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A team can never have too many talented offensive linemen, BYU reiterated Monday with the announcement that returned missionary James Empey and Notre Dame reserve OL Tristen Hoge have joined the BYU football program.
Both were highly recruited prospects out of high school, Empey from nearby American Fork and Hoge at Highland High in Pocatello, Idaho. Empey is the son of BYU OL coach Mike Empey and Hoge is the cousin of BYU QB Beau Hoge and nephew of ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge.
According to a BYU spokesperson, Empey is immediately eligible to play, despite having signed with Utah in February of 2015. He recently returned from a church mission to Portugal.
The 6-4, 270-pound freshmen was the No. 14-ranked offensive guard in the 2015 class, according to 247Sports. He also played defense for AF, and had 62 tackles and 3.5 sacks his senior season.
Hoge did not play for the Irish in 2015, and saw action in six games in 2016. He will likely have to sit out the 2017 season, per NCAA transfer rules, although various recruiting websites have reported that he might appeal. On what basis that appeal could be filed was not specified.
Hoge was the 2015 Scout Team Player of the Year at Notre Dame. He was a four-star prospect out of high school and a Parade All-American.
Hoge was the Idaho Gatorade Player of the Year in both 2013 and 2014 and helped Highland High the same school that produced Taysom Hill to the 2014 state championship in Idaho.