Showstopper: Kyle Van Noy is BYU's disruptive playmaker, defensive touchdown scorer

Published: Friday, Oct. 18 2013 5:30 p.m. MDT

Brigham Young Cougars linebacker Kyle Van Noy (3) entourages the crowd during play as BYU and Texas play Saturday, Sept. 7, 2013 at LaVell Edwards stadium.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

A steady parade of National Football League scouts have been descending on BYU practices this season — primarily to see senior linebacker Kyle Van Noy and his disruptive playmaking ability.

“We’ve had more scouts here this year than we had last year when (2013 NFL first-round pick Ezekiel Ansah) was a prospect,” said Cougar linebackers coach Kelly Poppinga. “More people are aware of Kyle than they were of Ziggy at this time last year. Shoot, last week we had eight scouts here. They keep coming.”

When BYU visits Houston Saturday (1:30 p.m. MDT, ESPNEWS), Van Noy will display his talents at Reliant Stadium, home of the Houston Texans. The way things are going, Van Noy has many more games in NFL stadiums in his future.

“He could be a first-rounder in the NFL draft,” Poppinga said. “It all depends on his health, how he finishes the season, and how he does at the NFL combine. There are a lot of factors. You just never know.”

Certainly, Van Noy has lived up to the expectations and hype in his final season in a BYU uniform. This week, he was named to midseason All-America teams by CBSSports.com, SportsIllustrated.com, Yahoo Sports, Phil Steele and NFL.com. He even received two votes in CBSSports.com’s Heisman Straw Poll.

The 6-foot-3, 245-pounder from Reno, Nev., has 26 career sacks, which is the second-most nationally among active players. He needs eight more sacks to set the career record at BYU.

Last winter, Van Noy could have skipped his senior season for the NFL, but decided to return to BYU. Despite all he’s already accomplished, he wants to continue to get better and finish his college career with a flourish.

“I still have a lot of room for improvement and I’ve still got to focus on the little things. I can still do a lot more,” Van Noy said, adding that he is working on his techniques and “continuing the relentlessness, if that’s even a word. Just keep going and being a disruptive playmaker.”

One of the hallmarks of Van Noy’s career has been his uncanny ability to score points. He holds the BYU record for most defensive touchdowns — five — which includes a pick-six on the first play of BYU's game against Utah State on Oct. 4. Van Noy scored two fourth-quarter TDs against San Diego State in the Poinsettia Bowl last December.

“He’s had at least one touchdown in every single season,” Poppinga said. “It’s impressive.”

This year, Van Noy has filled up the stat box with 39 tackles, 23 solo tackles, 10 tackles for loss, four sacks, 10 quarterback hurries, one interception for a touchdown, and one safety. All he lacks is a forced fumble, fumble recovery and blocked kick.

“Kyle makes the most productive plays at the most critical times,” said coach Bronco Mendenhall.

“He knows how to get to the ball,” Poppinga said. “When he goes after the quarterback, every single time he swipes at the ball, trying to get it out. When he’s in position to make a play, he makes an interception. He’s just an instinctive guy. You can’t coach that. It’s something you hope you find those kinds of guys that are instinctive, then put them in the right scheme and get them to play very hard. Those guys end up being special guys, like Kyle is.”

In high school, Van Noy played wide receiver, and he said he plays defense with an offensive mindset.

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