JC Recruit Candidates for BYU

Six weeks into the football season, it's time to look at potential junior college prospects BYU might recruit to fill voids over the next 2-3 years with the graduation of key senior players.

Key departing players include John Denney, Brady Poppinga, Brandon Heaney, Jon Burbidge, Shaun Nua, Moa Peaua, Jason Kukahiko, Rod Wilkerson, Aaron Francisco and Scott Young, to name a few.

With these departures and because of a lack of quality depth at certain positions, BYU has specific needs to fill and will likely sign JC players at cornerback, defensive end, running back, safety and offensive line positions.

Some may argue the Cougars are loaded with future depth for the offensive line. I disagree with this assumption because most linemen returning from LDS missions need a year to regain the athleticism in their legs and strength in their upper bodies.

Meanwhile, there is no doubt that certain players will be expected to step up next year and help fill the depth void. However, most of these players lack significant Div. 1 game experience. They include B.J. Mathis, David Tafuna, Quinn Gooch, Greg Lovely, Gary Lovely, Ibrahim Rashada, Travis Bright, Junior Kato, Ray Hudson, Billy Skinner, Karland Bennett and Dustin Gabriel, to name a few.

Others returning from missions include Bryan Kehl, Aaron Singh, Andrew George and others. Unless they are as well conditioned as running back/kick returner Bryce Mahuika, it may be another year before they make significant contributions for the Y.

With this in mind, here's a look at some JC player candidates that BYU coaches may already be pursuing. Coaches cannot comment on specific players and who they are might be pursuing, so this represents our best educated guess.

We do not know who, among these prospects, are interested in BYU or whether they will qualify academically. Most of the JC players listed are primarily from California and Arizona because of geographic proximity based on the Cougars' recruiting track record in the west. Fortunately for BYU, the JC ranks are loaded with talent in the running back, cornerback, defensive end, safety and offensive line positions.

OFFENSIVE LINE CANDIDATES

Kenny Shane, 6-7, 308 pounds, Pima JC (Ariz.). Selected to the JC Grid-Wire preseason All-America Team (3rd Team). Cougar defensive back David Gooch also attended Pima JC in Tucson.

Reid Jacobs, 6-5, 295 pounds, Eastern Arizona JC. Jacobs was selected to the NJCAA preseason All America Team (2nd Team). BYU defensive end Shaun Nua played at Eastern Arizona.

Patric Kapuniai, 6-4, 320 pounds, Grossmont JC (Calif.). Kapuniai was selected to the JC Grid Wire preseason All America Team (Honorable Mention). PATRIC KAPUNIAI

Kalavi Blanchard, 6-4, 340 pounds, Fresno City College (Calif.). Blanchard was also selected to the JC Grid Wire preseason All American Team (Honorable Mention).

Abel Malae, 6-5, 295 pounds, City College of San Francisco. Any player that starts for CCSF (perennial national Top 5 JC team) is a player to watch.

RUNNING BACK CANDIDATES

Joe Harris, 6-0, 200 pounds, Los Angeles Harbor College. In three games, he has rushed for 747 yards with an average of 8.2 yards per carry.

Jason Peters, 6-3, 215 pounds, Butte College (Calif.). A preseason JC All-American selection, he missed the team's first two games due to injury, but in his first game tallied 109 yards on 9 carries (average of 12-plus yards per carry).

Austin Collins, 5-10, 185 pounds, Mesa Community College (Ariz.). Rushed for 220 yards and three touchdowns against 6th-ranked Dixie State College in St. George, Utah.

Anthony Stewart from Bakersfield JC (Calif.), ran for over 200 yards in each of Bakersfield's first two games (averaging 8.0 yards per carry).

Nate Wright, 5-10, 180 pounds, Fresno City College (Calif.). Selected JC Grid-Wire preseason All-American (2nd team). In Fresno's last game against Shasta JC, Wright ran for 117 yards on 12 carries for two touchdowns plus two receptions for 79 yards and another touchdown.

Landon Bues, 5-9, 200 pounds, Snow College (Utah). In last game, ran for 157 yards and two touchdowns and was selected WSFL League Offensive Player of the Week.

Loran Jensen, 5-11, 210 pounds, Cabrillo JC (Calif.). Gained 283 yards and scored three touchdowns in a game with Laney JC several weeks ago.

Kelvin Horne, 6-2, 230 pound fullback, East Central JC (Miss.). An LDS African American player, he was selected as JC preseason All-American (honorable mention). He also played linebacker as a freshman.

Jeremiah White, 6-1, 210 pounds, Mesa Community College (Ariz.). Selected as JC preseason All-American (honorable mention).

CORNERBACK CANDIDATES

John Guice, 5-9, 180 pounds with 4.35/40 speed; Grossmont JC (Calif.). BYU has set up a serious recruiting pipeline with Grossmont with current Cougars Todd Watkins, Joe Griffinand former player Rey Brathwaite. Grossmont has been ranked among the Top 5 JC programs nationally the last three years. Guice is tearing it up this year. So far in four games, he has six interceptions for the year and is considered, along with Rasheed Prescott of Saddleback JC, to be one of the best two ‘lock-down' corners in California JC football. BYU is recruiting Guice and Watkins and Griffin are probably trying to woo their former teammate to the Y.

Patrick Nicks, 5-10, 188 pounds with 4.37/.40 speed, Eastern Arizona JC. He was MVP of the Arizona JC Combine Camp. BYU is recruiting Nicks who is evidently a mid-year academic qualifier. Arizona and BYU are Nicks' current top choices.

Tim McCulloch, 6-1, 185 pounds, Cerritos JC (Calif.) McCulloch was selected 1st Team JC Gridwire preseason All American and comes from the same school as Cougar defensive lineman Vince Feula. Was a California high school state champion in the 110 and 300 meter hurdles. TIM McCULLOCH

Christian Wise, 6-1, 170 pounds with 4.34/40 speed, Compton JC (Calif.). Also a sprinter and long jumper, he's an exceptional athlete. He is considered by JC experts to be one of the top 5 JC cornerbacks in the country. Wise already has offers from Oklahoma State, San Diego State, Idaho, Syracuse and Washington State.

Rasheed Prescott, 5-9, 180 pounds, Saddleback JC (Calif.). Selected to the 2nd Team JC Grid-Wire preseason All America team. Kevin Lustgarten, publisher of JCFootball.com, describes Prescott as "one who can fly and stick to receivers like glue."

Roshaun Marshall, 5-10, 190 pounds, College of the Canyons (Calif.). Cougars Jason Beck, Nick Longshore and Josh Brandon were also recruited from here. COC is currently ranked No. 2 in JC ranks nationally and is picked to win the California JC Championship this season. Marshall is described by Southern California JC coaches as a combination of John Guice and Rasheed Prescott.

Marcus Williams, 6-3, 190 pounds, City College of San Francisco. National JC champs three of the last five years. Williams is CCSF's No. 1 corner this year.

Melvin Ellis, 6-0, 180, Itawamba JC (Miss.). A former teammate of Cougar receiver Michael Morris. Ellis was selected JC preseason All-American (honorable mention).

Darren Dixon, 5-10, 188 pounds with 4.5/40 speed, Grossmont JC. Plays opposite Guice. Runs an extremely impressive 3.9 shuttle (one of the keys for CB athleticism/quickness). He also posted a 37.5 vertical. He is a pure athlete. Nixon was also chosen to the All Southern California JC Combine Team.

Dewayne Patterson, 6-2, 195 pounds, Chaffey JC (Calif.). In his last game, he returned a fumble for a touchdown and returned an interception for a 33-yard touchdown. The word is he's a player.

Steven Akarim from El Camino JC (Calif.). He had two interceptions, five tackles and two pass deflections in his last game against Mt. San Antonio. He is one to watch.

Waymon Ford, 5-11, 165 pounds with 4.3/40 speed, Georgia Military College. Was selected to the JC All American preseason Team (honorable mention). I watched Ford play twice last season as a freshman cornerback starter. He already has more than six scholarship offers, mostly from SEC schools. Clemson and N.C. State are his current favorites. WAYMON FORD

DEFENSIVE ENDS CANDIDATES

Soli Lefiti, 6-5, 255 pounds, Palomar JC (Calif.). Selected to the JC Grid-Wire preseason All American Team (2nd team). In Lefiti's last game against Fullerton JC, he had 12 tackles and two tackles for a loss.

Corey Mace, 6-3, 270 pounds, Palomar JC (Calif.), is bookend DE teammate of Lefiti. Palomar has a very stellar defense, but struggles on offense. Lefiti and Mace's contributions on defense have in large part kept Palomar competitive this year. Mace had 12 tackles (eight solo), one tackle for a loss in his last game against Saddleback JC.

Fili Tafisi, 6-2, 270 pounds, Mt. San Antonio JC (Calif.). Selected to 1st Team JC Grid-Wire preseason All American Team. Kevin Lustgarten described Tafisi's game: "Tafisi has great pursuit and seldom misses a tackle." Tafisi is being heavily recruited. In his last game against El Camino JC, he had three quarterback sacks, four hurries and five tackles.

Chris Decker, 6-3, 265 pounds, Mt. San Jacinto JC (Calif.). Lustgarten described Decker this way: "Decker is a 22-year-old ex-Marine who saw action in Iraq and Afghanistan. In Decker's last game against Grossmont, he had three quarterback sacks and was all over the place." Decker plays middle linebacker right now, but he is projected as a future defensive end. Sound like a Brady Poppinga clone?

Andrew Jilles, 6-4, 245, Grossmont JC (Calif.). Jilles is reportedly a ‘player' that was also selected to the JC Grid-Wire preseason All America Team (honorable mention).

Adley Vitoli, 6-4, 250 pounds, Eastern Arizona JC. Vitoli was also selected to the JC Grid-Wire preseason All-American Team (honorable mention).

Dennis Sogelau, 6-8, 260 pounds, City College of San Francisco. He is reportedly a ‘player to watch' this year. Any player that starts on the CCSF team is likely a Div. 1-caliber candidate.

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