BYU football: Cougars bolster offensive, defensive lines
Provo • BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall met with reporters at noon Wednesday to discuss his 26-member signing class and said the group "will help us continue to build and grow as one of the nation's top programs."
Including the mid-year enrollees, the class includes 20 high school players and six junior college transfers.
The class includes 14 defensive players and offensive players. Eleven of the signees are linemen, three who primarily are defensive linemen and eight who primarily are offensive linemen.
Mendenhall said BYU will welcome back eight players from missions in 2013, players who signed in 2011 or earlier.
As usual, the coach downplayed the importance of "stars" that recruits get from recruiting services.
"I have never looked at any services that do stars," he said.
Having lost six offensive linemen to career-ending injuries last season, Mendenhall said the focus was to rebuild that part of the team. He also said BYU signed more junior college transfers than usual to fill the need it has along the lines.
The Cougars signed just one quarterback, mid-year enrollee Billy Green of Shoreline, Wash.
"You will like him when you watch him play," Mendenhall said.
The coach said the team is "really heavy" at running back, so it did not sign a running back this year.
Asked about the kicking situation and why the Cougars didn't sign a new kicker and/or punter, Mendenhall quipped: "Got any suggestions?"
He said Justin Sorensen will continue to be the place-kicker and that he has high hopes for walk-on Scott Arellano as the punter.
As far as signing Logan linebacker Chasen Andersen, son of former USU coach Gary Andersen, Mendenhall said his relationship with coach Andersen has blossomed since Andersen left Utah to become USU's coach.
"That's been one of the coolest stories," Mendenhall said regarding the signing of Andersen's son, who decommitted from USU.
BYU's 2013 signees
Player Name/Hometown HS/JC Pos. Ht./Wgt. Comment
Chasen Andersen, Logan, Utah Logan LB 6-0/218 Son of former USU coach Gary Andersen led state in tackles as a junior
Michael Davis, Los Angeles, Calif. Glendale WR 6-2/180 Top sprinter on school's track team did it all on football field for Glendale
Nathan DeBeikes , Thousand Oaks, Calif. Thousand Oaks LB 6-2/196 Will go on church mission before enrolling; Team MVP at Thousand Oaks in 2012
Garrett England, Salt Lake City, Utah Skyline DB 6-4/190 Played running back, receiver and defensive back for Skyline, will go on mission first
Rylee Gautavai, Bountiful, Utah Bountiful LB 6-1/200 Three-year starter and two-time all-stater had 117 tackles for Braves in 2012
Billy Green, Shoreline, Wash. Christian King's HS QB 6-2/196 Coach Bronco Mendenhall: "You will like him, when you watch him play"
Keegan Hicks, South Jordan, Utah Bingham OL 6-3/285 Ranked as the No. 30 center in the country by Scout.com, second-team all-stater
Brayden Kearsley, Beaverton, Ore. Aloha OL 6-5/298 Prize of the Cougars' 2013 signing class could have most immediate impact
Moroni Laulu-Pututau, Hyrum, Utah Mountain Crest TE 6-4/190 Will go on church mission first, but Mendenhall called him a "great athlete" Wednesday
Dallin Leavitt, Portland, Ore. Central Catholic DB 6-0/205 Rated as the No. 5 prospect in Oregon, Mendenhall says he hits like Craig Bills
Kaimana Nacua, Las Vegas, Nev. Liberty LB 6-2/205 First-team Nevada all-stater made 57 tackles, had two interceptions his senior year
JonRyheem Peoples, Rigby, Idaho Rigby Senior OL 6-6/300 Rated as No. 4 prospect in Idaho by Scout.com, recorded 65 tackles, five sacks
Trajan Pili, Las Vegas, Nev. Centennial LB 6-2/225 Notched 67 tackles, seven sacks as a senior, rated No. 3 prospect in Nevada
Jordan Preator, Plain City, Utah Fremont DB 6-0/183 Missed most of senior season with injury. Played some QB and RB at Fremont
Addison Pulsipher, Temecula, Calif. Temecula Valley DE 6-6/250 Two-way lineman could greyshirt or leave immediately on a church mission
Thomas Shoaf, Columbus, Ind. Columbus North OL 6-6/265 Rated No. 65 offensive tackle in country by Rivals.com, first-team all-stater
Talon Shumway, Highland, Utah Lone Peak WR 6-3/200 Member of Lone Peak's nationally ranked hoops team will go on mission before enrolling
Merrill Taliauli, Salt Lake City, Utah East OL 6-3/305 Consensus all-stater rated as No. 40 defensive tackle in nation, Utah's 10th-best prospect
Johnny Tapasoa, Laie, Hawaii Kahuku DB 5-10/195 Introduced himself to Mendenhall as a 13-year-old, was MVP of All-Poly Camp last summer
Junior College Transfers
Josh Carter, Tuscon, Ariz. Eastern Arizona OL 6-5/290 Served LDS Church mission to Salt Lake City, then helped Gila Monsters rush for 323 a game
Tim Duran, Puyallup, Wash. Cabrillo College OL 6-4/290 Cougars made late offer to big lineman who can play guard or tackle
Edward Fusi, Corona, Calif. Mt. San Antonio JC OL 6-1/285 Helped lead Mt. Sac to an 11-1 season record, including 6-0 in conference
Sam Lee, Gwynn Park, Maryland College of Canyons DB 6-0/180 Physical corner with size and speed served mission in Atlanta, Ga. before juco
Kalolo Utu, Compton, Calif. Compton J.C. DT 6-2/285 Returned missionary (Las Vegas) graduated from Dominquez High in California
De'Ondre Wesley, Pleasant Hill, Calif. Diablo Valley J.C. OL 6-6/310 Committed to Utah in September, then Arizona State, but both offers fell through
Trenton Trammell, Oakland, Calif. San Francisco CC DB 6-0/190 Mid-year transfer is heir apparent to Preston Hadley at cornerback spot