This brief post will take a look at some of the key positions BYU needs to sign this February as well as current commits and prospective recruits that the Cougars will be trying to land on the 5th.
Offensive Needs: QB (Dual Threat), Wide Receiver, Lineman
Defensive Needs: Defensive Lineman (for depth), OLBs, DBs
QB: BYU was making a late push to lure QB Ronald Monroe (TX) away from Washington State. Monroe had scheduled a visit to BYU this weekend before he was offered by Vanderbilt and TCU. He has since changed his plans from visiting BYU the 31st to visiting Vanderbilt that weekend (as announced via his Twitter account). Dual threat QB to back up Taysom Hill in the wake of Ammon Olsen transferring to SUU, not accomplished.
WR: BYU did a great job luring 4-star 6-6 JUCO WR Nick Kurtz away from schools that included LSU, Oregon, Texas Tech (take that Wes Welker!) , and USC. Also BYU was able to secure a commit from WR Trey Dye who looks to carry on the family tradition of big play maker at BYU. This past weekend BYU lost out in the race for Texas wideout Keyon Dilosa who visited Missouri and and offered the athletic wide receiver, he has since canceled his visit to Provo this weekend. For BYU to turn things around and get a solid receiver commit they will need a commit from the athletic JUCO wideout Devon Blackmon (former teammate of Jamaal Williams) who took a trip to Provo and on all accounts so far enjoyed his visit. Almost accomplished, the commitment of Devon Blackmon would go a long way in replacing the likes of Hoffman, Ridley, and Falslev as he would bring elite speed to Provo.
O-Line: While BYU secured commits from tackles Chandon Herring (6-7, 260) and Austin Chambers (6-5, 285), and center Tejan Koroma (6-0, 250), although not very big, sure loves himself some pancakes. BYU is trying to haul in a big time player in Damien Mama (6-4, 370). The Bellflower, CA prospect will be visiting BYU this weekend, although BYU has withstood the recruiting battle to be a finalist for Mama's services (BAMA, BYU, UCLA, USC) all signs point to him signing with USC and Steve Sarkisian come the 5th. Accomplished. Commitment of Mama would be a shocker.
Defensive Line: BYU currently has two DTs committed, Earl Mariner (6-4, 300) and Tico Fuga (6-1, 285). Two DEs, Zac Dawe (6-4, 260) from Pleasant Grove (also All-American wrestler) and Sione Takitaki (6-3, 240) who totalbluesports.com lists as having switched his commit to a "soft verbal". BYU is looking to add a monster DT from way down in the state of Alabama named Jaterrius Gulley (6-3, 325). Gulley will be visiting BYU's campus this weekend. While BYU has the four other commits, Gulley would be huge asset as a couple of the other DL commits have said that they will serve missions before they enroll at BYU. Accomplished but need Gulley to add depth.
OLB: The linebacker position under Mendenhall has always been the deepest, most athletic and reliable unit on the entire team. This is because of the staff's efforts to recruit top talent at the OLB position (and a ball hawking linebacker like Kyle Van Noy also helps attract the attention of aspiring young linebackers). BYU is looking to hold onto Fred Warner (6-3, 205) as the So-Cal product is getting a lot of attention from USC (already has an offer). Also the staff has secured the commit of another athletic OLB in Tyler Cook (6-3, 216). If possible the staff could use another MLB, maybe from the JUCO ranks (Snow College got anybody?) to replace Unga who was a stud this year but did not receive much fanfare playing alongside Van Noy. Accomplished (if the staff can hold onto Warner)
DB: Commits include: safety Kavika Fonua (6-0, 203) and cornerback Michael Shelton (5-10, 170) who has already enrolled this semester. BYU received some sad news on Monday as cornerback Cedric Dale (5-9, 175) who committed in August has recently announced that he is now committed to Purdue. That one was a bit of a surprise. Never good news when you lose a recruit to a team that went 1-11 last season. BYU will look to secure the commitment of Texas safety Courtland Sutton (6-3, 190) who visited BYU when they routed Texas. Also BYU entered late into the race for Georgia cornerback Kiante Walton (5-10, 170) but will look to secure his commitment as well when he visits Provo this weekend. Remains to be seen. Need at least one more cornerback, securing commits from Sutton and Walton would be huge in creating rare depth at the DB position in BYU's secondary.
BYU has done a decent job recruiting up to this point. For the most part the staff does a good job of finding young men who fit the unique criteria for playing football at BYU early in the recruiting process. However, the staff is making a late push for speed and athleticism in the skill position areas and having a hard time reeling in commits. The next week will show a lot in how Mendenhall wants to rebuild his defense and in the personnel Anae is able to recruit for his "Go fast, Go hard" offense. Hope for three things come signing day: recruits that honor their commitment, at least one "surprise" recruit signed and of course speed.