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Winslow Townson, AP
New England Patriots outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy during an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. Sunday, Oct. 22, 2017. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)

Former BYU star Kyle Van Noy joined the New England Patriots a year ago after a midseason trade with the Detroit Lions.

Van Noy ended up playing a key role for the Patriots and helped New England win a Super Bowl championship.

That trade is making the Patriots look even smarter this season. Coach Bill Belichick praised Van Noy, who has started all eight games for the Pats. The linebacker has recorded 55 tackles, 3.5 sacks and one pass breakup and has embraced being a leader on the field.

"He's shown a lot of versatility, leadership, done a great job as a signal caller with the defense, so he's been a real valuable player for us in a multiple number of roles," Belichick told NESN. "He's been excellent."

Van Noy has been taking on many of the responsibilities vacated by Dont'a Hightower, who suffered a season-ending injury.

Climbing out of the Bottom 10

Thanks to a victory over San Jose State over the weekend, BYU was finally bumped out of ESPN's dubious "Bottom 10" rankings.

The Cougars were No. 2 last week before knocking off No. 3 San Jose State, 41-20. SJSU held steady this week at No. 3 while BYU escaped the list. Still, the Cougars are on the Waiting List.

"Last weekend the Spartans were mauled by a pack of Cougars, losing the first leg of the Double Pillow Fight of the Year III," wrote ESPN's Ryan McGee. "It was either the latest chapter from Stephen King's "Pet Sematary," someone from San Jose trying to re-enact Ricky Bobby's race car driver training, or it was simply a loss at BYU. Either way, I'm betting a Crystal Gayle T-shirt got ruined."

Finally …

According to Fansided, BYU coach Kalani Sitake was a winner on this week's "Hot Seat Watch."