BYU's defense was in sore need of some new blood at the safety position this upcoming season. Hard hitting Craig Bills graduated, Dallin Leavitt transferred, and Kai Nacua might be facing discipline for his role in the post-bowl game brawl in Miami. Hopefully, the Cougars have found someone to help fill the now open spots on the depth chart with one of their January signees.
Eric Takenaka, a 5-10, 205 pound safety who played prep ball at West High (UT) committed to play for the Cougars two weeks ago after playing two seasons at Snow College (UT). Takenaka's official signing with BYU was announced on January 16, and he is currently enrolled in classes for the current semester, which will afford him time in spring ball.
Coming out of Snow, Takenaka was rated a 2-star recruit on the 247 Sports composite and is eligible to play immediately, with two years to play two.
The 2014 season saw Takenaka perform very well for the Badgers. He was second on the team in tackles with 55, and recorded a whopping 8 interceptions (second nationally in JC ranks). He also served as a return man (kickoffs and punts) and occasionally played offense in special packages. He posted a 100-yard pick-6 and averaged 44 yards per kick return on 13 returns. Takenaka was named Honorable Mention All-American and was All-WSFL first team defense.
Viewing his highlights, Takenaka looks like a solid all-around defender despite being a touch undersized than a prototypical safety, good in both pass coverage and run support (as his statistics confirm). He also possesses good return skills, which is never a bad thing to have on your roster.