PROVO — BYU signed seven high school recruits who are taller than 6-foot-6 on Wednesday, one of them Springville's 6-8 basketball player Matt Sumsion who told Bronco Mendenhall he wants to play tight end.
"They are tall, can run and are good athletes," said Mendenhall, who introduced his 2011 recruiting class of 19 signees to a gathering of fans in LaVell Edwards Stadium. He also reminded media members of 14 returning missionaries who will join the program for spring practice March 14 or two-a-days in August.
BYU's signing ceremonies, from the time football offices opened and the fax machine started spitting out national letters of intent, went off like clockwork. No surprises. No defections from a list of committed.
The height of these athletes will provide the Cougars a lot of flexibility, said Mendenhall. "When you consider they will be in our program for as long as seven years, with missionary service and redshirt years, that gives them a lot of time to grow, fill out and that will determine if they are tight ends, defensive ends, outside linebackers or offensive tackles," he said.
Mendenhall said he is as "excited" and "enthusiastic" as he's ever been for spring and fall camps because of BYU's venture into independence, the energy and vigor of his reorganized staff and the players in the program.
"Our new hires will enable us to push this program further than it has been," he said. "I couldn't do that without making the changes we did."
BYU's new recruiting coordinator, Joe Dupaix, from the Naval Academy, will bring BYU up to date in the use of technology to where BYU isn't just recruiting a state, but getting inside and "bringing BYU football" to potential recruits.
"Joe was absolutely the right man for the job," said Mendenhall. "He will expand our recruiting network. He has a great grasp of technology, he is a great personal recruiter and teacher."
Mendenhall said replacing recruiting coordinator Paul Tidwell with Dupaix was a group decision between the three staff members. The head coach thought his new hires, which include wide receivers coach Ben Cahoon, the CFL's all-time leading receiver, were significant enough to consider equal to or greater than the news aspect of National Letter of Intent Day.
The 2011 class is heavy on defensive players and can be categorized as a move to fill the program with what Mendenhall called "infantrymen" who are traditional BYU-type players who fit the foundation. A year ago, he said, the 2010 class was more of a group that might have more NFL player potential.
The Cougars' class included a scholarship agreement to Joe Sampson, a defensive back out of San Mateo Community College who must pass two classes to be eligible this fall. The cousin of 2010 starting corner Brian Logan, Sampson could play safety or corner for the Cougars and BYU's staff considered him valuable enough to wait and see on his status.
Snow College transfer corner Preston Hadley, however, is a player who is in school and has impressed coaches with his speed and coverage and could end up starting. "The fact he's going to have a spring practice under his belt puts him ahead of other newcomers in the fall," said Mendenhall.
BYU will recruit more receivers and running backs for the offense in the coming year.
"This year we didn't feel the need was high for us to fill the skill positions on offense," he said.
Brief biographies and a complete list of BYU's 2011 class as well as returning missionaries are included below.
South Jordan, Utah
5A All-State Second Team in 2010 by Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune ... Ranked No. 8 in the state and No. 37 among national defensive ends in the country by Rivals.com ... No. 27 Midlands prospect by SuperPrep Magazine ... ranked No. 49 defensive end by Scouts.com ... Region 3 DL MVP ... helped Bingham win the 5A state title in 2009 and 2010 and Region 3 championships all three years ... had 69 tackles and two sacks junior year ... older brother, Iona, played football for BYU in 2008 and returned from his mission this year ... also recruited by Oregon State ... coached by Dave Peck
Mountain Crest HS
2010 Utah Gatorade Player of the Year ... 2010 Deseret News Mr. Football ... 4A All-State First Team in 2010 by Salt Lake Tribune ... Deseret News 4A All-State First Team in 2009 ... owns nearly all state quarterback records, including total offense (12,917), passing yards (10,951), passing touchdowns (101), completions (751), and attempts (1,154) ... Region 5 MVP in 2009 and 2010 ... threw for 3,983 yards and 38 touchdowns as a senior ... started at quarterback as a freshman, completing his first 18 passes for 180 yards in the first high school game of his career ... led Mountain Crest to the 4A championship game in 2010 before losing by a point in double-overtime ... went to three-straight semifinal appearances the years before ... in 2010 state semifinal, set semifinal records by completing 34-of-55 passes for 444 yards and four touchdowns ... had a 33-8 record as a starting quarterback ... also lettered twice in basketball ... brother Jake played football at BYU and cousin Tyler Haws played basketball for the Cougars ... also recruited by Utah, Oregon, Stanford, Colorado and Utah State ... coached by Mark Wootton
2010, 2009 All-State First Team by Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune ... 2010, 2009 All-Region 9 First Team ... three-time All-Region First Team ... finished second all-time in state history with 170 PATs and third in state history with 19 career field goals ... kicked eight field goals and 57 PATs in 2010 with a touchback percentage of 96% ... converted 57 extra-point attempts and 6 field goals, including a long of 51 yards, in 2009 ... kicked 56 extra point attempts and 6 field goals in 2008 ... kicked six PATs or more in six games in 2010 ... scored 13 points, including a 48-yard field goal, in a win over Dixie in 2010 ... helped Hurricane to 3A state championship three-straight years ... Region 9 champions three-straight years ... kicked six PATs in two different games in the 2010 playoffs ... three-year letterwinner and pitcher on baseball team ... father and uncle played football at BYU ... grand-nephew of Hall of Fame BYU coach LaVell Edwards ... also recruited by Utah, Utah State, Stanford, Arizona, Missouri, Hawaii, Colorado and Cincinnati ... coached by Chris Homer
2A Defensive MVP ... All-State First Team ... Altotaled 50 tackles and six sacks while adding nine receptions for 130 yards and two touchdowns in 2010 ... during junior year at Red Mesa High, recorded 94 tackles and 23 sacks while catching 34 passes for 569 yards and nine touchdowns ... cousin is BYU teammate Famika Anae ... brother Bristol played wide receiver at BYU ... also recruited by Nebraska, Arizona State, Colorado, Duke, Oregon State, Utah and Arizona ... coached by his father, Pita, and Kelley Moore
College of San Mateo
Led the Bulldogs with 72 tackles, 13 pass breakups and two interceptions in 2009 ... helped San Mateo win the Northern California championship and finish runners-up in the California Community College state championship ... also played at Foothill college with cousin and former BYU defensive back Brian Logan ... known for his combination of strength and speed, enabling him to play either cornerback or safety ... also recruited by Utah, Oregon, Oregon State and Arizona State ... coached by Bret Pollack
No. 71 Midlands prospect by SuperPrep Magazine ... helped team win state championships in 2008 and 2009 and was a member of team that advanced to the state quarterfinals in 2010 ... helped Timpview win region titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010 ... also won state basketball championship ... father is former BYU player and current coach Steve Kaufusi ... National Honors Society and four-year academic honoree ... also recruited by Stanford ... coached by Louis Wong
Valley Center, Calif.
Valley Center HS
Ranked No. 71 by Scouts.com among offensive guards nationally ... Cal-Hi Sport's All-State Medium Schools Second Team in 2009 and 2010 ... helped Valley Center win the CIF San Diego Section Division IV championship in 2008 and play in the championship again in 2009 ... had 71 tackles, 12 sacks and two interceptions and two defensive touchdowns in 2010 ... brother Garrett also played football for the Cougars ... first-team All-Valley League in basketball ... also recruited by Air Force, San Diego State, Colorado State, Kansas, Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Washington State and Stanford ... coached by Rob Gilster
South Jordan, Utah
5A All-State First Team in 2010 by Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune ... ranked No. 6 recruit in the state and No. 33 among defensive ends in the nation by Rivals.com ... No. 37 Midlands prospect by SuperPrep Magazine ... helped Bingham win the 5A state title in 2009 and 2010 and Region 3 championships all three years ... in 2010, totaled 70 tackles and 10 sacks ... recorded 62 tackles and six sacks in 2009 ... displays good speed in pursuit and is a great wrap-up tackler ... coached by Dave Peck
West Valley City, Utah
5A All-State First Team in 2010 by Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune ... ranked No. 20 among state prospects by Rivals.com ... athletic on the line with good flexibility, balance and agility ... led team to region title and state semifinals in 2009 ... has good explosion off the snap with ability to knock defenders off the line ... son of former BYU offensive lineman Rob Lapuaho ... coached by Dustin Pearce
Temecula Valley HS
Ranked No. 41 by Scout.com among middle linebackers nationally ... No. 102 Far West prospect by SuperPrep Magazine ... Southwestern All-League Defensive MVP ... California All-Valley Defensive MVP ... First-Team All-Area ... Nike Camp MLB MVP in 2010 ... recorded 126 tackles, 3 interceptions, 2 sacks and 2 fumble recoveries on defense while rushing 28 times for 224 yds and 7 touchdowns on offense in 2010 ... had 143 tackles in 2009 ... NFF Scholar-Athleteearned a weighted 4.2 GPA and scored a 1760 on the SAT ... also recruited by Oregon State, Oregon, UCLA, Washington, USC, Yale, Boise State, Stanford, Buffalo, New Mexico State, San Diego State and San Jose State ... coached by Mike Maxwell and Paul McGowen
No. 100 Far West prospect by SuperPrep Magazine ... 2010 All-Area ... Had 70 tackles and three sacks in 2009 ... Principal's Honor Roll ... also recruited by Washington, Hawaii, Nevada, Air Force, UCLA, Washington State and Oregon State ... coached by Greg Marshall
South Jordan, Utah
Named 5A All-State First Team in 2010 by Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune ... ranked No. 11 in the state and No. 49 nationally at defensive tackle by Rivals.com ... No. 39 Midlands prospect by SuperPrep Magazine ... helped Bingham win the 5A state title in 2009 and 2010 and Region 3 championships all three years ... three-year starter ... also played rugby for the nationally renowned Highland Rugby squad ... state champion wrestler ... also recruited by Utah, Utah State and Washington State ... coached by Dave Peck
4A All-State First Team in 2010 by Deseret News ... helped team advance to the state championship in 2009 and the state semifinals in 2010 ... helped Springville win two region titles in 2009 and 2010 ... 23 receptions, 378 yards and seven touchdowns in 2010 ... also garnered 41 tackles, four sacks and an interception on defense ... All-State Second Team in basketball ... honor roll student ... speaks Chinese ... also recruited by Utah, Utah State, Weber State and Southern Utah ... coached by Scott Mitchell
South Jordan, Utah
Ranked No. 16 among state prospects by Rivals.com ... ranked as the No. 8 fullback in the nation by Scout.com ... No. 31 Midlands prospect by SuperPrep Magazine ... 5A All-State First Team in 2010 by Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune ... Region 3 Defensive MVP ... selected to play in the U.S. Under-19 National Team ... helped Bingham win the 5A state title in 2009 and 2010 and Region 3 championships all three years ... had 85 tackles, including five sacks, his senior year ... three-year starter ... coached by Dave Peck
Pleasant Grove, Utah
Pleasant Grove HS
5A All-State First Team in 2010 by Deseret News and Salt Lake Tribune ... No. 14 prospect in the state by Rivals.com ... ranked No. 30 nationally by Scout.com among middle linebacker prospects ... No. 57 Midlands prospect by SuperPrep Magazine ... Daily Herald Elite 11 as a senior, totaling 129 total tackles in 2010 ... Daily Herald honorable mention in 2009 ... helped Vikings win the Region 4 championship in 2008 ... Academic All-Region ... Region 4 Outstanding Linebacker ... Wendy's All-American finalist ... aggressive player with good instincts, agility and movement ... high honor roll every year ... also recruited by Nebraska, Stanford, Harvard, Columbia, Tennesee, LSU, Vanderbilt, Utah, Boise State, Oregon State and Penn State ... coached by Dale Sampson
4A All-State First Team in 2010 ... totaled 50 tackles, six sacks and one interception in 2010 ... ranked No. 19 prospect in the state by Rivals.com ... ranked No. 28 nationally by Scout.com among tight end prospects ... No. 15 all-around athlete in the nation and No. 20 Midwest prospect by SuperPrep Magazine ... participated in the prestigious SPARQ competition at Nike headquarters ... helped team win state championships in 2008 and 2009 and the state quarterfinals in 2010 ... had 18 receptions for 300 yards and four touchdowns as a junior in 2009 ... helped Timpview win region titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010 ... brother, Austen, currently plays for BYU, as does a cousin, Spencer Hadley ... also started on 2010 state championship basketball team ... honor roll all four years ... also recruited by Notre Dame, UCLA and Utah State ... coached by Louis Wong
2010 Oklahoma Coaches Association All-State ... Tulsa World All-Metro selection ... Mustang Honor Award ... Oil Bowl selection ... Tulsa World All-State Second Team ... 4A3 Most Valuable OL ... registered 108 knockdowns in 2010 ... physical on the line, uses strength to bowl over defenders ... father and uncle also played for the Cougars on the offensive line ... also recruited by North Texas, Oklahoma State, Utah and Tulsa ... coached by Brandon Craig
Pleasant Grove, Utah
Helped Snow College win the Top of the Mountains Bowl and conference championships both years ... had 65 tackles, three sacks and two forced fumbles in 2010, helping Snow to a No. 7 national ranking ... totaled 60 tackles, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and six passes defended as a redshirt freshman ... also recruited by Washington State, New Mexico State, Utah State and Kent State ... served an LDS mission to New York ... coached by Steve Coburn
American Fork, Utah
American Fork HS
Ranked top recruit in the state and No. 11 among offensive lineman nationally by Rivals.com ... ranked the top offensive lineman in the state and No. 43 offensive lineman by Scout.com ... played for the West squad in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl ... BYU Nike Camp MVP ... All-Poly Camp top offensive lineman ... also played defensive line and on the Caveman basketball team at center ... cited for his size, agility and strong football IQ ... also recruited by Utah, Kansas, Oregon, UCLA, Notre Dame and Arizona ... coached by Davis
Knight and Aaron Behm
*Signed scholarship agreement as mid-year enrollee
2011 Recruiting Class
Corey Edwards K 5-10 190 Hurricane, Utah/Hurricane HS
Preston Hadley DB 6-0 200 Pleasant Grove, Utah/Snow College
Austin Heder LB 6-3 235 Pleasant Grove, Utah/Pleasant Grove HS
Colby Jorgensen TE 6-7 230 Provo, Utah/Timpview HS
Corbin Kaufusi DL 6-7 230 Provo, Utah/Timpview HS
Moses Kaumatule DL 6-2 240 West Jordan, Utah/Bingham HS
Alex Kuresa QB 6-0 175 Millville, Utah/Mountain Crest HS
Ului Lapuaho OL 6-7 280 West Valley City, Utah/Hunter HS
Lene Lesatele LB 6-2 240 Artesia, Calif./Gahr HS
Ryker Mathews OL 6-6 285 American Fork, Utah/American Fork HS
Aulelio Olomua LB 6-4 235 Mesa, Ariz./Mesa HS
Manoa Pikula LB 6-1 225 South Jordan, Utah/Bingham HS
Baker Pritchard DL 6-2 240 South Jordan, Utah/Bingham HS
Adam Pulsipher LB 6-2 230 Temecula, CA/Temecula Valley HS
Brian Rawlinson OL 6-6 280 Oologah, Okla./Oologah-Talala HS
Stehly Reden DL 6-6 245 Valley Center, Calif./Valley Center HS
Joe Sampson DB 6-0 205 Oakland, Calif./College of San Mateo
Matt Sumsion TE 6-8 215 Springville, Utah/Springville HS
Kesni Tausinga DL 6-1 285 South Jordan, Utah/Bingham HS
Michael Alisa RB 6-1 215 Provo, UT/Timpview HS
Kevan Bills LB 6-3 225 Provo, UT/Timpview HS
Cameron Comer DB 6-0 189 Springville, UT/Springville HS
Ian Dulan DL 6-1 255 Hilo, HI/Kamehameha-Hawaii HS
Kaneakua Friel TE 6-5 235 Kaneohe, HI/Kamehameha HS
Spencer Hadley LB 6-1 221 Connell, WA/Connell HS
Adam Hine RB 6-1 175 Santa Clara, UT/Snow Canyon HS
Solomone Kafu OL 6-2 309 Rio Linda, CA/Rio Linda HS
Rex Morgan DB 5-10 177 Greeley, CO/Greeley West HS
Iona Pritchard LB 6-0 234 South Jordan, UT/Bingham HS
Daniel Sorensen LB 6-1 208 Colton, CA/Colton HS
Justin Sorensen K 6-1 222 South Jordan, UT/Bingham HS
Christian Stewart QB 6-0 190 Orem, UT/Timpanogos HS
Brock Stringham OL 6-5 280 Highlands Ranch, CO/Mountain Vista HS