At the end of football season, BYU defensive coordinator Dick Felt said the Cougars' highest recruiting priority this year would be defense.
That wasn't a shocking statement, coming on the heels of back-to-back blowout losses to Hawaii and Texas A&M.Wednesday is national letter-of-intent day, when schools can announce which high school players they have managed to recruit. And while Felt wasn't able to mention names yet, he did comment on BYU's recruiting successes in general.
"We've done pretty good so far," he said. "We've lost a couple players in the last day or two that we really would have liked to get, but we feel good about those we have commitments from."
Some players BYU has recruited have not let the Cougars know their intentions, Felt said.
"We still are sweating it out on a couple of defensive players," he said.
BYU has received commitments from a couple of linebackers - 6-foot-3, 225-pound Matt Sailors from Rancho Buena Vista High in San Diego and 6-4, 210-pound in-state star Royal Chamberlain from Mountain View High. Another Utahn reportedly still considering the Cougars is Provo High's Terence Saluone, a 6-3, 200-pound defensive back.
Among the out-of-state prospects sought by BYU are Robert Reed, a linebacker from Texas 5A state finalist Judson High, and defensive back Lorenzo Washington of 5A state champ Marshall High.
From the junior-college ranks, Ricks linebacker Kevin Kempf, the Western Football League player of the year, and cornerback Chuck Porter from Dixie College were among those sought by the Cougars.
On the offensive side, BYU has already received a verbal commitment from quarterback John Walsh from Carson High in Los Angeles. Ranked by one prep recruiting service as the top quarterback in the West, Walsh set the California single-season passing record last season.
Another prep service reported nearly amonth ago that Hawaii's two top offensive players, running back Mark Atuaia and wide receiver Itula Mili, had verbally committed to BYU. The service continues to stand by its claim, although both players have said they will not reveal their choices until Wednesday.
Atuaia, a 5-foot-10, 185 pounder from Kahuku High on Oahu, said recently that he had narrowed his choice to BYU, Hawaii, Colorado, Southern Cal and Arizona. According to an Associated Press story, Atuaia's parents have encouraged him to stay home and play for Hawaii.
Mili, a 6-4, 210-pound high school teammate of Atuaia, was choosing from among BYU, Hawaii, Oregon and Arizona.