Returning Missionaries Factor Heavily In BYU Football’s 2020 Class
Dec 16, 2019, 1:29 AM | Updated: 10:59 pm
(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.
Players returning home from missions and mid year transfers will likely be the focus of #BYU’s early Signing Day festivities later this week. #NSD20 #BYUFootball pic.twitter.com/65S14ZbTYF
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) December 16, 2019
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.
BYU beats out Utah and Utah State for Tyler Batty from Payton High. https://t.co/ML9E53lpJp
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) December 16, 2016
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.
Last tweet for 2 years, thank you to everyone who has helped me thus far, now it's time to return the favor!🇬🇧 pic.twitter.com/0ZCT13Dd3P
— Ryan Rehkow (@r_rehkow24) August 22, 2017
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.
Coming soon…😈🔵⚪️ pic.twitter.com/4i1NK61KKP
— Donovan Hanna (@donnyd119) January 24, 2017
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.
Bentley Hanshaw is in. Bentley’s dad, Tim, played alongside Mike Empey back in the day at #BYU. Offers from Oregon St, Utah, USU. #BYUNSD17
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) February 1, 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.
Signing off twitter for a couple years! So pumped to go serve the lord and the people of DC!! My email is: Connor.email@example.com See ya in 2! #dcsouthmission pic.twitter.com/dniufvbDxS
— Connor Pay (@cpay73) July 17, 2018
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.
Kicking off Signing Day with Weber lineman Tysen Lewis signing his football NLI to #BYU pic.twitter.com/M2t3iAOvzq
— Patrick Carr (@patrickcarr_) December 20, 2017
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
Blessed to say I've received an offer from BYU. Grateful to them and there staff for the great changes they've made and for the opportunity! pic.twitter.com/9zAwts594s
— Oliver Nasilai (@TheKing_O35) October 25, 2016
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.
BYU Cougars Scoreboard
BYU Cougars Team Leaders
BYU Cougars Standings