COUGAR TRACKS

Returning Missionaries Factor Heavily In BYU Football’s 2020 Class

Dec 16, 2019, 1:29 AM | Updated: 10:59 pm
The BYU Spirit Squad waves their team flags after running out  before the rivalry game between BYU ...
The BYU Spirit Squad waves their team flags after running out before the rivalry game between BYU and Utah at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019. (Colter Peterson, Deseret News)
(Colter Peterson, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football recruiting is unique. A majority of the high school players that the Cougars sign this Wednesday during the early signing period will leave for two years to serve missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

While most programs around the country are celebrating their 2020 class -BYU will as well -, the potential impact newcomers for BYU reside in the 2017 and 2018 recruiting classes as players start coming back from serving their missions.

So if you’re looking for players that could potentially compete for playing time in 2020, look no further than the players returning home from their Latter-day Saint missions.

“There’s always some guys that are still up in the air. We’re looking to sign most of our guys (we think),” said BYU coach Kalani Sitake in regards to the 2020 class. “We’re also welcoming a bunch of returned missionaries to the group that are starting in January.”

Let’s take a deeper look at those returning missionaries who will be part of the BYU football program in the 2020 season.

Scholarship Returned Missionaries who are expected to enroll in January

Tyler Batty | DL | Payson High

Picked BYU over an offer from the University of Utah, Batty was a three-star defensive lineman coming out of Payson High. Batty has a high motor and was versatile during his high school career. At Payson, he played both defensive line and tight end.

Seth Willis | OL | Sandy Hook, Connecticut

A 6-6, 325-pound lineman from Connecticut, Willis has always viewed BYU as a dream school and he grew up dreaming of playing for the Cougars.

Ryan Rehkow | K/P | Veradale, Washington

Rehkow returned home from his mission during fall camp last August. The younger brother to a former All-American punter in Austin Rehkow who had a brief stint in the NFL and with the Salt Lake Stallions in the short-lived AAF.

Preston Lewis | LB/DL | Lone Peak High

Former Lone Peak standout projects as a linebacker in BYU’s defense, but his highest ceiling might have him play defensive line.

Donovan Hanna | TE | Queen Creek, Arizona

A tight end that was coached by former BYU quarterback Max Hall at American Leadership Academy in Arizona. Hanna is close to 6-6 and has been home from his mission since September.

Mason Fakahua | ATH | Cedar City High

Former quarterback down at Cedar City High, Fakahua was a dual-threat athlete who projects as a defensive back or offensive skill player at BYU.

*****

Other RM’s who could be announced to enroll in January include offensive linemen Lisala Tai and Mango Finau.

Players still serving missions who will be back before Fall Camp 2020

Bentley Hanshaw | TE | Moorpark, California

The son to former BYU and NFL offensive lineman Tim Hanshaw and from the same hometown as BYU legend Dennis Pitta, Bentley is another young promising athlete that will be added to BYU’s tight end room in 2020. He redshirted during his true freshman season in 2017.

Tanner Baker | DE | Acworth, Georgia

Will be a redshirt freshman when he returns from his mission next season. A former tight end in high school, Baker competed on BYU’s scout team defensive line in 2017.

Connor Pay | OL | Lone Peak High

A three-star recruit, Pay had offers and interest from a handful of Power 5 programs coming out of Lone Peak High. The son to former BYU offensive lineman Garry Pay, Connor always had his eyes set on playing at BYU.

Tysen Lewis | OL | Weber High

A versatile lineman who played both offensive tackle and defensive tackle in high school. Lewis was an under-the-radar prospect who garnered some interest from programs on the west coast late in the recruiting cycle leading up to Signing Day two years ago.

Ben Tuipulotu | TE | Fort Mill, South Carolina

The younger brother to current BYU tight end Hank Tuipulotu, Ben joins the Cougar Football program this summer. Tuipulotu is also the son to former BYU great Peter Tuipulotu. Played five different positions, including quarterback, during his high school career.

Campbell Barrington | OL | Spokane, Washington

Barrington was a consensus three-star recruit according to each recruiting service in the class of 2018. Comes from an athletic family. Barrington’s older brother, Clark, is currently on BYU’s offensive line and his father and mother were both collegiate athletes. Like his older brother, Campbell will need to gain a lot of weight before competing for playing time.

Oliver Nasilai | LB | Jessieville, Arkansas

Nicknamed “The Punisher,” Nasilai picked BYU over an offer from Oklahoma State. A big linebacker standing in at 6-2, 245 pounds, could become a defensive lineman in his career with some additional weight. But in high school, he primarily played linebacker where he thrived averaging over 10 tackles per game.

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

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Returning Missionaries Factor Heavily In BYU Football’s 2020 Class