BYU Football Excited For Talented Preferred Walk-On Class

Feb 6, 2023, 4:40 PM | Updated: 4:45 pm

PROVO, Utah Tyler Allgeier, Dax Milne, Dennis Pitta, what did they all have in common in their BYU football careers? All three former stars joined the BYU program as preferred walk-ons.

There’s a rich history of preferred walk-ons emerging as stars at BYU. Eighth-year head coach Kalani Sitake looks to continue that tradition as the Cougars move into the Big 12 Conference.

Kalani Sitake on BYU’s PWOs: “Legit scholarship guys”

“When you look at the signing class, but then you look at the preferred walk-ons, there are legitimate scholarship guys in this group of preferred walk-ons. It’s amazing talent. These guys have turned down scholarships to be here at BYU,” said Sitake to KSL Sports.

Due to archaic NCAA rules, teams cannot speak on specific preferred walk-on prospects until they enroll. So the specifics of BYU’s preferred walk-on class can’t be discussed by Sitake or his staff.

But it’s not difficult to figure out which prospects signed to BYU as PWOs. The prospects that announced on social media commitments to BYU but didn’t have their names land on BYU’s official signing day list typically fall under the preferred walk-on category.

The 2023 class produced 20 preferred walk-on commits. Some are from the high school ranks. Others are Junior College transfers or Division I Transfer Portal prospects.

Some PWO commits could be greyshirts in 2023 or serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints this fall. Then a portion will likely compete for playing opportunities when BYU kicks off fall camp in August with a 110-man roster.

Big 12 played a role in BYU football landing higher-profile Walk-Ons

So what gave BYU success in landing a higher-quality walk-on prospect?

“The fact that we’re in the Big 12 and being a ‘P5’ had a role in that. That brought a little bit more flair and a little bit more intrigue for these players. And when they came on the trip, they feel like, ‘hey, I can’t pass up on this opportunity to go to the Big 12 and play against such a great schedule and to play with this program,'” said Sitake.

BYU landed a PWO quarterback named Drew Cowart from Arizona, who held a reported scholarship offer from Middle Tennessee. Cowart is the son of former BYU defensive lineman Jeff Cowart. He also prepped at American Leadership Academy, where former BYU greats Max Hall and Ty Detmer work.

Naseri Danielson, a 6-foot-2 athlete from Stockton, California, picked the PWO offer at BYU over scholarship opportunities at Air Force, Army, and Nevada.

BYU also added five Division I Transfer Portal commits. Two of the five are from the FBS level.

Transfer Portal Preferred Walk-On commits

  • Wyatt Dawe | DT | Southern Utah University
  • Will Ferrin | K | Boise State
  • Dylan Flowers | CB | SUU
  • Nuu Sellesin | DL | Weber State
  • Crew Wakley | DB | Utah State

PWOs from JUCO

  • Stone Mulitalo | DL | Snow College
  • John Taumoepeau | DL | Snow

BYU football PWO high school commits for the class of 2023

  • Drew Cowart | QB | Queen Creek, Arizona

  • Naseri Danielson | ATH | Stockton, California

  • Bridger Davies | ATH | Corner Canyon High

  • Kevin Doe | ATH | East High

  • Jared Esplin | WR | Timpview High

  • Jake Hill | ATH | Snow Canyon High

  • Jackson Nelson | OL | Salem Hills High

  • Strantz Mangisi | OL | Provo High

  • Maverick McManus | DL | Westlake High

  • Sonasi Po’uha | OL | Bingham High

  • Ian Sanches | K | Lone Peak High

  • Gage Tanner | LB | Meridian, Idaho

  • Prince Zombo | WR | Peoria, Arizona

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and hoMitch’she Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU moving to the Big 12 Conference on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Football Excited For Talented Preferred Walk-On Class