On the eve of National Signing Day, Brigham Young Cougars head coach Bronco Mendenhall prepares to welcome the 2012 recruiting class.
When looking at the list of committed players, it is hard to miss that the vast majority are defensive players. Eleven of the 16 commitments are expected to play D at the Y. That is a ratio of 2.2:1. The 16 total signees is the smallest class BYU has signed since Bronco Mendenhall became head coach following the 2004 season. It will feel even smaller with at least three players (Phillip Amone, Troy Hinds, Tanner Mangum) planning to defer enrollment until after serving church missions for two years.
One constant at BYU is the family ties that players share with past and present players. The class of 2012 is no different. Wide receiver recruit Dylan Collie will play the same position as his father Scott Collie and brothers of Zac and Austin. Tanner Mangum’s older brother Parker played for BYU from 2007-09. Matt Hadley will join his brother Spencer who currently plays linebacker for the Cougars. Butch Pau'u is the nephew of former player and current assistant coach Steve Kaufusi, as well as a cousin to Uona Kaveinga and Hebron Fangupo.
A noticeable difference between the 2012 recruiting class and others is the complete absence of signees from Bingham and Timpview high schools. These have been major suppliers of in-state talent to BYU in recent years. It is also noticeable that just one-fourth of the class comes from Utah high schools. The 2012 class is pretty diverse. Players come from six different states (Washington, Arizona, Idaho, Florida, California, and Utah).
The long-term impact of this diversity could be an intangible benefit that helps BYU move to the next level. High school football in Florida is as serious and competitive as it comes. Butch Pau’u and Jherremya Leuta-Douyere come from Servite High School in California. Servite is a top notch football program. Micah Hannemann (Lone Peak High School, Utah) played for the state champions. Josh Weeks was first-team all-state for three years in Arizona. Mangum was the Elite 11 MVP last summer. The bottom line is that these playes are the cream of the crop. They have played amidst other great players and still risen to the top. They know what it takes to win and be the best, which should be an asset that helps elevate the program.
Lately, Mendenhall has been taking chances on players with little football experience, but great potential. In 2010, Collin Keoshian signed with BYU after playing eight-man football. Also in 2010, Mendenhall welcomed African native Ezekiel Ansah to the team who was a member of the BYU track and field team. The results have been mixed, but that didn’t stop Mendenhall from offering Sawyer Powell a scholarship this year. His athleticism is off the charts, but his football resume is thin.
That’s the 2012 BYU signing class in a nutshell. BLUE COUGAR FOOTBALL will have more details on the class of 2012 as these players make their commitments official on Wednesday, February 1.
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