Former BYU defensive tackle Handsome Tanielu, left, and offensive guard Tuni Kanuch signed with the Salt Lake City franchise in the Alliance of American Football, the league announced Friday, Aug. 17, 2018.
Deseret News file photos

A pair of former BYU players signed with the Salt Lake City franchise in the Alliance of American Football, which is set to kick off its inaugural season in February 2019.

Former Cougar offensive guard Tuni Kanuch and defensive tackle Handsome Tanielu were part of 105 player signings the league announced Friday. The Salt Lake City AAF team will play at Utah’s Rice-Eccles Stadium and be coached by Dennis Erickson.

Kanuch, who prepped at Bingham High, started 29 of his 50 career games at BYU, wrapping up his college career last season. He started every game at right guard for the Cougars in 2017.

Tanielu joined the BYU program in 2016 as a JC transfer from Snow College. In two years, he had 41 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, a fumble recovery, a quarterback hurry and a pass breakup for the Cougars from his defensive tackle position.

Kanuch and Tanielu were two of 11 players the AAF announced as Salt Lake City signees Friday. The others included:

  • Jake Bennett, C, Colorado State
  • LaVonte Hights, G, Shepherd
  • Lord Hyemang, DT, Columbia
  • Quinn McQueary, QB, Montana Tech
  • Alfonso Onunwor, WR, Idaho
  • Austin Rehkof, P, Idaho
  • Colton Taylor, LS, Virginia Tech*
  • Keon Willis, DB, Ohio State
  • Matt Wogan, K, Oregon

* Acquired in trade from Atlanta AAF team for TE Steve Donatell

Other players that have signed with the Salt Lake City AAF team include:

  • Jomez Applewhite, DB, Southern Mississippi
  • Ashton Grant, WR, Assumption
  • Bryan Jones, LB, Saginaw Valley State
  • Trey Parker, DT, Washburn
  • George Roberts, T, Delta State
  • Ty Schwab, LB, Boston College
  • Andrew Spencer, DB, Winona State

Earlier this week, the Alliance of American Football announced it will hold a league-wide training camp in San Antonio, beginning Jan. 4, according to My San Antonio.

The first games for the league are set to be played Feb. 9. The eight franchises in the AAF include Salt Lake City, Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis, Orlando, Phoenix, San Antonio and San Diego.