Provo • The BYU Cougars won a big football recruiting battle with instate rival Utah on Thursday by landing a rather large recruit.

Chinonso Opara, a 6-foot-9, 270-pound rising senior at Juan Diego Catholic High School, announced on Twitter that he has committed to BYU.

Opara becomes the Cougars’ 18th commitment from the class of 2018.

On Friday, another highly recruited Utahn is set to make his commitment known. Olympus High defensive end Cameron Latu, who committed to BYU last year before taking back his pledge in the spring, will make his decision and relay it on Twitter, he has said.

Opara played on both sides of the ball for the Soaring Eagle his junior season, and also plays varsity basketball for the private school in Draper. Opara is from Nigeria and lives with a host family in the United States.

Utah and BYU were his only scholarship offers, according to

Of BYU’s 18 known commitments, eight play either offensive or defensive line in high school.

Recruits can begin signing National Letters of Intent on Dec. 20 this year as the NCAA institutes an early signing period for high school football players for the first time.