What We Learned From BYU’s 2020 Recruiting Class
PROVO, Utah – Another recruiting cycle has come and gone and BYU signed 27 play from the 2020 recruiting class. Let’s take a look at some of the things we learned from BYU’s class.
Landing signatures from linebackers Tate Romney and Bodie Schoonover were critical to BYU’s class. Romney, the younger brother to quarterback Baylor and wide receiver Gunner, is the closest thing BYU signed to a polished product from the high school ranks in this class. BYU will have to wait to see him play as he will serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before enrolling. But when he comes back, he has the talent to be an immediate contributor.
Schoonover could play a variety of positions at BYU. With his unique combination of size and athleticism, if he adds more weight, he could be a defensive end down the road. After a strong push from UCLA that had the American Fork product mulling his options, he ultimately fulfills a childhood dream signing with BYU.
Kalani Sitake continues to try and build a program that has 123-players that can provide competitive depth. This 2020 class helps with that. Players such as defensive lineman John Nelson out of Salem Hills are developmental prospects but in the words of Ilaisa Tuiaki, Nelson is a “freak” athlete with his speed at 6-5 260 pounds.
Those type of athletes is what BYU needs more than ever to help field a roster that has talent in the second, third, and fourth units.
Opportunities to improve in the state of Utah
BYU landed one of the top five recruits in the state from the 2020 class in Schoonover. Other than that, rival Utah dominated on the local front securing five of the top 10 and technically six if you count Mason Falsev who will play for the Runnin’ Utes.
Local prospects are becoming increasingly trickier for BYU as they have to go up against an in-state Power 5 program in Utah and then the entire country is making sure to scout this state more than ever before.
Players such as Timpview’s Logan Pili drew interest from Michigan State and Penn State and Corner Canyon star Josh Wilson had opportunities from Power 5 teams as well. But both shut down their recruitment to uphold their commitment to Sitake and the staff.
BYU still has a lot of appeal to local kids that are members of the Church, but the Cougars have to start winning at a higher clip if they want to be in the mix for more the elite in-state talent going forward. Kalani Sitake and his staff already have a commitment from the state’s No. 3 prospect in Timpview’s Raider Damuni for the 2021 class.
Sitake believes this 2020 class gives BYU a lot more speed in his program. Signing Day addition Miles Davis from Las Vegas is maybe the fastest player BYU has signed since Kalani Sitake took over as head coach in 2016. Under Sitake, BYU has loved prospects that excel on the gridiron and in track and field. Davis was a dual-sport star down in Sin City along with safety’s Dean Jones, Preston Rex, and Ty Burke. JUCO wide receiver Chris Jackson who will enroll in April is another speedster who signed with the Cougars back in December.
Potential difference makers in 2020
When analyzing a BYU recruiting class, you always have to sort through the prospects that are leaving for two-year missions with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and players who will compete in the upcoming season. BYU has a good balance within this 2020 class.
Wide receiver Kody Epps out of Mater Dei High School is the player that everyone will be zeroing in on to make an immediate contribution in BYU’s offense. Epps was the best receiver one of the nation’s best high school teams. Due to Epps’ 5-10 stature, Power 5 programs held off on extending him a scholarship, but BYU was on him for a long time and they signed the talented receiver.
Along with Epps, Utah transfer Devonta’e Henry-Cole is coming to BYU with the opportunity to be an immediate contributor this season. As a graduate transfer, that has to be the expectation. Henry-Cole had a few injuries during his career with the Utes and he was lost in the shuffle in a backfield that featured Utah’s best running back ever in Zack Moss. Henry-Cole isn’t the automatic starter, but he’s got a great shot to be the top ball carrier the first day he steps on campus.
On the defensive side, cornerback Micah Harper out of Basha High School in Arizona has already drawn comparisons to former BYU corner Dayan Ghanwoloku. Cornerback was an area of need in BYU’s 2020 class and Harper will look to push D’Angelo Mandell, Isaiah Herron, and JUCO transfer Jacques Wilson for immediate playing time.
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.