Provo » Brigham Young football coaches have been scattered across the country most of the past five weeks, searching high and low for the next Dennis Pitta, Max Hall or Jan Jorgensen.
But they've had to be very selective in their recruiting this offseason, more selective than at any time in BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall's six-year tenure.
That's because the Cougars have fewer than 15 scholarships available for the class of 2011, recruiting coordinator Paul Tidwell said Tuesday.
"We only had 13 [scholarships] when we started, and we filled up 12 of them already [with commitments], so we only have one, maybe two left for the 2011 class," Tidwell said. "We didn't have very many this year, so we filled them up fast."
Most years, BYU (and other college football programs) has close to 25 scholarships to dole out.
The open evaluation period ends this weekend. So the coaches, who will return to the football offices on Monday to compare notes, won't see or talk to recruits until mid-June, when many of their recruiting targets will be on campus for football camps.
"Honestly, a lot of what I am doing right now, and I am sure a lot of other coaches are, too, is looking for one or two specific positions is all," Tidwell said. "And then we are already starting to talk to high school coaches about their sophomores, the class of 2012."
Coaches cannot reveal which recruits have committed to the program until they have signed, but BYU recruiting guru Brandon Gurney of the website totalbluesports.com says he knows of eight rising high school seniors who have pledged to sign with BYU in February.
The latest known player to commit to BYU is Stehly Reden, a 6-foot-4, 235-pound offensive tackle from Valley Center, Calif., and the younger brother of former Cougar offensive lineman Garrett Reden. Four of BYU's eight known commits are from Bingham High, and seven of the eight are from of Utah.
Two of the most-coveted players in Utah this year -- Bingham running back Harvey Langi and American Fork offensive tackle Ryker Mathews -- have yet to commit and are getting offers from out-of-state programs such as UCLA, Stanford and Colorado.
"It is always important to get the high-profile Utah athletes for us," Tidwell said, speaking generally and not naming names. "We want to do our due diligence with them, and offer them, and make sure we are recruiting them hard."
The Cougars have a commitment from a prep quarterback, Mountain Crest's Alex Kuresa. But he is expected to either redshirt or go on a mission before enrolling and won't add to the logjam at the position that currently exists in Provo.
Tidwell said finding good offensive and defensive linemen has been the priority in this recruiting period, along with cornerbacks.
"And then we have to get a safety," he said.
Y. looking for a few good men
|Baker Pritchard||Def. End||6-2/240||Bingham|
|Austin Heder||Linebacker||6-2/215||Pleasant Grove|
|Alex Kuresa||QB||5-11/160||Mountain Crest|
|Lui Lapuaho||Off. Tackle||6-7/285||Hunter|
|Moses Kaumatule||Def. Tackle||6-2/245||Bingham|
|Kesni Tausinga||Def. Tackle||6-0/260||Bingham|
|Stehly Reden||Off. Tackle||6-4/235||Valley Center, CA|