Recruiting Review: Class of 2001 moves on in its year-by-year analysis of recent BYU recruiting classes. The class of 2001 was smaller in number than other years, but the members of the class made huge contributions to the Cougar program.

Total in Class: 16

Breakdown: The final recruiting class for Lavell Edwards was a major step up from the class of 2000. This class of 2001 featured many signees who ended up in the NFL. The headliners included Quinn Christensen, Aaron Francisco, Ryan Keele, John Denney and Spencer Nead. Interestingly, Francisco was the only one of those five who did not transfer from Ricks College or Dixie State. BYU recruiting took a big hit when the Rexburg pipeline dried up with the termination of Ricks football. Another difference between the classes of 2000 and 2001is the number of players who stayed at BYU. The only player who transferred to another school was defensive lineman Victor Felipe (Oregon). The only disappointment was Bryant Atkinson, who left the team before making a contribution on the field.

Bryant Atkinson / LB / Provo, UT
Atkinson did not see much time at BYU, in 2004 he was expected to be the starting LB but was involved in a freak accident and ended up leaving the team.

Joshua Brandon / DB / College of the Canyons
Brandon redshirted in 2001 then played in 10 games in 2002 as a junior, recording 16 tackles. In 2003 played 11 games had 19 tackles and picked off USC's Matt Leinart in Los Angeles.

Travis Bright / OL / Queen Creek, AZ
Bright returned from his mission in 2004 and redshirted. He had a season ending injury during Spring Practice in 2005. At the time of his injury, Bright was one of the top lineman on the team. He could be a starter on the O-line this year.

Quinn Christensen / OL / Dixie JC
Christensen had a solid career at BYU starting both of his seasons at offensive guard. He played in all 26 games at BYU.

Victor Filipe / DL / Salt Lake City, UT
Filipe never played at BYU, transferred to Oregon.

Aaron Francisco, a.k.a. "Hawaiian Punch" / DB / Laie, HI
Francisco was a four-year starter at safety for BYU. He played in 12 games his freshman season and had 27 tackles. In 2002, he had 99 tackles, in 2003 he had 116. During his senior season, Francisco had 88 tackles, giving him over 300 in his career. Francisco was an immediate contributor and a game in and game out "impact player" who will always be known for his hard-hitting style. He now plays in the NFL for the Arizona Cardinals.

Dustin Gabriel / RB / Austin, TX
Gabriel switched to Safety when he came back from his mission in 2004. He played in nine games last season. He split time with David Tafuna at the cougarback spot. Gabriel is the projected as a starter next season.

Saia Hafoka / WR / Kahuku, HI
Hafoka came back from his mission in 2004 and redshirted. He did not see much time in 2005, but he could be a contributor in 2006 after taking a lot of reps in spring ball.

O'Neil Howell / DB / West Palm Beach, FL
Howell was not on the field much in his career at BYU. He saw action in 20 games in four years at BYU.

Breyon Jones / WR / Round Rock, TX
Jones saw little time in his first three years at BYU. He only caught 14 passes in that period. Jones was suspended for the 2004 season after an off-field incident, but he came back for the 2005 season and was a pleasant surprise as a kick returner position.

Bryce Mahuika / WR / Vancouver, WA
Mahuika came back from his mission and took over punt return duties in 2004. He had a return average of 7.4 yards and 473 all-purpose yards. Mahuika only saw action in one game last season due to a shoulder injury.

Jeff Rhea / OL / South Jordan
Rhea redshirted in 2001 then went on mission. He saw a little time as a deep snapper until Leuttgerodt took over. He was expected to be a center, but with the emergence of Sete Aulai and the transfer of Tom Sorensen, Rhea will look for playing time at guard.

David Tafuna / WR / Mesa, AZ
Tafuna came back from mission last season and converted to safety. He played in seven games in 2004. Tafuna saw time in all 12 games in 2005 and recorded 19 tackles at the cougarback position.

Ryan Keele / OL / Ricks JC
Keele started on the offensive line during both of his seasons at BYU. He was stellar at the OT position in his 23 games as a Cougar.

John Denney / DL / Ricks JC
Denney had a stellar career at BYU. Denney was the starter at DE in the 2003 and parts of the 2004 season. Denney recorded 93 tackles in his career at BYU. He signed as a long snapper with the Miami Dolphins out of BYU

Spencer Nead / TE / Ricks JC
Nead thrived in BYU's offense in the 2001 season along with fellow tight end Doug Jolley. Nead had 226 yards receiving along with five TDs. In 2002, his production has 449 yards and one TD.

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