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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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Signing Day: BYU misses on Mama (to USC), but lands prized LB Warner, receiving help

The big one got away from the Cougars in the first couple of hours of National Signing Day on Wednesday morning.

But BYU got a couple of speedy ones and held on to its prized linebacker commit to soften the sting.

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Damien Mama, the big offensive lineman from Bellflower, Calif., who is LDS and visited BYU this past weekend, announced on national television that he has signed with USC. Ranked by some as the No. 1 offensive guard in the country, Mama narrowed his favorites to BYU, Alabama and USC before picking the Trojans.

The 6-4, 370-pound Mama has said he will go on a church mission after his first season of college football.

Also Wednesday, BYU fans learned that they are losing a transfer to Oregon State. Former Bingham High defensive lineman Baker Pritchard, currently on an LDS Church mission, signed with the Beavers.

There was joy in the BYU football offices Wednesday morning, though, because a couple of experienced receivers announced they are transferring to BYU. And linebacker Fred Warner of San Marcos, Calif., a four-star recruit, kept the commitment he made last summer and signed with BYU.

Warner was recruited heavily by USC and Washington the last month and even made a recruiting visit to USC, but stayed in BYU's camp.

UTEP’s Jordan Leslie and Devon Blackmon, who played last season at Riverside City College in California — signed with BYU.

Leslie, a 6-3, 210-pound senior from Houston, will graduate from UTEP in May with a degree in engineering and will enroll in a graduate program at BYU. That means he will be immediately eligible to play his final season of college football at BYU.

In three years, Leslie caught 125 passes for 2,015 yards and 15 touchdowns. His numbers fell his junior season after he caught 51 passes for 973 yards as a sophomore when current BYU receivers coach Guy Holliday was his position coach. He caught 44 passes for 612 yards in 2013.

The 6-1, 185-pound Blackmon was a high school teammate of current Cougar RB Jamaal Williams. He signed with Oregon out of high school as one of the fastest players in the 2011 class, but transferred to Riverside CC, near his hometown of Fontana, Calif. He will have two years to play two seasons.

Here’s the list of 18 players who had signed with BYU as of 1 p.m. MST when coach Bronco Mendenhall held his signing day news conference:

Trey Dye*Cooper, Texas*Cooper H.S.*WR*5-11*175*Son of former BYU kickoff and punt returner James Dye

Kavika Fonua*Syracuse, Utah*Syracuse H.S.*DB*6-0*200*One of state’s best athletes picked BYU over Utah in August

Jaterrius Gulley*Hoover, Ala.*Hoover H.S.*DL* 6-3*325*Helped his high school team win back-to-back state titles

Zac Dawe*Pleasant Grove, Utah*Pleasant Grove H.S.*OL*6-4*260*Heavyweight is two-time All-American in wrestling

Matt Bushman*Tucson, Ariz.*Sabino H.S.*TE*6-5*205*Rated as the No. 10 tight end in the West by Scout.com

Isaiah Kaufusi*Salt Lake City, Utah*Brighton H.S.*DB*6-2*175*Cousin of BYU star Bronson Kaufusi

Tyler Cook*Murrieta, Calif.*Vista Murrieta H.S.*LB*6-3*220*Three-star linebacker chose BYU over Arizona, others

Jordan Leslie*Houston, Texas*UTEP*WR*6-3*210*Has one year of eligibility remaining, can play right away

Devon Blackmon*Fontana, Calif.*Riverside City College*WR*6-1*185*Jamaal Williams’ former high school teammate

Teancum "Tico" Fuga*Huntington Beach, Calif.*DL*Edison H.S.*6-2*320*Brother of former Cougar great Romney Fuga

Austin Chambers*Shawnee Mission, Kan.*West H.S.*OL*6-5*285*Will go on a church mission before joining Cougars

Tejan Koroma*Allen, Texas*Allen H.S.*OL*6-0*250*Committed after watching BYU edge Houston at Reliant Stadium

Isaiah Nacua*Provo, Utah*Timpview H.S.*DE*6-2*255*Committed last summer, then again this past week

Sione Takitaki*Menifee, Calif.*Heritage H.S.*DE*6-3*240*Rated the No. 8 defensive end in the West by Scout.com

Chandon Herring*Gilbert, Ariz.*Perry H.S.*OL*6-7*260*Also played defensive tackle, recorded 30 tackles

Fred Warner*San Marcos, Calif.*Mission Hills H.S.*LB*6-3*210*Had offers from USC, Washington; Big get for the Cougars

Michael Shelton*Raleigh, N.C.*Wakefield H.S.*5-8*170*Graduated early, signed in December, enrolled in January

Nick Kurtz*El Cajon, Calif.*Grossmont CC*WR*6-6*205*Cougars hope mid-year transfer can fill Cody Hoffman’s shoes



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