BYU football: An updated overview of the Cougars' 2013 signing class

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 5 2013 3:01 p.m. MST

PROVO — BYU head football coach Bronco Mendenhall often makes the point with his recruiting that he doesn’t care a whit about star rankings, national and local evaluations from the media, or even the amount or quality of offers assigned to high school and junior college prospects. As if to drive that point home, he assembled the 2013 signing class.

BYU has 27 players committed to sign this February with two players (Trent Trammel and Billy Green) already signed and enrolled. The majority of prospects pledged were wrapped up over the summer and before they could capture notice from other programs.

The current recruiting class includes no four- or five-star recruits and just nine three-star recruits as evaluated by scout.com and eight as evaluated by rivals.com. It’s a stat that Mendenhall couldn’t care less about and will likely express as much when the class is announced Feb. 6.

So how should fans regard this year’s class that includes so little hype and national attention?

It’s always hard to know exactly how a recruiting class will shape up at any program, but that is especially true at BYU given its relatively small recruiting pool. Given the program’s stringent academic and Honor Code standards, Mendenhall and his staff must be very selective in who they recruit and sign. For this reason the BYU coaching staff holds on to its own evaluations and consider little else when deciding whom to offer scholarships.

It’s a process that has worked well for Mendenhall since arriving at BYU. His recruits have provided winning seasons, bowl wins and, most importantly, have largely avoided running afoul with the Honor Code while representing the program and its unique mission well.

When reviewing the class of 2013 there is little doubt that these players will work to continue BYU’s tradition of winning seasons while also representing the program well off the field. The question is if these are the type of players who will help BYU reach the next level of BCS bowls and even a national championship, which are the stated goals of the program. That question is certainly tougher to answer and easier to cast doubt upon given its lack of highly-ranked prospects.

So who does BYU have committed and what’s in store for recruiting from now until national letter of intent day on Feb. 6? We break it down position-by-position to give fans the best overview of the 2013 class.

Here's our position-by-position breakdown.

Email: bgurney@desnews.com; Twitter: @BrandonCGurney

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Who am I sir?
Cottonwood Heights, UT

preemptive - damage control! (P.S. - Good luck on keeping Ragin. I was impressed you got him as a late recruit.)

Colorado Springs, CO

I am just curious but based on the recruits and stars where were our star players this year rated coming out of High school. Van Noy, Ogletree, Williams, Hoffman, Apo, etc. Certainly if these guys were not ranked or ranked low BYU has some ability to develop talent. I'd also be curious as to how or if they played before their missions vs after or if they even went on a mission. Everyone complains about playing their boys against BYU's men but I wonder if two additional years for their "bodies to develop" makes them (potentially) better players or if it hurts them? Any statistic guys out there?

Lindon, UT

Good list of recruits. I wonder how many will go on missions & how many will start this fall.


"I am just curious but based on the recruits and stars where were our star players this year rated coming out of High school. Van Noy, Ogletree, Williams, Hoffman, Apo, etc. Certainly if these guys were not ranked or ranked low BYU has some ability to develop talent. I'd also be curious as to how or if they played before their missions vs after or if they even went on a mission. Everyone complains about playing their boys against BYU's men but I wonder if two additional years for their "bodies to develop" makes them (potentially) better players or if it hurts them? Any statistic guys out there?"

Van Noy - 4 star
Ogletree - 2 star
Williams - 3 star
Hoffman - 2 star
Apo - 4 star

Probably the best story of developed talent is Jameson Frazier. If I recall correctly he was cut from the team twice but turned out to be a very strong LB as a Sr.


Clearly, star rankings are a leading indicator when guesstimating a player's ability to perform well at the collegiate level. Only a buffoon could believe otherwise.

San Diego, CA

hoffman **>>apo ***>>heaps *****

other than VN number of stars havent really been panned out at byu.

just keep the polynesian pipeline going.
throw in some beefy lineman from idaho.
recruit hard for speedy defensive backs.
find a QB that can throw/compete.


It's tough to rate recruits, whether or not they have stars by their names or not. BYU has a tough row to hoe in that their stated goal is to win another NC. They simply do not have have the talent pool to plumb that other major programs have. To put it into perspective for Cougar fans; Notre Dame has a much greater depth and breadth of talent to choose from from every corner of the country than BYU has and they got blown out by Alabama in this past National Championship game because Alabama had such better and deeper talent than Notre Dame. The reason this is significant to Cougar fans is because Notre Dame's entrance standards are every bit as high for their student athletes as it is for BYU and they have their pick of the litter and even with that advantage they couldn't compete with a University that takes the best talent available regardless of their personal standards and academic credentials. I think Cougar fans had better readjust their expectations with BYU's independence and their future accomplishments.



Barring injury, most men don't reach their athletic prime until after most collegiate athletes have exhausted their eligibility. They are typically stronger, and more emotionally and mentally mature than they were in their late teens and early twenties.

When have you ever heard an NCAA or NFL coach say about their upperclassman or professional athlete, "Yeah, he's really good, but he was so much better when he was a sophomore!"

A quick internet search of the ages of olympic medalists, pro bowl rosters, strongest man competitors (obviously for strength), and All-American lists, argues strongly that the advantage goes to athletes in their mid 20s or older.

How many of you who have remained physically active can honestly say you were at your best in your early twenties?

The evidence is there - it's pretty hard to make a credible argument that 22 year old male athletes are superior to 25 year olds.

That being said, I can't imagine how hard it is to juggle a roster with missionaries coming and going from the program. And some, of course, change their priorities or get way out of shape while on their missions.

Good luck, Cougars, except on 21 September!

Serenity Now
Highland, UT

If Talon Shumway can get a permission slip from Bronco, I'd also like to see him play basketball for Coach Rose. He'll make a great free safety, but has too much vertical leaping ability to play just football. He reminds me of a Jackson Emery playing football.

Omaha, NE

It truly doesn't matter how many stars a person has, it's all about coaching. Look at USC all their "stars" they have, but the coaches are awful and can't coach well. ND always gets a good class, but only had this year that was really special in recent memory. BYU has had winning seasons since Bronco came, and most of them 10+. Coaches are good at BYU, and that will only continue. Get a QB who can throw to incredibly tall and talented receivers, and add that to a good running game and this team is ready to be the old team we are used to.

Y's Guy
Salt Lake City, UT

IF the age difference made THAT much difference, why isn't it seen on the field? Is BYU dominating other teams because of older players? And if it really did make that much difference, then why don't other coaches simply tell recruits "We'll give you a scholarship as soon as you've completed two years in the Peace Corps (or military, or whatever)"?

So. Cal Reader
San Diego, CA

... and how many of these kids will redshirt and/or serve a mission. We'll remember few if any of them because they'll have little if any impact on the team whatsoever for the next 2 years. Also, the picture of Kalolo Manumaleauga Utu is the best you have? Can't come up with a football picture of him or another of the D-Lineman mentioned. The Cougs recruiting classes do very little for me because so few of the kids have any immediate impact on the team.

Iowa City, IA

Lets see, Bronco doesn't worry about rankings yet his defenses crush people. Yah, I'm good with that. Nice work Bronco.

Mapleton, Utah

I like stats, but I've never been big on the 'star' statistics. Here, however, are two examples of why Bronco and LaVell got it and maybe the 'star' stat is overrated:

1985. First game of the season. James made a public spectacle of himself at the end of 1984 claiming to anyone who would listen that there was no way BYU deserved to win the NC....that surely UDub was better in every way.... BYU comes out and extends the Nations longest winning streak by crushing...not just beating, but crushing the life out of James and UDub.

Second. 1990. Miami had about 11-13 5 star recruits for two/three years in a row. They come to Provo as pre-season ranked #1 and are sent back to the hot humid weather as losers.

Yea, I'll take the few, the proud, the diligent, the faithful, the Cougar Recruits. Despite their two/three or four stars over the hype and trouble of a five star. I can live with 10 win seasons if I can also live without the negative press to the Church and School of trouble making 4/5 Star recruits.

Salt Lake City, UT

I'm sure the coaching staff has seen good athletes and good players for a long time, so when they recruit they use there eye's and judgement than a guy who watches players but doesn't coach them. There's a lot of guys who look the part but never pan out because mentally they're weak. And those who rate these players don't see most of the players in high school. Why does the best recruits always come out of florida, texas, and california? Well they spend most of there time there, yes they have great players and athletes but there's so many kids playing in those states, how much time can they spend on the others? And I'm not saying it's just these 3 states there's I'm sure a lot back east that get that attention too. But to give Star Lotulelei a 2* rating out of high school obviously they didn't see much of him. So I trust that these guys can spot talent and see those who will improve and work as well. They've had good success as far as recruiting so far!

JD Books
Sulphurdale, UT

I am worried that they may be overlooking Baker and Pututu at South Sevier.

Washington, UT

So Bronco was a buffoon to believe Cody Hoffman could play...and be a star? and he was a fool to believe Dennis Pitta could actually play tight end. Pitta was not even ranked, he was a walkon. Hoffman has easily out performed Apo who was a 4 star recruit.

And I think you fail to understand all that was said; 1) BYU recruits must accept the BYU honor code, many of the big name 5 star recruits would laugh in your face if told they had to comply with that, 2) also consider that we know that when a recruit commits early to BYU, they are dropped a star or two, or if they say they are going on a mission, they lose a star or two. What, did the BYU commitment or the mission declaration suddenly make them a lousy football player. We live in a weird world, and not everything is as it seems--and yes there is a lot of bias out there against BYU.

St. George, UT

If we'd had John Beck, Max Hall, let alone Steve Young, Bosco, and certainly Jim McMahon, we would've had a perfect season this year. That is demonstrable! We just needed an accurate, strong-armed quarterback. It wouldn't matter if he had one star!

Just look at our schedule and see what one or two touchdowns would've done to our won-loss record. Imagine if we scored 3 or 4 times with our losses.

Stars matter more with the speedy halfbacks than other positions. You can't coach speed that much. But excellence in the other positions can be coached.

Aberdeen, ID

I did not see any special teams players on this list. They can make a huge impact and let's face it to win a NC you have to have all three phases covered. We had the defense this year to win a NC, but not the offense or special teams play. Special team play this year had a few great moments, but they also contributed to some of the losses as well.

There are comments here about the '84 team as well as the team that beat Miami. If you go back and watch that Miami game, our punter was the unsung hero of that game. He had one punt there that completely changed the momentum of the game. Miami had pinned us deep in our end, and that punt went about 60 yards in the air and instead of 1st and ten at the 50 or worse, Miami ended up back at around their 20. He had a nice second punt as well, that wasn't quite a far and the Miami punt returner was more prepared for that booming punt, instead of catching the ball running the wrong way like he ended up doing on the first punt.

Floyd Johnson
Broken Arrow, OK

I concur with Idaho. Who will be kicking and punting in 2014-2016?

Frisco, TX

I too am very concerned that there's not a punter or kicker on the list. Stephenson is off to the NFL, and I don't know about any back-up punter. The last time I heard Bronco address the kicking game, it sounded like Taysom Hill was the back-up behind Stephenson and Sorenson.

Sorenson is a big question mark for next year. He was the #1 kicker coming out out high school, and had a great Freshman campaign before his mission. But after injuring his leg and back, he really struggled last year.

Is there someone on the soccer team that can move over? Please find a punter and a kicker.

Heber City, UT

I am just as concerned about James Lark comments that Brandon Doman helped the QB understand the game, but did nothing to help the QB improve mechanics. Nelson sure needed help with mechanics. IF this true, then Doman needs to rethink being a coach and Anae needs to rethink about keeping Doman. I have been on Doman's side, but this Lark comment bothers me. I thought that was one of the primary jobs of a QB coach to help the QB become more effective. Yes, the QB needs to understand the game, but has to have effective mechanics to be effective.

Plano, TX

@CougFaninTX if the punter ends up being Taysom Hill, that might not be so bad - given history. Jim McMahon punted his freshman year and but for lack of a few kicks would have been one of the top 3 in the country. He was pretty effective. That punter this past year was amazing with 4 inside the 4 punts - true game changers...

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