Thirteen recruits in a class high on quality, low on numbers. Still, this year topped last year when the Cougars ruled the state of Utah getting Jake Kuresa and Daniel Coats but lost out at the wire for Haloti Ngata and Hawaii's J.T. Mapu.
This year's class is, dare I say it?, the best class ever for BYU pound-for-pound in the 10 plus years I've covered Cougar football professionally. I REALLY like it when you complement in last year's class which had what this one didn't: stud QB, RBs and WRs.
Recruiting isn't about just winning the Signing Day battle for names, it's about plugging players to help you win. Two names who aren't on this list but could, and should, be major players are names you've never seen on a BYU signing list: John Beck and Mania Brown.
Here's a hard and fast rule that's clinical and cold but has proven to be true every year: half of the can't miss guys miss. And signees you've never heard of go to the NFL. So what does that mean?
Look at it this way: Ofa might be the next Anthony Munoz. Or he might be the next Anthony Hopkins, who knows? There's such a big jump to the next level, it's like predicting the weather three weeks from now to speculate who'll be great in 2-4 years. It's like they say, "It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it."
However, based on film performance and evaluations I'll say this: Ofa's the best lineman I've seen in five years and Speredon, Reynolds and Willing aren't too shabby either. Soi is this year's Ngata and should've gotten more pub than he did. Remember Ngata got huge pub after a great Nike Camp and then a few good plays in the national All-Star game.
Let's look at this class position by position and you should see why I'm so high on it:
QB: let's say John Beck fills this spot for the class. He's more than a thrown in, he could be a difference maker and complements the timing of Ben O's leaving.
RB: none, but none needed. Watch out for Whalen and Vakapuna in the future with several other studs waiting in the wings.
WR: none, but this isn't a problem spot at least number-wise. Look at it this way: Kyle Brady, who signed with Utah, wants to be a receiver and BYU won't take him, despite being Utah's Mr. Football. That should tell you about the depth here.
TE: Man, this spot could be loaded in the future. Van Sweden has a high ceiling and Philip Niu could help in the very near future. Previous signings like Andrew George and Bristol O. make this a position to watch.
OL: Wow, what a class… Imagine down the road you have Speredon and Reynolds at tackle, Willing and Ofa at guard. You and I could play center with the talent around us. As I've said before, I love the athletic potential of Eddie Keele, Kai Jones and eventually Junior Kato. This position will be loaded for years to come.
DL: Haloti who? Mania Brown next to Brian Soi will give QBs some pregame jitters. Only worry here is Soi has to qualify. Brett Denney has the raw athleticism to be a great pass rusher and, I think, a great TE.
LB: Plugging the middle will be Matt Ah You and chasing down on the outside will be David Nixon. Two players with different skill sets who complement each other well.
DB: The only weak link in this class. BYU lost two prospects they wanted to fill in at safety: Villi Nauahi and Kyle Brady and both went elsewhere. Attig could fill the safety holes and Walt Williams is back filling in at corner. If he makes it. I still think he'll be a better special teams guy than a cover corner.
K: Mitch Payne is the man. I love offering good kickers and then worrying about other positions for the next four years.
Overall, I'll give this class a B+. Kudos to the coaches who worked their tails off this year.
2003 BYU Football Signee Roster
2003 Signing List with hometown and high school
Matt Ah You 6-0 230 LB Cedar Hills, Utah/Lone Peak HS
Aaron Attig 6-3 190 DB Logandale, Nev./Moapa Valley HS
Brett Denney 6-4 255 DL Thornton, Colo./Legacy HS
Ofa Mohetau 6-3 320 OL Euless, Texas/Trinity HS
David Nixon 6-3 200 LB College Station, Texas/A&M Consolidated
Philip Niu 6-5 240 TE Gilbert, Ariz./Highland HS
Mitch Payne 6-3 185 K/P North Ogden, Utah/Weber HS
Dallas Reynolds 6-5 310 OL Provo, Utah/Timpview HS
Brian Soi 6-4 295 DL Provo, Utah/Timpview HS
Jason Speredon 6-5 275 OL West Valley City, Utah/Granger HS
Dan Van Sweden 6-3 210 TE West Point, Utah/Northridge HS
Walt Williams 6-0 170 DB Miami, Fla./Eastern Arizona JC
R.J. Willing 6-4 290 OL Kahuku, Hawaii/Kamehameha HS