One expert's take on BYU's 2013 football signing class
Published: February 4, 2013 11:28AM
Updated: February 4, 2013 03:25PM

Signing Day for high school and junior college football prospects is Wednesday, which is why The Tribune presented its annual football recruiting package on Sunday, complete with lists of players who have committed to the state's three major college football programs: BYU, Utah and Utah State.
Here's our story on BYU's expected 2013 signing class, in case you missed it.
Admittedly, it is not a glowing review of the Cougars' signing class; In the seven or eight years that I have paid close attention to BYU's football recruiting, this might be the weakest class coach Bronco Mendenhall will sign, in my opinion.
Of course, it is all a crapshoot; Predicting how 17- and 18-year-old kids will perform in Division I college football is a hazardous business. BYU fans just have to look back at the 2010 signing class for proof of that.
And remember, one of BYU's top two or three players right now, receiver Cody Hoffman, had only two offers out of high school: from Sacramento State and BYU. He's likely going to finish his career as the most prolific receiver in BYU history.

Several national recruiting analysts that I talked to or corresponded with via email aren't as down on BYU's signing class as I am.
Brandon Huffman, National College Football Recruiting Analyst for Scout.com/Fox Sports was kind enough to answer a couple general questions about the Cougars' recruiting class for me.
Here are his replies:

On his overall opinion of BYU's 2013 class:

"I think it’s a solid, not spectacular class. One thing that’s notable is some of their earliest commits are still on board like Dallin Leavitt, Trajan Pili and Brayden Kearsley. Sure, they had to weather Kearsley’s recruitment, but they ended up with him back on board. As usual, they’ve done a tremendous jobon the offensive line, although the defensive line is a little barren. So it’s a solid class across the board, with some spots they could have done better.

BYU didn't land a single five-star recruit, and got only one four-star prospect, Oregon's Brayden Kearsley. Should that disturb BYU fans:

"Somewhat, though at the same time, the vaunted class of 2010 turned out to be a huge disappointment in a lot of ways, so I think BYU would be more pleased to fill the needs, and not worry about their rankings. Those players tend to come in with chips on their shoulders and don’t have any hype to buy into, while more highly touted guys tend to believe their press clippings, and you have to control that in a lot of ways. That said, outside of a handful of players, there aren’t a lot of elite prospects in the group. Still they have some sleepers that I think as they develop could be very good, like Michael Davis and Addison Pulsipher.

BYU had several decommits this year, probably more than in all of Mendenhall's previous years combined. What do you make of that trend:

"More and more, it’s becoming a nationwide trend. Guys are using commitments as reservations, holding on to their spot, while still seeing if something out there is better. I got the feeling for most of Tanner Shipley’s recruitment, and it was evident the first time he decommitted, he was looking for something better to him to jump on, and then as soon as Boise State offered, he flipped. Kearsley obviously opened things up and was nearly bound for Oregon State before sticking with BYU. In a lot of cases, its because these guys commit so early, then see friends and teammates get recruited and a lot of adulation, and they want that too, so they open it up to allow for that. Then they become more interested in that school, so they’ll decommit. And most schools are dealing with it. It happens to Alabama, Notre Dame and USC, and in USC’s case, six times already. Thats the danger with taking early commitments."


It might have been a bit difficult to read the list that was published online and in Sunday's paper. Here it is, with a comment about each prospect:


Player Name/Hometown HS/JC Pos. Ht./Wgt. Comment
Keegan Hicks, South Jordan, Utah Bingham OL 6-3/280 Bingham pipeline to BYU continues with top-rated center

Trajan Pili, Las Vegas, Nev. Centennial LB 6-2/225 Got offers after strong season, but stuck with early commitment

Dallin Leavitt, Portland, Ore. Central Catholic DB 5-11/200 Some early commits from Oregon fell through, but playmaker didn't

Moroni Pututau, Hyrum, Utah Mountain Crest TE 6-4/190 Two-way star might be speedy enough to play receiver, or on defense

Talon Shumway, Highland, Utah Lone Peak WR 6-3/190 All-around athlete also on Lone Peak's nationally ranked hoops team

JonRyheem Peoples, Rigby, Idaho Rigby Senior OL 6-6/300 Went back and forth between offers from BYU and Utah before choosing BYU

Nathan DeBeikes , Thousand Oaks, Calif. Thousand Oaks LB 6-2/195 Also a standout running back, committed to BYU almost a year ago

Johnny Tapasoa, Laie, Hawaii Kahuku DB 5-10/190 Helped Kahuku win back-to-back state titles, ran for a TD in '12 title game

Addison Pulsipher, Temecula, Calif. Temecula Valley DE 6-6/250 Two-way lineman could greyshirt or leave immediately on a church mission

Kai Nacua, Las Vegas, Nev. Liberty LB 6-2/200 Younger brother, Isaiah, also has an offer from BYU, which was father's dying wish

Patrick Palau, Salt Lake City, Utah East RB 5-11/240 In the same mold as another former East and Cougar RB, Fui Vakapuna

Garrett England, Salt Lake City, Utah Skyline RB 6-3/185 Will likely play on defense for Cougars after a church mission

Merrill Taliauli, Salt Lake City, Utah East OL 6-2/305 Stayed a BYU fan despite growing up in shadows of rival Utah

Thomas Shoaf, Columbus, Ind. Columbus North OL 6-6/265 Also had offers from Indiana, Iowa and Ball State

Michael Davis, Los Angeles, Calif. Glendale WR 6-2/180 Also a top sprinter on school's track team, committed to Cougars last summer

Inoke Lotulelei, Salt Lake City, Utah Cottonwood WR 5-8/175 Had two 1,000-yard receiving seasons, originally committed to UCLA

Jordan Preator, Plain City, Utah Fremont DB 6-0/183 Missed most of senior season with injury, will likely greyshirt this fall

Rylee Gautavai, Bountiful, Utah Bountiful LB 6-1/200 Three-year starter became a tackling machine for well-coached Braves, had 116

Brayden Kearsley, Beaverton, Ore. Aloha OL 6-6/290 Four-star lineman committed early, wavered, then stayed with it despite Pac-12 offer

Francis Bernard, Herriman, Utah Herriman RB 6-0/215 Rushed for 3,123 yards, 45 TDs, in his prep career, will go on mission first

Chasen Andersen, Logan, Utah Logan LB 6-0/220 Son of former USU coach Gary Andersen shocked everyone by picking Y over Ags

Dax Raymond, Provo, Utah Timpview WR 6-5/220 Caught 22 touchdown passes, could also play tight end for Cougars


Junior College Transfers

Maataua Brown, Norwalk, Calif. Cerritos J.C. DL 6-5/290 Committed to Washington out of high school, but didn't qualify academically

Kalolo Manu-Utu, Compton, Calif. Compton J.C. LB 6-2/250 Has had trouble staying in linebacker shape, could be an OL or DL

Sam Lee, Gwynn Park, Maryland College of Canyons DB 6-0/180 Originally from Maryland, played for new BYU OL coach Garett Tujague at juco

Josh Carter, Tuscon, Ariz. Eastern Arizona OL 6-5/280 Returned missionary fell through the cracks after heavy recruitment out of h.s.

Quincy Awa-Dubose, Oxnard Calif. Moorpark J.C. OL 6-3/305 Late find for the Cougars at the recommendation of new OL coach Garett Tujague

De'Ondre Wesley, Pleasant Hill, Calif. Diablo Valley J.C. OL 6-7/300 Committed to Utah in September, then Arizona State, but that fell through

Signed in December

Trenton Trammell, Oakland, Calif. San Francisco CC DB 5-11/185 Credited BYU inside linebackers coach Paul Tidwell as reason why he chose BYU

Billy Green, Shoreline, Wash. Christian King's HS QB 6-2/196 Graduated from high school early, enrolled in January, will compete in spring ball