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Where BYU Football’s 2022 Recruiting Class Stacks Up In New Big 12

Feb 21, 2022, 3:26 PM
BYU Football - Baylor - Big 12...
BYU Football lines up for a coin toss against future Big 12 rival Baylor on October 16, 2021. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO, Utah – BYU football pulled in the best recruiting class of the Kalani Sitake era during the 2022 recruiting cycle. It was an impressive haul with signs of a program capitalizing off on-field success, getting players to the NFL, and receiving membership into the Big 12 Conference.

BYU’s 2022 class finished 56th nationally in the 247Sports Team rankings and had an average recruiting rating of 0.8398 (think of the rating from a 0 to 100 scale).

It has been hard to gauge BYU’s recruiting classes for years because of a lack of conference affiliation. As an Independent, BYU has played anyone they could from coast-to-coast, so the rule of thumb for BYU was identifying prospects that fit the school and the football program.

But that changes with the move to the Big 12 Conference beginning in 2023. As a result, BYU now knows who they have to stack up against on an annual basis, and one of those teams, BYU got a first-hand lesson from in Big 12 Champion Baylor, who beat BYU 38-24 last October in Waco.

Once known for its high-powered offenses, the Big 12 displayed a tough, physical brand of football led by two teams that featured excellent defenses in Baylor and Oklahoma State. Both of those programs aren’t running for the massive payday in the SEC. Those two are in the new Big 12 for the long haul, and they likely have their eyes set on emerging as the new bluebloods in the league.

So how did BYU’s 2022 class stack up in the new Big 12 that doesn’t include Oklahoma and Texas? There is work for BYU to climb the ladder in recruiting.

New Big 12 Team Recruiting Rankings for Class of 2022

Based on 247Sports’ Team Composite Rankings

1. Oklahoma State (29)

2. West Virginia (35)

3. Baylor (36)

4. Iowa State (39)

5. Cincinnati (42)

6. Texas Tech (43)

7. TCU (44)

8. Houston (50)

9. UCF (52)

10. BYU (56)

11. Kansas State (62)

12. Kansas (123)

Top Average Rating Per Recruit

1. TCU – 0.8776

2. Oklahoma State – 0.8728

3. Baylor – 0.8685

4. UCF – 0.8671

5. West Virginia – 0.8663

6. Texas Tech – 0.8648

7. Cincinnati – 0.8638

8. Iowa State – 0.8621

9. Houston – 0.8596

10. Kansas State – 0.8480

11. Kansas – 0.8427

12. BYU – 0.8398

Where does BYU football go from here?

When stacked up against its future long-term conference mates, BYU’s recruiting class ranking probably isn’t a fair comparison. Many schools in the Big 12 have double or triple the number of support staff in the recruiting department compared to the Cougars. However, that’s expected to change soon as part of Kalani Sitake’s “unprecedented” extension that will add additional support staff. But it’s a starting point.

It does show that if BYU could find a way to put together a top 25 haul in the future, they’ll have a chance to have the league’s best class. However, it also shows that BYU will need to develop three-star talent into blue-chip players when they leave Provo.

What helps Kalani Sitake’s program is that they have done a great job at maintaining personnel, despite having the Transfer Portal available to anyone at a moment’s notice. Develop from within, maintain the talent, land a higher percentage of top-tier Latter-day Saint athletes, BYU won’t find themselves staring up at their conference peers for long.

Closing the gap in the Transfer Portal

BYU currently has the sixth-best Transfer Portal class among the new Big 12 programs in the 2022 portal cycle. Landing Oregon offensive lineman Kingsley Suamataia was one of the biggest gets in the transfer portal this year. Plus, landing Christopher Brooks from Cal as a potential replacement to Tyler Allgeier and Stanford’s Houston Heimuli as a walk-on, this group of transfers shows BYU can close the recruiting gap when they identify fits out of the portal.

 

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TCU is No. 9 nationally in the Transfer Portal class ratings according to 247Sports, with UCF also earning a Top 25 transfer class at No. 17.

An early look at 2023

The 2023 recruiting cycle will be the first full year where BYU football has had the opportunity to pitch a future in a Power Five conference to recruits. And BYU is making sure to do that. Every edit or image that recruits receive from the program is accompanied by a Big 12 logo somewhere in the graphic.

It will be interesting to see what bump in the recruiting rankings Big 12 affiliation provides BYU on the recruiting trail, as they have offered some heralded prospects in this 2023 cycle. Some of the notables include four-star prospects Walker Lyons (TE, Folsom, California), Spencer Fano (OT, Timpview), Siale Esera (LB, Timpview), and Hunter Clegg (OE, American Fork). Then there’s also five-star cornerback Cormani McClain, who still has BYU in his top eight schools.

Suppose the NCAA eliminates the limitation on the number of official visits a student-athlete can potentially take. In that case, it could be a game-changer for BYU, which relies heavily on getting prospects on campus.

Interesting days ahead on the recruiting trail for BYU in this ramp-up phase before Big 12 membership goes into effect beginning on July 1, 2023.

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 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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