I felt that today was as good a time as any to take a break from the incessant speculation about BYU to the Big XII to do a brief overview of some of the top targets on the Cougars' radar for the 2017 recruiting class. Kalani Sitake and staff did a great job of maintaining some integrity from the 2016 class, given that you usually see a large exodus of recruits when the head coach abandons the program prior to the bowl game.
This shows that while the previous staff had recruited most of them, many of the players were more interested in playing for BYU than for Bronco Mendenhall. I take a small amount of comfort in that, as I am not a Bronco fan, but a fan of my Alma Mater.
The class of 2017, however, is all Sitake, and this should be a great barometer of the future of the Cougars. It's remarkably early to take too much of an in-depth look at the current class, which is ranked 75th nationally by 247 Sports. It's important to note that currently the class comprises only two three-star recruits. This may be worth a grain of salt as there is a lot of time between now and February. Let's take a look at a few of the top targets on BYU's radar.
Tufele has great size and strength at the 3 technique position, but he also has the size to play nose tackle. He has a great motor and doesn't quit on the play—his tape shows him hustling down the field to make tackles in space against slot receivers. He is stout against the run, and his 10.5 sacks are great production from the defensive tackle positon.
While he is listed as an inside linebacker on 247sports.com, Hines lines up as a Will in a 4-3 defensive alignment in most of his highlights. However, his coverage skills and ability to close in space would play well from the middle linebacker position in a 3-4 scheme like Sitake runs. He also shows brilliant closing speed and an ability to shoot the gap.
Ah You is an undersized safety with good range and decent ball skills. He needs to put some weight on his frame, or he would likely be playing cornerback at the college level. He shows good play recognition and has a knack for separating the receiver from the football. He has decent tackling technique but has a tendency to dive at the runner's legs.
Holmes shows a good ability to run routes and gain separation from the defender. He shows great elusiveness in the open field. He also shows great ability to track the ball in flight and can stretch the field. He does show a more passive catching technique, however, often waiting for the ball to come into his body rather than going up and high pointing the ball with his hands.
Smith has NFL size at the right tackle position. He is a big bodied, long-armed tackle who shows good feet in pass protection and ability to run block. He does tend to lose leverage, standing up too high, and extending his arms with a tendency to grab. He can get away with this against high school defenders, but will need some coaching on this against college level competition.
Lenoir is short, but shows tenacity to make up for it. He goes after the ball when he tackles and shows good leaping ability to match up with bigger receivers. He has excellent backside pursuit and punches the ball when he tackles from behind. Played both ways in high school and could contribute on special teams.