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BYU football recruiting: 2017 OLB Ben Bywater signs with the Cougars

Student Sports

Ben Bywater, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound outside linebacker prospect out of Olympus High School in Salt Lake City, UT, has signed with BYU. Bywater has been committed to the Cougars since last June, and remained firm to that commitment throughout the recruiting process.

Bywater is a three-star prospect and earned a rating of 84.55 according to the 247Sports Composite. That rating makes him the second-ranked outside linebacker prospect and 14th-ranked overall prospect in the state of Utah for 2017. In addition to his BYU offer, he had interest from Arizona State, Harvard, Navy, Stanford, Utah, Washington, and Washington State and offers from Air Force, Cornell, Fresno State, and Utah State.

After suffering from a lacerated kidney during his junior season, Bywater made an impressive comeback as a senior at Olympus, recording 95 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, two pass deflections, a forced fumble, and a sack. He also had 766 rushing yards for nine touchdowns on 133 carries. His play on the field earned him Utah Region 6 MVP. Bywater also played rugby for Olympus and had plenty of success in the classroom.

Bywater has a solid frame and good length for the outside linebacker position. He’ll likely need to bulk up and add some strength to deal with the physicality of the D-1 level. He is an intelligent football player with the athleticism needed to be an impressive playmaker.

The linebacker position will be one of the more experienced groups on the field for the Cougars next year with all three starters (Fred Warner, Butch Pau’u, and Francis Bernard) returning. BYU will also has one if it’s highest-rated recruits from the 2015 class, Mika Tafua, set to return from his two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in September. Coming home that close to the start of the season, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Tafua redshirt to get back into playing shape, but there will definitely be plenty of competition at linebacker. Bywater is expected to serve a two-year mission for the LDS Church before enrolling at BYU, which is probably best given the depth at linebacker right now.

Here are Bywater’s highlights: