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BYU Loads Up on JUCO Offensive Linemen

6 February 2013 Brett Richins 8 Comments

Bronco Mendenhall announces BYU’s 2013 recruiting class (BYU photo).

BYU announced the addition of 25 new student athletes to its football program on National Letter of Intent Day on Wednesday.

At least five others unofficially signed on as well, but will go straight on missions after they graduate from high school and were not announced on the list of new recruits.

As expected, Bronco Mendenhall went heavy on offensive linemen, signing four junior college college transfers and four players from high school.

The Cougars’ flurry of contact with JUCO linemen in the final two weeks leading up to signing day is evidence of just how much of a dearth of talent existed along the O-line.

One offensive lineman, Edward Fusi from Mt. San Antonio Community College, was a surprise addition to the class, while committed recruit Quincy Awa-Debose from Moorepark College reportedly had his scholarship pulled by BYU coaches in the last couple of days. Joining Fusi as offensive line transfers were Josh Carter from Eastern Arizona, Tim Duran from Cabrillo College, and De’Ondre Wesley of Diablo Valley Community College.

Wesley is expected to compete for the starting right tackle spot, while Carter could play tackle or guard. Duran will likely play on the inside at guard, while it appears that Fusi takes the place of Awa-Debose and will compete at center.

The star of the group of high school players is Brayden Kearsley from Aloha, Oregon. Kearsley was one of the top offensive guards in the country and committed to the Cougars early before entertaining advances from Oregon State and Arkansas late in the process.

New offensive coordinator Robert Anea told members of the media Wednesday that he expects to “have a lot of fun” coaching Kearsley. Brayden may be able to contribute next season as a true freshman at either center or guard. The other high school signees are Thomas Shoaf from Columbus, Indiana; Keegan Hicks from Bingham High in South Jordan, Utah; and Addison Pulsipher from Temucula, California.

The Cougars also reeled in 13 players on the defensive side of the ball, signing three defensive linemen, five linebackers and five defensive backs. The key signees on defense for 2013 may be two junior college cornerbacks in Trenton Trammell and Sam Lee. Both could see considerable action as the Cougars look for a replacement for boundary corner Preston Hadley.

Five of today’s announced signees are expected to go on missions right out of high school, while BYU reportedly received non-binding letters of commitment from five other athletes who will also go straight into the mission field.

Those players include running back Francis Bernard (5-11, 215) from Herriman High in Utah, wide receiver Inoke Lotulelei (5-9, 175) from Salt Lake’s Cottonwood High, fullback Patrick Palau (5-11, 240) from East High in Salt Lake City, Timpview High linebacker Pita Taumoepenu (6-2, 218), and JC defensive tackle Ma’atua Brown (6-5, 290).

BYU’s announced recruiting class for 2013:

Name Pos. HT,WT Hometown Previous
Chasen Andersen LB 6,0, 218 Logan, UT Logan HS
Josh Carter OL 6-5, 290 Tucson, AZ Eastern Ariz. College
Michael Davis WR 6-2, 180 Glendale, CA Glendale HS
Tim Duran OL 6-4, 290 Puyallup, WA Cabrillo College
Nathan DeBeikes* LB 6-2, 196 Thousand Oaks, CA Thousand Oaks HS
Garrett England* DB 6-4, 190 Salt Lake City, UT Skyline HS
Edward Fusi OL 6-1, 285 Corona, CA Mt. San Antonio CC
Rylee Gautavai LB 6-1, 200 Bountiful, UT Bountiful HS
Billy Green ^ QB 6-2, 196 Woodway, WA King’s HS
Keegan Hicks OL 6-3, 285 South Jordan, UT Bingham HS
Brayden Kearsley OL 6-5, 298 Aloha, OR Aloha HS
Moroni Laulu-Pututau* TE 6-4, 190 Hyrum, UT Mountain Crest HS
Dallin Leavitt DB 6-0, 205 Portland, OR Central Catholic HS
Sam Lee DB 6-0, 180 Brandywine, MD College of the Canyons
Kai Nacua LB 6-2, 205 Henderson, NV Liberty HS
JonRyheem Peoples DL 6-6, 298 Rigby, ID Rigby HS
Trajan Pili LB 6-2, 225 Las Vegas, NV Centennial HS
Addison Pulsipher OL 6-6, 260 Temecula, CA Temecula Valley HS
Thomas Shoaf OL 6-6, 265 Columbus, IN Columbus North HS
Talon Shumway * WR 6-3, 200 Highland, UT Lone Peak HS
Merrill Taliauli DL 6-2, 305 Salt Lake City, UT East HS
Johnny Tapusoa* DB 5-10, 195 Laie, HI Kahuku HS
Trenton Trammell ^ DB 6-0, 190 Oakland, CA City Coll. of San Fran.
Kalolu Utu DL 6-2, 285 Upolu, Samoa Compton CC
De’Ondre Wesley OL 6-6, 310 Pleasant Hill, CA Diablo Valley CC

*plans to serve LDS mission before enrolling
^midyear enrollee (Jan. 2013)

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Watch Robert Anae’s press conference from Wednesday:


 

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8 Comments »

  • LDSBYUConvert said:

    Brett-

    Fantastic job once again and putting Coach Anae’s press conference was brilliant and something I never would have seen unless you brought it to us. Man, what a man and what a coach. Talk about being humble and teachable and yet confident at the same time…he has it. We have seen something that is very rare because he peeled back all the layers and spoke from the heart. In addition, the greatest thing that I heard is that he wants the offense to play hard and to play fast. He also wants the offense to play with as much effort and desire as Bronco’s defense and if they can do that, we will have a hell of a team. Finally, he mentioned about what he, Coach Tujague and Coach Autaia learned under Coach Chow, French and others and how a BYU offense is supposed to work, and how a BYU RB has to do more things than any R in any other program and how it all starts with the OL. How great it was to hear him say that he is going to learn from Coach Tujague on how to be an OL coach…yes Brett you are exactly right when you said that Coach Anae is growing on you.

    Finally, he talked about what he learned the last two years at Arizona and that there is no way that he would have learned what he did unless he had left and gone there. To be the only coach that Coach Rodriguez kept is a tremendous testament to his ability. This is exactly the kind of coach that we needed. One who is not a player’s coach but one who will require the very best out of his players in effort and position and playbook mastery. I don’t know how it will all turn out but you have to take your hat off to Coach Anae and applaud him for coming back, taking on this challenge and saying that he will do things differently than he did his first six years here. Man, every BYU fan has to be fired up for the team and for this next season, which should be the best schedule that BYU has ever had. WELCOME BACK COACH ANAE & GO COUGS!

  • BigCougar said:

    Brett,
    Any word why Awa-DeBose had his scholly pulled? Also I don’t think Fusi was the only surprise. I don’t recall seeing Pita Taumoepenu’s name anywhere, at least not on Scout.com.

    Any word or suspicions who the 2 remaining coaches will be? Clark & Peterson?

  • BigCougar said:

    Interesting…I just read in a DN article that Pita Taumoepenu had a Utah state record 25 sacks last season in his only season of high school football. He’ll go on a mission first before playing. He sounds like an interesting prospect and maybe the sleeper of this class.

  • Brett Richins (author) said:

    BigCougar,

    Word on the street regarding Awa-Debose is that there were some honor code concerns that developed following his being offered and so the coaches made a decision to go in another direction.

    Taumoepenu’s name had been circulating out there for a while, but Fusi’s came out of nowhere. Pita is a spectacular talent who grew up playing rugby. If he can raise his ACT score, he should be good to go. It’s not that he is dumb, he just didn’t speak much English when he came to the U.S.

    As to your coaching question, Clark and Peterson were interviewed some time ago, so I would think that if they were serious candidates they would have been announced by now.

    I believe once Detmer told them no, that the decision was made to bring in coaches with solid track records at the FBS level, but that getting in the recruits — particularly on the O-line took priority. I’m sure that something will break here in the next week or two.

  • Pharmingdonkey said:

    Is there any talk of a TE coach? All I hear and read is on QB and receivers. Is Anae the coordinator, (assistant) o-line coach, and TE? The TE position has been lacking and to be a complete offense these guys play an integral role (i.e. Harline, Pitta, George).

  • Brett Richins (author) said:

    LDSBYUConvert,

    Robert’s demeanor was a 180 from when he was here the last time around. I think that BYU fans have to be excited about what they heard from him yesterday.

    I’m still not sold on having the QB running the ball. In my opinion, even a player with the running ability of Taysom Hill should typically be running only after the second or third options in the passing game are covered.

    I’m OK with a called QB run every once in a great while to keep defenses off balance and force them respect having to cover that eleventh man on the field, but I don’t see BYU consistently being able to recruit guys that can make the running QB style work.

    Despite the current excitement about the running QBs in the NFL, I don’t think that it will last long term. RG3’s injury should make GM’s wary of that approach and NFL defenses can easily devise ways to get regular shots on the QB.

    You saw Baltimore doing some of that in the Super Bowl against Kaepernick in the read option. Once the QB establishes himself as a potential runner in the read option, defenses can blast him, whether he has the ball or not.

    As the spread option stuff proliferates the college game, I would like to see BYU become the place where pro style quarterbacks can come to be better prepared for the NFL.

  • Brett Richins (author) said:

    Pharmingdonkey,

    That’s a real interesting question. I’m not sure Anae can handle being the OC, assist with the O-line and coach the tight ends. If Bronco learned one thing through the struggles of Doman, is that his OC was spread too thin when Brandon also retained the quarterbacks. Perhaps the new receivers coach will coach both the outside and inside receivers.

  • Seasider said:

    I’m sure Anae is aware of what happened to Taysom Hill and Riley Nelson last season which is probably why he mentioned learning from Richrod how to use running QB effectively and preserve him throughout the season.

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