BYU locked up 14 signees in the early signing period last week, but coaches will continue to get signatures on National Signing Day in February and potential graduate transfers during the offseason.
Getting immediate help to provide more weapons for Zach Wilson will be a top priority for the coaching staff, and that could come in the form of impact freshmen, JUCO transfers or graduate transfers.
With that in mind, here our holiday “wish list” for BYU this offseason.
As a caveat, this is very unlikely to happen. BUT, it is a wish list, so why not throw Puka’s name on here? Puka is a verbal USC commit at the moment, but he did not sign during the early signing period, meaning other schools will have until early February to swoop in and flip Puka.
In case you’re unfamiliar with Puka, he’s a 4-star WR at Orem High School who broke the Utah single-season touchdown reception record with 26 this season. His older brothers are former BYU safety Kai and current Utah WR Samson.
BYU is a longshot at best to flip Puka, but having Zach Wilson at least gives Puka something to consider. Zach and Puka are good friends, and Zach is no doubt talking to Puka about what the two could accomplish over the next three season. Zach’s mom has made her public pitch for Puka too.
Landing an official visit from Puka before National Signing Day would at least give BYU one final chance to go all in and try to flip the star WR.
JUCO or Graduate Transfer Running Back
BYU was close to landing 3-star JUCO speedster DeShawn Collins, but Cal swooped in at the last minute and convinced Collins to stay close to home in the Bay Area.
Lopini Katoa has a bright future ahead and Riley Burt showed well in the bowl game, but BYU needs another guy that can step in and contribute right away. Ula Tolutau may still join the program, but nothing is official until he’s enrolled and on campus.
One name to watch as a graduate transfer is Rice running back Emmanuel Eskupa. BYU running back coach AJ Steward was at Rice before coming to BYU, so he obviously has a connection with Eskupa.
Eskupa announced on twitter earlier this month that he’ll graduate in May and transfer from Rice.
After much prayer, I’ve decided to transfer from Rice University after graduation in May. Thank you to all the players and coaches that made my time at Rice memorable. With that being said, I’m excited to find a new home! https://t.co/XvfqcQ6BNw Here are my highlights. pic.twitter.com/srWMLGg2BK— ⚡Emmanuel Esukpa⚡ (@EEThirtyThree) December 4, 2018
Eskupa doesn’t have a ton of production in his career, but he’s a guy that could come in and compete if BYU decides to pursue him. He ran for for 461 and yards 3 touchdown this past season, including two 100-plus yard performances in Rice’s first three games. Injuries slowed him down the second half of the season and limited his production.
More transfer announcements will come in the coming months, so look for BYU to pursue an immediate impact transfer that they can pair in the backfield with Zach Wilson and company.
Deep Threat WR
The tight end position is in good hands with Bushman, Holker and the return of Moroni Laulu-Pututau, and the WR corp is solid with Talon Shumway, Gunner Romney, Micah Simon, Aleva Hifo, Dax Milne and Neil Pau’u, but there isn’t that deep threat that can take the top off a defense and maximize Wilson’s arm talent.
Just like running back, BYU will scour the JUCO and graduate transfer ranks in order to land someone that can contribute right away. BYU didn’t have anyone that had over 30 catches this past season, so coaches can give a strong recruiting pitch to potential recruits that want immediate playing time.
BYU is in a three-horse race for the 3-star offensive lineman from Skyridge High School (Lehi, Utah). Sagapolu made an official visit to Provo with a host of other recruits on December 15.
Oregon and Utah are the other two schools pursuing Sagapolu, and both will be tough to beat out.
Sagapolu already has NFL size at 6-foot-3, 340 pounds and would be a difference maker at whatever school he chooses. 247 Sports has him as the No. 1 rated center in the West.
According to Blair Angulo and Jeff Hansen at 247 Sports, Sagapolu is planning on serving a Church mission before enrolling. Even with his mission plans, he could easily step in after James Empey graduates and start at the center spot for multiple years.