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BYU’s Three Biggest Position Needs For 2020 Recruiting Class

Rain falls at LaVell Edwards Stadium about an hour before Brigham Young University faces Boise State in NCAA football in Provo on Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019. (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – With the regular season well into the rearview mirror, one would think that things start to slow down for college football programs around the country. That just isn’t the case. December is one of the busiest months for programs.

BYU is one of the 80 FBS programs that’s currently juggling bowl practices and putting the final touches on their 2020 recruiting class as the early National Signing Period begins next week.

With 21 commits currently, BYU will look to have a strong finish with their recruiting class coming up this weekend. To get a strong finish, BYU will need to address the three positions that have the biggest needs on their roster.

Running Back

Ty’Son Williams is applying for a medical hardship waiver to come back next year in 2020, but there are no guarantees with him receiving an extra year from the NCAA. So BYU is projecting into 2020 and beyond with no Williams at the moment.

The Cougars return Lopini Katoa, Jackson McChesney, and Sione Finau when he is fully cleared from the season-ending ACL injury he suffered last month.

BYU has a pair of commitments in their 2020 class from high school running backs right now in Bruce Garrett from Texarkana, Texas and Nukuluve Helu from Tooele. Garrett has been a standout in the state of Texas rushing for 1,438 yards and averaging eight yards per carry. Garrett and his Pleasant Grove squad are in the Texas State Semifinals and will play on Friday against Midland Greenwood.

Helu quietly piled up 1,178 rushing yards in his senior season with Tooele and drew interest from Washington throughout his final year with the Buffaloes.

Garrett will enroll and compete in the 2020 season while Helu will leave to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Look for BYU to be active with the transfer portal once again like they were last spring when they landed Williams from South Carolina and Emmanuel Esukpa from Rice.

Wide Receiver

BYU loses its top three wide receivers to graduation after the Hawaii Bowl concludes on Christmas Eve. Replacing Micah Simon, Talon Shumway, and Aleva Hifo will be a tough task. Sophomores Gunner Romney and Dax Milne along with freshman Keanu Hill will have the inside track to be starters next season. Redshirt junior Neil Pau’u also returns from his season-long suspension after being arrested for impaired driving.

Despite some young promising prospects at the top next year, BYU wants to bolster their depth by adding players who will instantly compete for playing time.

Mt. San Antonio College transfer Christopher Jackson committed to BYU last month and plans to sign next week. Jackson’s speed will give him an immediate opportunity for playing time in 2020. BYU also has a commitment from an intriguing prospect in Terence Fall. Fall was born and raised in France is relatively new to the game of football. A 6-2, 185-pound athletic target who now lives in San Bernardino, California, is an under-the-radar prospect that has the potential for a high ceiling.

The other two receivers include Koa Eldredge from Punahou, Hawaii and Devin Downing out of American Fork. Eldredge is committed to playing both football and baseball for the Cougars. Downing plans to serve a mission before enrolling at BYU.

One of the top priorities for BYU’s 2020 class that remains uncommitted is Mater Dei High School wide receiver Kody Epps. Epps will be taking an official visit this weekend to Provo and is mulling over offers from Oregon, Nevada, San Jose State, and UNLV.

Cornerback

When Kalani Sitake took over as head coach in 2016, cornerback has consistently been a position of need in recruiting for BYU. It continues to be a pressing need for the 2020 recruiting class. BYU loses do-it-all senior Dayan Ghanwoloku after the Hawaii Bowl to graduation, but everyone else returns including starter Chris Wilcox who redshirted this season.

Most of BYU’s uncommitted work for the 2020 recruiting class resides at cornerback. Chandler, Arizona’s Micah Harper will be taking an official visit to BYU this weekend. BYU is one of a handful of schools that is in the mix for Harper. Others include San Diego State, Nevada, Syracuse, and the military academies.

Orem High’s Jakob Robinson will be visiting this weekend along with a trio of junior college cornerbacks.

BYU is also hoping to get junior college signee Eric Ellison enrolled this January. Ellison redshirted this season while he worked on his academics at Mt. San Jacinto College.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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