BYU Football Center James Empey declares NFL draft for 2022

PROVO, Utah – The BYU soccer offensive line anchor in James Empey moves on.

Empey, a COVID-19 junior who graduated from BYU with a degree in finance, is targeting the 2022 NFL Draft. The 6-foot-4,330-pound center sent a thank you letter to the BYU football program announcing its intentions to move on.

“I would like to thank all coaches, past and present, the football staff, and especially my teammates, for believing in me and for making me do my best in all aspects of life. You have not only influenced my life in football.

“I would also like to thank my wonderful wife and family who have supported me in everything.

“After much thought, prayer and discussion, I am pleased to register for the 2022 NFL draft. I am hopeful for the future and will always treasure my time at BYU. Go whores! “

A graduate of American Fork High School, Empey originally signed with Utah after graduating from high school. However, after serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Portugal, Empey switched to BYU to be trained by his father, Mike Empey, who was the offensive line trainer in 2017.

Empey wore a red shirt in 2017, but then had the big task of filling the shoes Tejan Koroma left behind. Empey was an instant center star for BYU, earning freshman All-American recognition in its first full playing season.

Empey began the first 28 games he played during his BYU career until he was out due to injury in the 2020 season. Empey started in 41 BYU games throughout his career, in which he was coached by four different offensive line coaches.

Empey’s offensive line coach for the 2021 season, Darrell Funk, wrote to Empey on Twitter: “We wish you all the best, James! It has been a pleasure to coach you this year. You have given your heart and soul to this program for a long time and we all appreciate it! I look forward to accompanying you on the next step in your career. Much luck!”

Empey struggled with injuries in the 2020 and 2021 seasons. He made the last appearance of his BYU career with a win in Washington State, where he suffered a lower body injury that kept him out of Provo for the last six games of his senior year.

Empey was BYU team captain in the 2020 and 2021 seasons. If he’s healthy, he’s one of the top centers to leave BYU in the 21st century.

In addition to his success on the field, Empey was recognized for his off-field efforts while at BYU. Empey was a semi-finalist in the Wuerffel Trophy in 2021. The Wuerffel Trophy is the premier charitable award in college football. Empey was part of the More 2 Life Foundation’s trips to Harlem, New York to positively influence the youth of the Harlem Jets.

Mitch Harper is BYU Insider for and moderator of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday 12pm – 3pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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