Cougar Recruiting Wrap - 6/19/06 [REVISED]

TotalBlueSports.com is buzzing during a typically slow time in the recruiting year. The excitement comes courtesy of an early recruiting haul by BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall and his staff. With over seven months to go until signing day, the Cougars have 12 verbal commitments, which comprises over half of their class.

Half-way Done in June?

Most football recruiting classes are limited to a maximum of 25 athletes. This year the BYU Cougars will likely have scholarships for around 20 new athletes. When J.J. DiLuigi committed to BYU last week, he marked the 12th member of the 2007 recruiting class. This level of early success is not only unprecedented at BYU, but also at most programs in the county.

Jordan Pendleton – The ball started rolling for this recruiting class when Pendleton committed shortly after the 2006 LOI day. Pendleton is a 6-foot-2, 195-pound wide receiver/defensive back prospect from Bingham High School in West Jordan, Utah. Pendleton is a great athlete who projects well as a safety or even a linebacker prospect at the next level.

Austen Jorgensen – From North Sanpete High School in Mt. Pleasant, Utah, Jorgensen led the state is sacks a season ago. He is a 6-foot-3, 210-pound linebacker prospect who will fare well playing either linebacker spot.

>b>Scotty Ebert – Two days after Jorgensen committed to BYU, Ebert, a wide receiver/defensive back from Jordan High School followed suit. The 5-foot-11, 180-pound athlete looks good on both sides of the ball.

It is almost unheard of for a school to have multiple commits within a week of signing day. Most school do not even have a commitment when spring practice begins. The February success was definitely new territory for BYU, but it was only the beginning.

Marcus Mathews – Mathews is a 6-foot-5, 205-pound receiver prospect from Southridge High School in Beaverton, Oregon who committed in early March. Scout.com thought enough of Mathews to rate him as a four-star prospect. One look at his highlight film shows why. Mathews has all the attributes of a Y receiver, but could even play outside receiver in Anae's offense as he has legitimate 4.6 speed. Matthews is easily one of the top receiver prospects BYU has ever recruited let alone been able to get to commit.

Ryan Kessman – As if one top receiver commit was not enough, Mendenhall and company secured a commitment from Kessman, who is a 6-foot, 190-pound wide receiver from San Jacinto, California about one month lafter Mathews. Kessman's highlight footage is arguably the most impressive thing the TBS staff has ever put into their DVD players. Kessman and Matthews are easily two of the top receiver prospects ever to commit to BYU.

Manaaki Vaitai – Vaitai is a 6-foot-3, 295-pound offensive line recruit from Euless, Texas who committed following junior day. Vaitai looks to be one of the top offensive line prospects out of the state of Texas in 2007.

Steven Thomas – Thomas is a 5-foot-11, 180-pound safety prospect from Chino Hills, California. Thomas is a versatile athlete who manned a number of positions for the top Chino Hills High School program. Thomas excels at safety and will play there while at BYU. He will call upon his outstanding football instinct at that position.

After junior day TBS assumed that the commits would be a bit scarce until summer camps began in earnest. Once again, everyone outside of the BYU football office was in for a big surprise..

Jason Munns – In what has to be the highlight of recruiting season so far, Scout.com's top quarterback in the Northwest gave an unexpected verbal commitment to BYU coaches. The 6-foot-5, 226-pound Munns made the call during the first week of June. With Munns and Mathews, BYU has the top quarterback and receiver in the Northwest according to Scout.com.

David Angilau – Angilau is a 6-foot-2, 255-pound defensive tackle from Longmont, Colorado. Angilau is a sack machine in his footage and has a very explosive first step off the snap of the ball, which should serve him well while at BYU.

Levi Mack – Cougar coaches then received their second offensive line commit from the 6-foot-5, 315-pound Mack. Soon to be a sophomore at Eastern Arizona Junior College, Mack was a bit of a late bloomer who really hit his stride following his LDS mission. Many top BCS programs were courting Mack when he committed to the Cougars.

Magnum Mauga – Mack's commitment was soon followed by another JC prospect. Mauga comes to BYU from Grossmont College. Mauga is a 6—foot-1, 260 defensive end prospect. He dominated from the defensive side of the ball last season while playing several different positions.

J.J. DiLuigi – DiLuigi is a 5-foot-9, 188-pound running back from Canyon High School in Canyon Country, California. He set the field on fire last season as a junior by scoring a conference record 43 touchdowns to go along with over 2,400 all-purpose yards.

With 12 commits including three receivers, one running back, one linebacker, two defensive backs, two offensive linemen, two defensive linemen and one quarterback, the rest of BYU's recruiting class of 2007 comes into better focus.

Offensive Line – Most teams want to sign at least four offensive linemen a year to maintain depth in at a critical position. Look for BYU to sign three to five more offensive linemen to go a long with the two that already committed.

Candidates include three local prospects in Houston Reynolds, 6-foot-2, 295 pounds from Timpview High School in Provo, Utah, Mark Pratt 6-foot-2, 293 pounds from Tooele High School and Tanner Richins 6-foot-4, 280 pounds from Logan, Utah. Other offensive line prospects being include Devan Cunningham 6-foot-6, 310 pounds from Sacramento, California, and Famika Anae, also from Timpview High School. Look for other O-line recruits to become more prominent as the recruiting season winds down.

Defensive Linemen – The Cougars are already thin at this position and many more holes will need to be filled in 2007. With two top defensive linemen already committed, it is looking good early for BYU on this front.

Foremost among the defensive line recruits is Simi Fili, a 6-foot-4, 330-pound giant who would fit in perfectly as the man in the middle of the new 3-4 defensive system. William Tukuafu from Scottsdale Community College is also a talented D-line prospect. Fili and Tukuafu would make a very good defensive line class.

Other defensive linemen who would be a good fit at BYU include Star Lotulelei from Bingham High School and Eathyn Manumaleuna who moves from Alaska to Timpview High School this fall season. BYU should have a good chance with all of these prospects. Look for BYU to take five to seven athletes at this position.

Quarterbacks and Receivers – With Munns committed at quarterback and a deep supply of young talent at quarterback already in the program, BYU is unlikely to offer any other quarterback prospects. Conversely with three receiver prospects committed Cougar coaches are unlikely to offer or sign many more receivers this coming LOI day. If anything, Cougar coaches may elect to go after a receiver with burning speed to stretch the defense.

Tight Ends – The two tight ends hearing from BYU right now are tight ends are Braden Brown, 6-foot-6, 235 pounds, from Highland High School in Salt Lake City, Utah and Devin Mahina, 6-foot-6, 225 pounds, from Upland, California. Both are highly sought after. Both can also play defensive end at the next level.

Running BackHouston Cassita from Jordan High School, Roy Helu from Danville, California, Mike Williams from Phoenix, Arizona and Ray Parker Jr. from the junior college ranks have all heard from BYU. Do not look for the Cougars to take another running back now that DiLuigi committed, even though he may start out at the H (slot) receiver spot.

Linebackers – BYU should be signing two to three more linebackers with the 2007 class. The candidates include John Tyndall from Pacific Grove, California, Miles Burris from Granite Bay, California, Tyler Beck from Murrieta, California, Trevor Everett from nearby Lone Peak High School and Deylan Marrow from Riverside, California.

Cornerbacks – The mad scramble for able bodies at corner that seems to come with every recruiting class at BYU may not occur this year. Coach Mendenhall has skill and depth with his cover men for the next two seasons and he has skill at leas one-deep for the next four years. This season he only needs to address long-term depth. Two seems to be the magical number for corners this season, and one of those could end up at safety.

Brannon Brooks from Sacramento, California, Jonathan Ott from Glendale, Arizona and G Pittman from Rancho Cucamonga, California are three possible candidates.

The next few months should be interesting as we look for Coach Mendenhall and his staff. The class could be all but complete before BYU's season opener at Arizona. Of course there will be a few spots left open for hold outs and late bloomers, but the advertising catch phrase, "Buy now while supplies last" seems to be a perfect fit for the class of 2007

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