Breaking Down the Class of 2007 - Part II

Outside of the BYU athletic department there are few people who have seen more film and live performances of BYU's new recruiting class than the G-man. Add to that the hours he spent interviewing the newest Cougars, and TBS's Managing Editor is about as good an authority as there is on the class of 2007.

Levi Mack, 6-5, 315, OL, Eastern Arizona junior college

Mack like Anae is a late developer who really found his stride as an offensive lineman following his mission. Mack was as dominant as any JUCO offensive lineman in the country this past year. He has a big upside with just two seasons playing offensive line on. Mack allowed zero sacks during his final year at Eastern Arizona.

Cougar Comparison: Ben Archibald

Mack has similar size and athleticism to Archibald, who was one of the better OLs to pass through Provo until a broken leg preempted his senior season. Mack has experience playing the DL, which speaks well to his athleticism. Mack will add quality depth at the very least and become a bookend tackle if he continues with his rapid development following his church mission.

Devin Mahina, 6-6, 225, TE/DE, Upland, California

Mahina was the final commit of the 2007 class and comes to BYU with very impressive credentials. He played both sides of the ball during his senior season and turned many a head during the recruiting process. Mahina is consistently named among the top tight end prospects in all of California.

Cougar Comparison: Brett Keisel

Although Mahina plans on playing tight end, he reminds me athletically of Brett Keisel. He's very fluid in his movement and could make a great defensive end if he chooses to go that way following the LDS mission he plans to serve immediately after graduating high school. As a tight end, Mahina matches up athletically with the many great Cougar tight ends as the came out of high school.

Eathyn Manumaleuna, 6-2, 280, DL/OL, Provo, Utah

Manumaleuna transferred to Timpview from Alaska for his senior season to play against some better competition and it paid off well for him. Manumaleuna's play during his final season earned him first-team all-state honors as he became part of the Thunderbirds' dominating defensive and offensive lines.

Cougar Comparison: Daniel Marquardt

Like Marquardt, Manumaleuna has a very good burst off of the line of scrimmage. He doesn't possess Marquardt's, but is perhaps quicker in his lateral movement along the line of scrimmage. Look for Manumaleuna to be one of the chief contenders for the second-team nose tackle spot that rotates with Russell Tialavea.

Marcus Mathews, 6-4, 200 WR, Beaverton, Oregon

I first noticed Mathews at a summer camp in between his sophomore and junior year. It was easy to see back then that Mathews would show up on a Division I signing list as a senior. Mathews runs great patterns and has very good hands. He's a very polished receiver who moves quite well for a player of his stature.

Cougar Comparison: Doug Jolley

Although Mathews looks to make his mark initially at the wide receiver position his skills and athleticism reminds me of Jolley who went on to be a high draft pick in the NFL. If Mathews finishes out at wide receiver, he'll set the bar for the type of tall and athletic receivers that Cougars fans have yet to see in Provo.

Jason Munns, 6-5, 225, QB, Kennewick, Washington

Munns was the one high school quarterback who BYU targeted, and they got him. He was their top choice for good reason. Munns has the size and skills to become a very good quarterback down the road. Munns has good arm strength and very good presence in the pocket. He also moves extremely well for a guy of his size, which allows him to scramble if the need arises.

Cougars Comparison: Marc Wilson

Munns is much like Wilson in his stature and his style of play. He's very consistent and accurate in his reads and in his throws. Munns was hampered by a sub par team his senior year, but showed throughout each of his 3 years starting for his varsity team that he has the goods to end up as one of the Cougar great quarterbacks.

Gary Nagy, 6-1, 180, Safety, Kahuku, Hawaii

Nagy showed up briefly at a camp last summer, and it quickly became apparent that scholarships offers deserved and likely forthcoming. An offer came from BYU, and Nagy went on to have a very good senior campaign. Nagy is the first of what should prove to be the best group of safeties BYU has ever signed in a single year.

Cougar Comparison: Jon Burbidge

It would be easy to say that Nagy reminds me of Francisco given he followed in Francisco's footsteps at Kahuku high, but I feel he compares more with Burbidge when viewing his tapes. He's an above-average coverage safety, which Francisco was not coming out of high school, and has a good nose for the ball. He can hit like Francisco, but has yet to develop the intimidating presence in the middle that made Francisco so good. Nagy is an exciting prospect who could develop into a cornerback, but most likely will stay at safety.

Jordan Pendleton, 6-2, 195, S/WR, South Jordan, Utah

Pendleton was the state MVP for very good reason. He was the primary play-maker for the state champion Bingham Miners on both sides of the ball. Pendleton is as good as any safety prospect ever to come out of the state of Utah. His strength is his competitive and fiery nature that will lead to on-field contributions sooner rather than later.

Cougar Comparison: Kyle Morrell

Morrell is perhaps the best-known safety in BYU history thanks largely to his national championship-preserving tackle at Hawaii in 1984. Pendleton is like Morrell in that he's a makes things happen wherever he is on the field. Don't be surprised if Pendleton finishes out his career mentioned as one of the best safeties BYU has ever produced.

G Pittman, 5-9, 175, CB, Rancho Cucamonga, California

Pittman is the type of high school cornerback prospect BYU rarely if ever signs. Pittman comes to BYU with perhaps better credentials out of high school than any CB prospect in BYU's history. Pittman is a Pac-10 caliber cornerback who does everything well from his position.

Cougar Comparison: Omar Morgan

Like Morgan Pittman is nails in man-coverage. He has very good instincts, but may prove to be better in run support than Morgan did as he averaged around five tackles per game. Pittman should prove to be a field corner who can break the two-deep and even start very early in his stint at BYU.

Houston Reynolds, 6-2, 295, OL, Provo, Utah

Reynolds is as polished in his technique as any offensive lineman BYU has signed out of high school. He has had some of the best coaching available and it shows. Reynolds is a very bright young man who should be a cinch to anchor the Cougar offensive line at the center position soon after he returns from the LDS mission he'll leave for as soon as he graduates from Timpview High School.

Cougar Comparison: Larry Moore

Moore was quietly one of the better centers BYU has ever produced as he went on to play for the Indianapolis Colts and several other NFL franchises. Reynolds has similar goods to Moore, which should allow him to become a very consistent and reliable center for BYU. Reynolds also has a last name that indicates that he'll be a solid contributor from the time he shows up on the practice field just like his father and his brothers.

Jordan Smith, 6-4, 200, WR, Spanish Fork, Utah

Smith was a camp phenom who showed very good speed and agility for a player of his size. His junior day and summer camp performances lead to an early BYU offer, which he soon accepted. Smith had a solid senior season, which earned him all-state honors.

Cougar Comparison: Kirk Pendleton

Like Pendleton, Smith has a very good vertical leap and can beat a defense down the field. He has above average size which makes him unlike most BYU receivers. Smith is my sleeper offensive recruit of this class as his potential is greater than most recruits BYU signs at the receiver position.

Steven Thomas, 5-11, 180, Safety, Chino Hills, California

Thomas was a renaissance man for his high school team playing almost every position on the field from safety to linebacker to quarterback, running back, and receiver. Thomas did it all and did it all well at a very high level in the California prep ranks.

Cougar Comparisons: Jason Walker

Walker was a three-year starter for the Cougars who anchored the 1996 defense at the free safety position. Thomas' strength is his instincts and nose for the football. He's been playing organized football since he was nine years old and has developed a knack for being in the right place at the right time. Thomas rounds out a very impressive safety class.

Manaaki Vaitai, 6-3, 300 OL, Euless, Texas

Vaitai played on one of the best high school teams in Texas and earned himself first team all-state honors in the highest division in Texas, which is no small feat. Vaitai is about as good at run-blocking as any offensive line recruit ever to come to BYU. Unfortunately, Vaitai didn't get a chance to practice pass-blocking or have much game experience pass-blocking for his high school team, which relied heavily on the run.

Cougar Comparison: Scott Young

Like Young, Vaitai excels at getting a big push off the line of scrimmage. He has the ability to get on top of his blocking assignment and dominate him with his upper-body strength and leverage. Once his pass-blocking skills match his run-blocking abilities he'll become a constant and dominant performer on the Cougar offensive line.


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