchdowns, six interceptions, and a completion rate of 57.5%.
Slovis has now set his sights on chasing an NFL career. If drafted, he would be the third consecutive BYU starting quarterback to be selected in the NFL, following Zach Wilson and Jaren Hall.
Three #BYU football players have been invited to the 2024 NFL Combine.
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) February 13, 2024
Before arriving at BYU, Suamataia was a five-star recruit out of Orem High, signing with the University of Oregon. He was part of the Ducks program for one year.
Suamataia is the only BYU player invited to the 2024 Reese’s Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Entering the 2023 season, and before underclassmen were permitted to play in the Senior Bowl, BYU had seven Senior Bowl watch list players.
Rehkow had a career average over the past four seasons of 47.4 yards per punt. During the 2023 season, Rehkow’s workload grew significantly compared to previous seasons. He booted the ball 68 times for an average of 48.4 yards per punt.
Rehkow’s average led all punters in the Big 12 Conference in 2023. He totaled 3,289 yards on his conference-leading 68 punts this season.
Rehkow is the first BYU football player to receive a weekly Big 12 Conference award. After BYU’s 14-0 win over Sam Houston in week one of the season, Rehkow was the Co-Special Teams Player of the Week in the conference.
— KSL Sports (@kslsports) December 19, 2023
Utes In Indi
In 2021, Vele ended the year with 23 receptions for 389 yards, and one touchdown while helping the Utes to their first Pac-12 Title and Rose Bowl appearance.
Vele’s role grew and was even more instrumental in Utah’s repeat Pac-12 Championship performance and Rose Bowl appearance accounting for 55 receptions for 695 yards and five touchdowns.
2023 was a bit of a letdown year, but not from a lack of effort on Vele’s part. In fact, Vele has been a very key piece of Utah’s offense down the stretch and one of the few weapons that hasn’t missed a significant amount of time this year due to injuries.
Vele’s 2023 stat line comes in at 43 receptions for 593 yards and three touchdowns.
Bills played in 12 games in 2021 with eight starts at left guard as the Utes secured their first Pac-12 Title and Rose Bowl appearance.
In 2022 Bills really began to make an impact playing in all 14 of the Utes’ games with 12 starts at left guard as they brought home their second Pac-12 Title and Rose Bowl berth. That year, Bills earned Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention and helped Utah to an impressive 217.6 rushing yards per game average that ranked 11th in the FBS and was second in the Pac-12 Conference.
Bills’ final year with Utah football ended with 12 starts at left guard and a second Pac-12 All-Conference honorable mention.
— Michelle Bodkin (@BodkinKSLsports) February 13, 2024
The junior from Rialto, California joined the Utes in 2019 starting in 44 career games, and has shown versatility inside and outside the line in those starts. (19 starts were at right guard and 24 at right tackle.)
Laumea is a three-time all-Pac-12 offensive lineman and earned first-team nods in 2022.
The legacy athlete (son of Utah great, Luther Elliss) played in 35 career games for the Utes with 18 starts. Originally penciled in as a linebacker, Elliss switched to defensive end for the 2022 season and hasn’t looked back.
Unfortunately, an injury cut Elliss’ 2023 campaign short, but not before cementing himself as one of the best defensive ends in the country.
Elliss sits on 12 sacks for his 2023 season and ranks first in FBS in sacks per game (1.20) in his 10 total games played. Elliss also racked up 16 tackles for loss and ranks fourth in FBS in TFL per game at (1.6).
As a freshman in 2021, Bishop racked up 54 total tackles, three sacks, one fumble recovery and five passes defended on Utah’s way to a Pac-12 Title and Rose Bowl appearance.
Utah Safety Cole Bishop this season:
🔒 13 Times Targeted
🔒 4 Catches Allowed
🔒 2 Interceptions
🔒 4.8 Passer Rating Allowed pic.twitter.com/e0ml5HrVaQ
— PFF College (@PFF_College) October 5, 2023
In 2022 Bishop accounted for 83 total tackles, 1.5 sacks, one fumble recovery, one interception and three passes defended helping Utah to a second-straight Pac-12 Title and Rose Bowl appearance.
Bishop demonstrated his team-first mentality in 2023 often playing free safety rather than his more natural strong safety position due to the Utes being short on bodies with injuries. Even so, the talented defensive back chipped in 60 total tackles, three sacks, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, two interceptions, and three passes defended.
Due to injuries stacking up for the Utes, Vaki stepped in and played running back for Utah starting against the Cal Golden Bears in addition to playing safety for the defense.
Vaki’s second notable game playing two-ways came against the USC Trojans the following week where the versatile player was Utah’s leading receiver. He recorded 5 catches for 149 yards and two touchdowns to lift the Utes to victory.
Vaki really showed off his two-way ability one more time No. 5 Washington helping to keep the Utes in the game with big plays on both sides of the ball.
Defensively, Vaki racked up 51 tackles, 8.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks, one interception, and two pass breakups in 2023 while also carrying the ball 42 times on offense for 317 yards and two touchdowns. Additionally, Vaki caught the ball 11 times for 203 yards and three more scores.
Live coverage of the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine will begin on February 29 on NFL Network and NFL+.
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Chandler Holt is a co-host for the Jazz Notes podcast and a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerHoltKSL or on Threads @chandlerho1t.