PROVO, Utah (ABC 4 Sports) - BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall today announced that 24 high school and junior college players have signed a national letter of intent to join the BYU football program.
In addition to the new signees, two mid-year enrollees and eight scholarship players who are returning from serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints will be joining the program.
“We are excited to have this next excellent group of young men join our program,” Mendenhall said. “We recruit young men who are talented football players, quality students and exceptional individuals. This class, along with those we have returning from missions, will help us continue to build and grow as one of the nation’s top programs.”
BYU is coming off another winning season, capped off by its fourth straight bowl victory – its sixth in eight years and eighth consecutive postseason appearance. No school has won more bowl games over that time span while BYU has achieved a No. 12 ranking in total victories with 74.
Including the mid-year enrollees, the 2013 class includes 19 high school seniors and seven junior college transfers, including two returned missionaries. The class includes 14 defensive and 12 offensive players.
Four of the junior college transfers will help add immediate depth to the offensive line. Signing with BYU on Wednesday were Josh Carter (6-5, 290 pounds) from Eastern Arizona College, Tim Duran (6-4, 290) from Cabrillo, College, Edward Fusi (6-1, 285) from Mt. San Antonio College, and De’Ondre Wesley (6-6, 310) out of Diablo Valley Community College.
From the high school ranks comes four-star recruit (Scout.com and Rivals.com) Brayden Kearsley, a 6-foot-5, 298-pound offensive lineman rated the No. 3 overall prospect out of the state of Oregon. Rivals.com ranks Kearsley the No. 25 tackle and Scout.com puts him as the No. 16 guard, recognizing his versatility on the line.
Kearsley joins three-star recruit Thomas Shoaf as another versatile player slated for the offensive line. Shoaf, at 6-foot-6, 265 pounds, was rated the No. 15 overall prospect from Indiana and was a two-way standout at Columbia North High School.
Offensive linemen Keegan Hicks (6-3, 285 pounds out of Bingham High School) and Addison Pulsipher (6-6, 260, Temecula Valley High School) also signed on Wednesday, giving the Cougars eight new players up front among the program’s 12 offensive signees. The other four newcomers on offense include two wide receivers, one tight end and one quarterback.
Strengthening the receiving corps are wideouts Michael Davis and Talon Shumway and tight end Moroni Laulu-Pututau. Davis is a 6-foot-2, 180-pound speedster from Glendale, Calif., while Shumway is a 6-foot-3, 200-pound Utah County product out of Lone Peak High School. Shumway plans to serve an LDS mission prior to enrolling. Laulu-Pututau, a 6-4, 190-pounder out of Cache Valley’s Mountain Crest High School also has mission plans before his enrollment.
Billy Green, a two-time first-team All-State quarterback and conference MVP from King’s High School in Seattle, Wash., joined the program in January a mid-year enrollee.
One the defensive side of the ball, BYU adds six defensive backs, five linebackers and three defensive linemen.
Another mid-year enrollee, the 6-foot, 190-pound Trenton Trammell helped the City College of San Francisco Rams achieve a 22-2 record and advance to the state title game in both seasons, winning the title in 2011. He had a conference-best 19 passes defended in 2011 en route to the Rams earning the No. 1 ranking in the nation by JCFootball.com.
Joining Trammell at cornerback is another transfer, Sam Lee, a 6-foot, 180 pounder from Brandywine, Md., who played the last two years at College of the Canyons in California after an LDS mission to Atlanta, Ga. Utah talents Garrett England (6-4, 190, Skyline HS) and Jordan Preator (6-0, 180, Fremont HS) along with Portland, Oregon’s Dallin Leavitt (6-0, 205, Central Catholic HS) and Laie, Hawaii’s Johnny Tapusoa (5-10, 195, Kahuku HS) provide strong additions to the secondary.
At linebacker, BYU adds five newcomers, including Chasen Andersen, the son of former Utah State and current Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen. Las Vegas products Trajan Pili (6-2, 225, Centennial HS) and Kai Nacua (6-2, 205, Liberty HS) also join the linebacking corps along with Nathan DeBeikes (6-2, 196, Thousand Oaks HS) and Rylee Gautavai (6-1, 200, Bountiful HS).
Starring at Logan High School, Andersen led the state of Utah with 160 tackles as an All-State player while Pili was rated the No. 7 prospect out of Nevada by Rivals.com and was a member of Team USA at the All-American International Bowl.
Along the defensive line, 6-foot-6, 298-pound JonRyheem Peoples from Rigby, Idaho, brings his considerable talents to Provo. A three-star recruit, Peoples attended the National Underclassmen Combine in Boise and was named overall MVP and top defensive lineman. He is joined on the defensive front by 6-foot-2, 285-pound junior college transfer Kalolo Utu from Upolu, Samoa by way of Compton Community College and 6-foot-2, 305-pound East High School standout Merrill Taliauli from Salt Lake City.
Overall, eight of the signees come from Utah and six are from California. Members of the class also include two from Oregon, Nevada and Washington and one each from Arizona, Washington, Maryland, Idaho, Indiana, Hawai’i and American Samoa.
Of the eight additional players returning from missions, four are on the defensive side and four are offensive players. On offense, there are two running backs, one offensive lineman and one tight end returning while on defense two defensive lineman return along with two linebackers. A list of players is included below.
In addition to the players who signed National Letters of Intent on Wednesday, there are a handful of high school seniors who plan to go directly on LDS Church missions that BYU is committed to but is precluded from commenting on per NCAA rules since they have not signed an NLI for the coming year. The NCAA places a limit on the number of NLIs an institution can award each year.
2013 Recruiting Class Bios
The son of former Utah State and current Wisconsin head coach Gary Andersen … a 4-A All-State honoree … named All-Valley MVP and All-Region MVP … led the state of Utah in tackles with 160 in 2012 and had three pass deflections and two fumble recoveries … rated No. 96 linebacker on Scout.com … also recruited by Utah State and Wisconsin
Eastern Arizona College
Named 2nd team All-Southern Arizona … helped the Gila Monsters average 323.6 rushing yards per game to lead the Western States Football League and score 31 points per game … offensive MVP at MVHS… team captain… served an LDS mission to Salt Lake City … also recruited by Arizona, Boise State, California, Colorado, Oregon State, Oregon, San Diego State, UCLA, UNLV, Utah, Washington and Wyoming
A first-team All-Pacific League wide receiver … as a senior, had 33 catches, 409 yards and three touchdowns, rushed 39 times for 258 yards and two scores, and returned 13 kicks for 394 yards, including a 99-yard return … caught 52 passes for 857 yards and seven touchdowns and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns in 2011 … played defensive back for Glendale, recording 45 tackles as a senior … also ran the 100-meters in 10.67 seconds and 200-meters in 21.4 seconds and finished seventh at the California state championship … also recruited by Hawai’i, Iowa State, New Mexico State, Oregon, San Diego State and USC
Thousand Oaks, California
Thousand Oaks HS
Named a first-team All-Ventura County running back … first-team All-Marmonte League and first-team All-Academic Ventura County … MVP of the 2012 season at Thousand Oaks HS while being selected as a Scholar Athlete … named All-CIF … posted 91 tackles, returned nine kicks for 171 yards, rushed for 935 yards and 10 touchdowns and caught 44 passes for 390 yards and two scores in 2012 … as a junior was first-team honoree in county and in league … totaled 66 tackles, five sacks and three interceptions as a junior while rushing for 1,303 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2011 … also recruited by Army, Boise State, Boston College, Colorado, Iowa State, Yale, Princeton and Utah
Can play tackle or guard … a unanimous Coast Conference All-Conference first-team selection … a first-team All-State honoree … a Larry Siemering Award winner, given to the top offensive lineman … a 2012 team captain for Cabrillo College … a member of the honor society and dean’s list
Salt Lake City
A 4A first-team All-State selection from the DesNews and second-team honoree from by the Salt Lake Tribune … Logged 43 tackles and one interception as a senior and rushed for 292 yards and five touchdowns in Skyline’s option attack … also recorded 34 receptions for 382 yards and five more scores … had two interceptions in 2011 … also played basketball at Skyline
Mt. San Antonio Community College
A first-team All-Conference selection in the North Central Conference …helped lead San Antonio to a 11-1 season record, including 6-0 in conference … played in the Southern California Championship Game in 2012 … part of an offensive unit that averaged 421.5 total yards and 34.6 yards per game … also recruited by Alabama, Mississippi, Oregon State and UCLA
A two-time first-team All-State honoree … led Bountiful with 117 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 2012 … had 122 tackles as a junior to go along with 2.5 sacks and two interceptions … posted 63 tackles and an interception as a sophomore … led Bountiful to 25 wins in three years
Mid-year enrollee … is a two-time first-team AP All-State quarterback and Cascade Conference Offensive Most Valuable Player … led King’s High School to an 11-1 season as a senior in 2012 … completed 196 of 304 passes for 2,997 yards and 46 touchdowns … the dual-threat signal caller also rushed 80 times for 432 yards and six scores … passed for 2,397 yards and 40 touchdowns as a junior while adding four rushing touchdowns … 2011 Football Universe Regional Top Gun MVP and National Underclassman Regional MVP … also recruited by Notre Dame, Oregon State, UCLA, Utah, Washington and Washington State, among others
South Jordan, Utah
Ranked No. 30 center by Scout.com … helped Bingham to a 10-3 record as a senior, 9-3 as a junior and perfect 13-0 season and state title as a sophomore … helped Bingham rushing offense to 202 yards per game and score 33.8 points per game … rated No. 35 overall prospect in Utah … second-team All-State honoree … also recruited by Utah State and Utah
A four-star recruit on both Scout.com and Rivals.com … a three-year starter for Aloha HS that posted triple digit pancakes and zero sacks allowed in three years … An All-State performer all four years of high school … rated No. 3 prospect in state of Oregon … No. 25 offensive tackle by Rivals.com and No. 16 guard by Scout.com … played in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl Game … helped Aloha to state title in 2010 … also recruited by Arizona State, Arkansas, Oregon State, Washington, Colorado, Hawai’i, Kansas, UCLA, USC and Utah
Mountain Crest HS
Rated No. 26 overall prospect in state of Utah by 247Sports … caught 46 passes for 737 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior … helped Mountain Crest to a 12-4 record as a senior and a berth in the state title game … a three-sport athlete … also recruited by Notre Dame and Utah
Central Catholic HS
Rated No. 5 prospect in state of Oregon … named Oregon Co-Defensive Player of the Year … 2012 first-team All-State honoree … No. 95 safety on Scout.com … totaled 71 tackles including two sacks while forcing two fumbles and recording two interceptions … as a junior in 2011, snagged six interceptions to go along with a sack and 62 tackles … also recruited by Arizona State, California, Colorado, Hawai’i, Oregon State, Missouri, Stanford, Purdue, UCLA, Wyoming and Utah
College of the Canyons
A big physical corner with size and speed … posted one interception which he returned 67 yards to go along with 22 tackles in 2012 … part of a defensive secondary that allowed a completion percentage of just 54 percent and gave up just 193 yards in the air per game … Served an LDS mission to Atlanta, Georgia … also recruited by Maryland, New Mexico and Texas State
A first-team All-State selection on defense … as a senior recorded 57 tackles and two interceptions … also played as an option quarterback in high school … threw for 1,128 yards and nine scores while rushing for 758 yards and 16 touchdowns … also caught 11 passes for 333 yards as a senior … passed for 1,538 yards and 14 touchdowns and rushed for 540 yards and six touchdowns in 2011 … totaled 21 tackles as a junior with three interceptions … led the Patriots to a 11-2 record in each of his sophomore, junior and senior seasons … also recruited by Nevada, UNLV, Northern Arizona and North Dakota
A three-star recruit … rated No. 52 defensive tackle by Rivals.com … rated No. 4 prospect in state of Idaho by Scout.com … attended National Underclassman Combine in Boise and was named overall MVP and top defensive lineman … recorded 65 tackles, five sacks, forced three fumbles, batted down three passes and blocked one field goal … named first-team All-Area and All-Conference and second-team All-State … Also recruited by Idaho, Oregon State, Utah and Utah State
Las Vegas, Nevada
Rated No. 7 prospect in Nevada by Rivals.com … the No. 3 prospect in Nevada and No. 92 outside linebacker in the nation by 247Sports … 2012 All-State defensive end … a first-team All-Conference player on both offense and defense in 2012 … … played in the All-American International Bowl for Team USA … a two-time All-Poly Camp MVP … named top underclassman at BYU Nike Training Camp … 2012 Army and Marine Combine Invitee … recorded 67 tackles and seven sacks as a senior and also caught 13 passes for 204 yards and two touchdowns … notched 79 tackles, five sacks and two forced fumbles in 2011 … a scholar athlete all four years of high school … also recruited by Stanford, Oregon, Nebraska, Cal Berkley, Utah, Washington, Nevada, Missouri and San Jose State
Plain City, Utah
Totaled 107 tackles and eight interceptions in high school … played some quarterback, passing for 376 yards but running for 1,169 yards and 12 touchdowns in prep career … helped Fremont to an 11-3 record and to Utah 5A state title game in 2011 … also played prep basketball for the Silver Wolves … also recruited by Hawai’i, Utah and Utah State
Temecula Valley HS
Totaled 15 tackles on the defensive line as a senior … named first-team All-Southwestern on offensive line and second-team All-Southwestern on defensive line … a three-star recruit by 247Sports and rated the No. 147 prospect in the state of California … brother, Adam, signed with BYU’s 2011 recruiting class … also recruited by Oregon, Colorado State, Missouri, Nebraska and Utah
Columbus North HS
A three star recruit by Scout.com, Rivals.com and 247Sports … rated No. 65 offensive tackle in nation by Rivals.com and No. 15 overall prospect in state of Indiana … named first-team All-State in 2012 … can get off the ball quickly with a 4.76 forty time … totaled 30 tackles on defense including 3.0 tackles for loss on the defensive line as a senior … also recruited by Ball State, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Ole Miss, Purdue and Utah
Lone Peak HS
A three star athlete by Scout.com, 247Sports and Rivals.com … rated No. 4 overall prospect in Utah by 247Sports and No. 47 wide receiver in the country … ranked No. 9 overall state prospect by Rivals.com … a first-team All-State selection … caught 72 passes for 1,049 yards and 16 touchdowns as a senior … helped Lone Peak to a 5A state title in 2011 with 33 receptions for 459 yards … also plays basketball for Lone Peak … also recruited by Boise State, Oregon, UCLA, Utah State and Utah
Salt Lake City
A three-star prospect from 247Sports … rated No. 40 defensive tackle in the nation and the No. 10 overall prospect in the state of Utah … participated at the All-Poly camp and was a force on the inside … named 4A first-team All-State on offensive line by Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune … totaled 41 tackles and 2.5 sacks in prep career … also recruited by Arizona, Boise State, Hawai’i, Idaho, Utah State and Utah
Named the All-Poly Camp MVP … rated No. 6 overall prospect in state of Hawai’i from 247Sports and No. 88 safety in the nation … led Kahuku to a 2012 state title … two-time first-team all-league of the Oahu Red East league … named to MaxPreps 2012 Preseason All-State team … also recruited by Colorado, Arizona State and San Diego State
City College of San Francisco
Mid-year transfer from City College of San Francisco … is an experienced cornerback with a 4.5 40-yard dash speed … during his two years at CCSF, under head coach George Rush, he helped the Rams achieve a 22-2 record and advance to the state title game both seasons, winning the championship in 2011 ... totaled 57 tackles, including 43 solo takedowns, along with five interceptions and 22 pass breakups to help his team finish atop the NorCal Conference in 2011 and 2012 … had a conference-best 19 passes defended in 2011 while helping the Rams earn the No. 1 ranking in the nation by JCfootball.com … attended Bishop O’Dowd High School … has three years to complete his two remaining seasons of eligibility … also recruited by Boise State, Utah, New Mexico and UTEP
Compton Community College
A three star recruit from Scout.com … recorded nine tackles and one tackle for loss along with one interception in 2008 … a graduate of Dominguez High School … recorded eight sacks as a senior and four sacks as a junior … served LDS mission to Las Vegas
Pleasant Hill, California
Diablo Valley Community College
A three-star lineman from Rivals.com … rated No. 126 among all JUCO players by 247Sports … the No. 36 prospect in California from 247Sports … also recruited by Arizona State, Colorado State, Fresno State, Oregon State, Purdue and Utah
Ranked No. 9 football recruit out of the state of Utah by Scout.com... earned All-State honorable mention... helped lead Alta to two consecutive state titles, including a 10-3 record in 2009... team captain ... shows the ability to win battles at a consistent rate and has good quickness and body control ...also played basketball where he averaged five points and five rebounds per game... coached by Les Hamilton … also recruited by Arizona, Arizona State, Utah State and Utah
Rated No. 4 prospect from Utah by Rivals.com and No. 13 by Scout.com ... recorded 92 carries for 783 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior ... averaged 8.5 yards per carry ... added 132 carries for 840 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2008 ... had a career total of 271 carries for 1,983 yards and 30 touchdowns ... four-time track letterwinner, competing in javelin, 100m, 200m and 110m hurdles ... holds javelin school record ... coached by Roger Dupaix … also recruited by Oregon, Washington, Cal, Michigan, San Diego State, Utah State and Stanford
Toloa’i Ho Ching
Rated the No. 23 inside linebacker by Rivals.com ... rated No. 5 prospect from Utah by Scout.com and No. 8 by Rivals.com ... totaled 81 tackles as a senior, as well as 10.5 sacks and a blocked field goal ... led 5A in sacks ... despite missing two games in 2009 due to a knee injury, he helped Alta advance to the 5A state semifinals ... two-year all-state selection ... had 82 tackles as a junior, 15 sacks and one interception ... also recruited by California, Colorado, UCLA, Utah, Utah State, Wisconsin and Wyoming ... coached by Les Hamilton
South Jordan, Utah
Named a first-team All-American by MaxPreps ... ranked the No. 6 football recruit out of the state of Utah by Scout.com ... four-year starter at Bingham, helping his team to a 13-1 record in 2009 ... quick enough to get out in space and run the field and always seems to get good positioning ... named the Deseret News 2009 Mr. Football ... first-team All-State as a sophomore, junior and senior ... also recruited by Utah ... coached by Dave Peck
Scored 14 touchdowns, 10 rushing and four receiving, his junior year ... ran for 1,040 yards on 135 carries and caught 60 passes for 700 yards during his junior campaign ... rushed for 921 yards on 125 carries and 12 touchdowns his senior season ... recorded 37 receptions for 548 yards and four touchdowns the same year ... also completed a 46-yard touchdown pass against Rancho Verde as a senior ... selected as the NFLs initial Legacy Project athlete and was mentored by NFL Hall of Famer Ron Yary ... two-time letterwinner in track ... coached by Greg Ireland … also recruited by Boise State, Washington, UNLV, UCLA, Arizona, Fresno State and San Diego State
Pleasant Grove, Utah
Pleasant Grove HS
Ranked the No. 9 football recruit out of the state of Utah by Rivals.com and No. 11 by Scout.com ... recognized as first-team All-Region ... totaled 35 tackles as a senior, along with two sacks, helping the Vikings to an 8-3 record ... also saw time as a running back, totaling 417 career yards and five touchdowns on 67 carries ... shows a good combination of speed, quickness, and strength ... he can drop back into the passing lanes and effectively pass protect ... uses his quickness to outmaneuver most blockers, making plays from sideline to sideline ... teammate of fellow BYU recruit Bryan Sampson ... coached by Dale Sampson
Pleasant Grove, Utah
Pleasant Grove HS
Ranked the No. 35 tight end in the nation by Rivals.com ... rated the No. 10 football recruit out of the state of Utah by Scout.com and Rivals.com ... caught 21 passes for 249 yards during his senior season as the Vikings earned an 8-3 record ... caught the game-winning touchdown in the regional championship game against Riverton ... posted 12 catches for 169 yards and a touchdown as a junior ... honor roll student ... coached by Dale Sampson … also recruited by Idaho State, Utah State and Washington State
Lone Peak HS
Ranked the No. 8 football recruit out of the state of Utah by Scout.com ... named defensive MVP at the 2009 All-Polynesian Camp in Bountiful ... totaled 87 tackles and five sacks as a senior, leading Lone Peak to a 9-3 record and 5-1 league-best mark in 5As Region 4 along with Alta High School ... named Outstanding Linebacker at the BYU football camp ... also lettered in wrestling and played rugby ... coached by Monte Morgan … also recruited by Stanford, Utah, Wyoming and Washington State