Breaking Down the Class of 2007 – Part I

Twenty-four future Cougars signed their letters of intent with BYU earlier today. All 24 have been expected to appear on BYU's signing list for some time now giving G-man and the rest of the TBS staff ample opportunity to evaluate each recruit. Here is an inside look at 12 of the 24 Cougar signees.

Famika Anae. 6-6, 275, OL, Provo, Utah

Anae is very much a project recruit and fully described himself as such in my interviews with him. Anae hasn't been able to do much on the football field to this point of his development due to a rash of injuries that kept him off of the football field during his junior year. Anae also had a growth spurt during that time that took him from being a slot receiver to an offensive tackle in just over a year.

What Anae does have is a huge upside given his stature and good genes. His father Robert Anae was one of the better offensive linemen to ever pass through the Cougar program. Anae will not be a recruit who will make an immediate impact, but when he gets off his mission, don't be surprised if he develops into a dominant offensive tackle.

Cougar Comparison: David Oswald

Like Oswald, Anae will come into the program without much experience at the offensive tackle position. Oswald has developed into a solid contributor on the offensive line after playing most of his high school career at tight end before walking on and developing into a solid right tackle. Anae is very much like Oswald in regards to athleticism and in regards to the course of development he's currently on.

David Angilau, 6-2, 255, DL, Longmont, Colorado

Angilau fits the mold perfectly in regards to what Bronco Mendenhall and Steve Kaufusi are looking for to front the new 3-4 system which saw a smashing debut in 2006. He comes to BYU having garnering multiple all-state honors playing 3-A ball in Colorado.

Cougar Comparison: Ian Dulan

Angilau reminds us of Dulan when viewing his high school footage. Like Dulan he's a guy that doesn't take plays off and continues his drive off the snap until the whistle blows. He has a very good first step and a solid, low level of gravity that will help him tremendously playing defensive end in the 3-4 system.

Tyler Beck, 6-1, 205, LB, Murrieta, California

Beck was courted by some big name schools out of high school and it's easy to see why when viewing his footage. Beck played both sides of the ball, but focused on the defensive side where he recorded 13 sacks and over 91 total tackles during his senior season garnering himself Southwestern League defensive MVP.

Cougar Comparison: Colby Bockwoldt

Beck's biggest attribute is his speed, which makes him much like Bockwodlt. He's very good sideline to sideline with great closing speed on the ball. Like Bockwoldt, Beck is closer to a safety than a stout middle linebacker, which will help him a lot in pass coverage and pursuing from sideline to sideline. Beck should develop into a very productive outside linebacker in the years to come.

Brannon Brooks, 5-10, 175, DB, Elk Grove, California

Brooks is one of the better cornerbacks BYU has ever signed out of high school. Brooks excelled on both sides of the ball averaging close to nine yards per carry on the offensive side while picking off 4 passes on the defensive side. Brooks has decent size for a corner and could be someone who will be cracking the two-deep roster sooner rather than later.

Cougar Comparison: Omar Morgan

Brooks has similar size and speed to the former Cougar corner, who was a significant contributor to the 1996 and 1997 defenses, which were some of the better defensive units BYU has ever had. Brooks is very athletic and has the speed to play the demanding field corner position in the 3-4 defense.

Braden Brown, 6-6, 230, TE/DE, Salt Lake City, Utah

Brown signs with BYU as a great athlete who could easily play either tight end or defensive end although he's intent on making his mark at the tight end position. Brown is very fluid in his movement for an athlete of his size with an impressive vertical leap and good speed. He's the type of athlete that looks like he's been in a Division I football program for at least two years and not like a graduating senior out of high school.

Cougar Comparison: Gabriel Reid

Brown is like Reid in his movement as a receiving tight end. Reid currently cashes a paycheck from the Chicago Bears, so if Brown can develop into that type of player, he'll do extremely well. The stark difference would be Brown having nearly two inches on Reid coming out of high school.

J.J. DiLuigi, 5-9, 188, RB, Canyon Country, California

Many have pegged DiLuigi as the member of this recruiting class most likely to contribute immediately. DiLuigi was merely the best player on the California state champion. He was named player of the year and received consensus first-team all-state honors. There is very good reason to assume that DiLuigi will be making a strong impact on the football field shortly after he arrives on BYU's campus.

Cougar Comparison: Matt Bellini

Similar size and skills to the former Cougar running back who excelled at catching the ball out of the backfield. Catching the ball is one of DiLuigi's strength as he could easily play and excel at either running back or at slot receiver for offensive coordinator Robert Anae. DiLuigi has very good speed and is a master of making others miss in the open field.

Scotty Ebert, 6-0, 185, WR/DB, Sandy, Utah

Ebert was a very early commit who finished up with a solid season for Jordan High Hchool. He performed well during BYU camps and during his career at Jordan. Ebert played mostly receiver while at Jordan, but could very well end up competing for a spot at cornerback while at BYU.

Cougar Comparison: Margin Hooks

Ebert is a receiver like Hooks in that he doesn't have blazing speed, but has good hands, runs solid patterns, and knows how to get open. If he can match what Hooks did while at BYU, then he'll do very well.

Kaneakua Friel, 6-4, 220, Athlete, Honolulu, Hawaii

Friel basically got his offer from BYU solely on his impressive camp performance. He opened a lot of eyes by running a 4.6 forty and putting up an impressive vertical leap. Friel is a project at this point because he played multiple positions during his high school years. He could develop into either a tight end or linebacker. What he doesn't have in experience is made up for in pure, raw athleticism that Cougar coaches are confident they can mold into a very successful college athlete.

Cougar Comparison: Itula Mili

Like Mili, Friel's athleticism is matched by few recruits of his size. As Cougar fans are well aware, Mili developed into one of the better Cougar tight ends in its history while going on to a pro career. Friel may very well end up playing linebacker, where his athleticism puts him in a class with Bryan Kehl.

Austen Jorgensen, 6-3, 210, LB, Mt. Pleasant, Utah

Jorgensen's senior year was cut short due to injury, but he showed enough during his junior year to earn himself one of the early offers last season. Jorgensen is a weight-room stud who can lift as much as anyone his size. He will most likely end up playing the middle and put on a lot more weight by the time he sees the football field at BYU.

Cougar Comparison: Cameron Jensen

Jorgensen is a good leader who is similar to Jensen in regards to what type of athleticism he brings to the field. Of course comparing any prospect to Jensen is high praise, and if Jorgensen sees close to the production Jensen had while at BYU, he'll do very well. Jorgensen has similar work ethic and should develop into a solid contributor in the middle of the 3-4 defense.

Ryan Kessman, 6-0, 220 WR, San Jacinto, California

Kessman had one of the more impressive highlight films we've seen since we started doing this five years ago. Kessman constantly wowed us with what he was able to do in the open field. He has very good movement coupled with very good strength. He is also very versatile playing a lot of different positions while at high school.

Cougar Comparison: K.O. Kealalui

He compares with Kealalui in his strength from the receiver position. Kealalui was the top receiver on the 1996 team who caught the winning pass against Kansas State in the Cotton Bowl that year. Kessman won't be brought down easily in the open field whether it's due to juking or running over opponents.

Aveni Leung-Wai, 6-1, 220, Grossmont College

Leung-Wai is a unique junior college recruit because he'll be serving a mission before enrolling and playing at BYU. Leung-Wai was the leading tackler and defensive MVP for Grossmont in 3 of the 6 games he played. His season was cut short due to injury, but when he was healthy, he proved to be a very good D-I prospect.

Cougar Comparison: Brad Martin

Leung-Wai is much like Martin in how he plays on the field. He's always around the ball and has good speed from sideline to sideline. He'll make his mark at playing outside linebacker while at BYU.

Star Lotulelei 6-3, 245, South Jordan, Utah

Lotulelei was arguably the top lineman coming out of the state this year. He was invited to the East-West All-Star game where he recorded two sacks. Lotulelei is quick off the edge and is very strong for his size which will make him a good fit in a three-man front that relies heavily on leverage and taking up blockers. Teams consistently ran away from Lotulelei.

Cougar Comparison: Shawn Nua

Nua was one of the most athletic defensive ends ever to pass through BYU's program and Lotulelei has very similar skills to Nua who went on to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Lotulelei does everything well from run support to rushing the quarterback.


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