Eye on the Y is The Salt Lake Tribune’s weekly newsletter covering BYU athletics. Subscribe here.
After wrapping up the Signing Day press conference with Kalani Sitake and his assistant coaches on Wednesday, BYU football spokesman Brett Pyne sent me a text I wasn’t expecting. It was photos of four BYU recruits rocking BYU gear when they were little.
So, obviously, I thought I’d share a few with y’all.
Here’s Alex Muti looking all tough with his BYU Eye Black at a Pee Wee game when he was little. Alex signed with the Cougars during the early signing period and will eventually leave the Island of Hawaii for Provo.
We’ll see if Alex brings that same toughness he showed as a kid to BYU.
Bodie Schoonover was always meant to be a Cougar. I mean, look at him!
Bodie actually committed to BYU in 2018, decommitted last December to pursue some Power Five options, but then signed with BYU after all on Signing Day.
Assistant coach Ed Lamb said the staff looks hard for athletes that really want to play at BYU and generally only BYU, but they gave Bodie the space to sort of shop around. By giving him that freedom, I think it helped Bodie figure out what he wanted.
And it seemed to pay off for the Cougars.
Look at that smile. I bet you Josh Larsen had that smile back in December when he signed with BYU.
Josh actually comes from a BYU family, but the connection isn’t through football. His dad Jim was a pitcher for the BYU baseball team and his mother was a Cougarette.
Now they’ll have a BYU football player in the family.
John Nelson also came from a big BYU-loving family and has worn the Y since he was practically born even he grew up in a slightly divided home.
His mom played basketball for BYU, but his dad (basketball) and grandpa (football) played for Boise State. His brother and sister both play college basketball.
But I’m sure they’ll be having more BYU-themed family photos once John comes to Provo.
Keeping in the family
The family is getting even bigger. Seven recruits are joining current family members at BYU.
Tate Romney — the third and final Romney — finally signed with BYU, but will first go on a mission before coming to Provo, where his older brothers Baylor and Gunner will continue playing.
Recent signee Logan Pili has older brother Keenan is currently on the roster. Preston Rex is also following in his brother Isaac’s footsteps.
Petey Tuipulotu has two brothers that play for the Cougars. Hank just wrapped up his freshman season and Ben is an expected fall addition. Even if Petey decides to go on his church mission first, we could still see three Tuipulotus playing in LaVell Edwards Stadium in a couple of years.
Josh Wilson, who will not be going on a mission before coming to Provo, is joining his older brother Zach Wilson next season. While Josh is listed as a linebacker, there is a chance we could see a Wilson-to-Wilson play like we saw a couple of Romney-to-Romney plays last season between Baylor and Gunner.
Then there’s Ace Kaufusi. While not another brother connection, Ace is still related to current linebackers Isaiah and Jackson — he’s a cousin.
All of these connections should make BYU football more fun to watch over the next few years.
For more Signing Day coverage, click here.
A few more thoughts
• Did you know that Yoeli Childs is the only player on the team that doesn’t speak Spanish? That’s a random tidbit I learned about him before I talked to him about his senior season, which hasn’t quite gone like he initially envisioned.
• So did y’all catch the men’s volleyball matches last week? Because they were intense! I caught most of Saturday’s match via The Daily Herald’s Darnell Dickson’s laptop while we were covering the men’s basketball game. Now the Cougars will start MPSF play with two more ranked opponents (UCLA and Pepperdine) this weekend.
• All-American Whittni Orton was named a candidate for the 2020 Bowerman award by the USTFCCCA in its first watch list release of the season on Wednesday. The Bowerman is presented annually by the USTFCCCA to the most outstanding male and female NCAA track & field athletes in the nation.
• Darnell Dickson of the Daily Herald caught up with Zach Eschenberg of the men’s volleyball team and figured out what has lead him to be a key piece of the undefeated Cougars.
• Returning nose tackle Khyiris Tonga believes BYU’s defensive line “will get better,” wrote Jay Drew of the Deseret News.
• KSL’s Sean Walker talked with Devonta’e Henry-Cole and figured out why the former Ute became a Cougar.