BYU Recruiting Report

Recruiting season is just a few months old but BYU coaches have already been hard at work, and it shows. Brandon Gurney summarizes the early Cougar recruiting activity and gives TBS take on where things are going from here.

If the past couple of months have felt like December and January in terms of the pace of recruiting news to you, then you are not alone. Never since we have started covering recruiting here in earnest at TBS has there been so much going on along the recruiting front as there has been this summer.

During this time BYU has received an astounding number of early verbal commitments. As fall camp creeps up to take the stage, BYU heads into two-a-days with as many as 11 verbal commits. Recruiting is at least half over when using the number of offerable scholarships as a measure.

Here's a rundown of where BYU is at in the recruiting game from a position standpoint:

Quarterback:

Coach Mendenhall nabbed his #1 priority at the quarterback position early when James Lark, the record-setting quarterback from St. George, Utah, committed near the end of summer camp. Lark was very much the proverbial must-get and BYU securing his commitment early speaks volumes regarding the effectiveness Mendenhall, Coach Doman and the others on the recruiting front.

It is believed that BYU is now focusing on acquiring the services of one additional quarterback who will play for four straight seasons. Chandler Clemons from the Sacramento area is prominent on this list along with Greg McElroy and Dexter Davidson. Of those three Clemons and McElroy have solid scholarship offers. While McElroy is a long-shot, BYU feels they have a legitimate chance with Clemons and will be recruiting him hard up until LOI day.

Other quarterbacks who remain in the mix are Tyler Lyon and Scott Allen.

Running back:

It should be no secret that the prize the BYU coaching staff is trying land at this position, and maybe in the whole class, is Stanley Havili from Salt Lake City, Utah. Anyone who has viewed Havili's highlight films can easily understand why.

Havili was a no-show for BYU's camp having been dinged up in previous workouts, but I personally feel that BYU is in and will be in the hunt for Havili until the bitter end. He has a lot of offers already and should have many more to come, but we feel that a winning season by BYU will pull Havili to Provo.

Not much else beyond Havili exists prominently at this point at the running back position. It's a position where BYU is well stocked currently with underclassmen, but many more are sure to pop up as the recruiting season intensifies.

Wide receiver:

Like the quarterback position, BYU received a huge early commit from the McKay Jacobsen, one of the top receiver prospects coming out of the entire state of Texas. Jacobsen already held offers from many Big XII schools despite being hurt for most of his junior year. Jacobsen may prove to be the top recruit of the 2006 class.

Rhen Brown is another commitment that BYU received after its summer camp. He could end up playing wide receiver although we project him more as a defensive back. Brown has legitimate 4.4 speed coupled with above average lateral movement which will make him viable on either offense or defense.

James Dockery is a receiver from Palm Desert, California who reminds us a lot of Michael Reed. Dockery only attended BYU's summer camp for one day but it was enough to get him an offer. BYU has a real chance with this non-LDS athlete having given him early attention and his biggest offer to date.

Offensive line:

This is a well-stocked position with promising high school athletes. BYU is the likely destination for Ryan Freeman from Orem High School and Braden Hansen from Alta High School. Both are expected to sign a letter of intent with BYU come February.

A lot of effort will be directed toward Mau Nomani, the 6'6", 280-pound LDS lineman from Oregon who has a bevy of offers already. Seeing that there are not a lot of mentionable LDS prospects along the offensive line at this time, BYU will likely be calling Nomani a lot during the coming months. Braden Hansen, Freeman and Nomani would constitute an outstanding OL class if BYU were to sign all three.

Defensive Line:

With seven defensive linemen set to graduate after this season, there is an obvious need for an influx of talent in the defensive trenches. It is a good time to be a defensive line prospect this coming year if you harbor desires to play for BYU as the Cougars are likely to sign at least four defensive linemen in the 2006 class.

Zeke Wily from Orem High by way of Samoa has verbally committed. Cougar fans do not appreciate how fortunate the Cougars are to get Wily. He may prove to be one of the gems of the class. The two huge targets for the coaching staff this recruiting season are a couple of California linemen, Sione Fua and Matangi Tonga. As a pair these prospects must be BYU's top recruiting priority.

We like BYU's chances a lot in obtaining the services of these two outstanding athletes. Although Tonga has made it known early how much he'd like to play for USC, we feel that by stocking up on talent early at the defensive end position USC will push him BYU's way. Both Fua and Tonga have Pac-10 offers already, but if BYU wins this coming season, then they should be think in the hunt for the both of them.

Perhaps a notch below Tonga and Fua are players such as Joseph Faifili from Granger High Schoo by way of Kahuku High, Neil A'asa from Michigan, Joseph Folau from Northern California, Scott Milligan from Texas and Wes Sauvao from Louisiana. Other defensive linemen may prop up during the coming high school football year, but those are the main targets at this point.

Because of the urgency associated with filling holes at the DL position, look for BYU to sign at least one junior college D-lineman.

Linebackers:

BYU secured a verbal commitment from Bountiful High School's Nate Moncur, leaving coaches with a rich pool of capable prospect to fill the few remaining spots at the position. Almost all of the following attended BYU's camp where we were able to get an up-close look at them:

Gerald Munns - Probably the top linebacker realistically on BYU's radar at this point. Plays for a top program in the Arizona and likes BYU a lot, but did not attend summer camp in Provo.

Austin Nielson - Puts up great numbers at every camp he attends, but needs work on his overall agility and lateral movement if he is to receive an offer from BYU this coming season.

Kyle Maddux - Plays for a top program in California and put up similar workout numbers to those of Nielson at BYU's camp, but looks to have better agility and lateral movement.

Trevor Reilly - Looks great on tape and was the leading tackler for one of the top programs in California from a year ago, but did not work out well at BYU's camp. Reilly needs some serious work in regards to building his physique. He definitely falls into the wait and see category.

Zac Pauga - Colorado prospect who attended BYU's camp and looked as good as anyone else in the group.

Ricky Leuluai - Copper Hills High School who looked great during camp and will be watched closely at nearby Copper Hills high school this coming year.

Defensive backs:

This is a position that has traditionally been hard to fill at BYU, but the coaching staff is well ahead of the game already having nabbed four early commits at the defensive back spot in Mike Hague from Brighton High School, Robbie Buckner from Arkansas, Rhen Brown and Michael Moore from Southern California.

The focus now will likely shift to signing at least one junior college cornerback. The early looks have been given the way of the College of the Canyons where Justin Tyron, Michael Carr and others are hearing from the BYU coaching staff. Look for many other names to pop up throughout the year as most of the JC talent is yet to be explored at this point.

Conclusion

Recruiting is a difficult process to gauge at times as the interest and prospects are constantly changing. This is the best outline we have available at this time heading into the football season. Many names currently known will ebb and flow throughout the year and many other names will prop up undoubtedly. We will keep you up to date as much as possible throughout.


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