PROVO Tui Crichton, a 6-foot-4, 290-pound offensive lineman for 4A champion Timpview High School, has orally committed to sign with BYU, part of the Cougar recruiting class of 2009.
"I decided to make this decision now and get it out of the way," Crichton said Saturday. "I have a lot of things going on in my life right now and I decided to make my plans now so I could focus on my senior season next year."
Crichton is listed among the Top Northwest prospects by Chris Fetters of SuperPrep.
Crichton has been offered by BYU and Utah with contact from other schools, including Colorado, LSU, ASU and Hawaii.
He earned first-team all-state honors this past year for the T-Birds.
He is the fifth high school junior to commit to the Cougars and joins teammate Craig Bills, a safety with the early declaration. Other BYU commits for the class of 2009 include Colorado lineman Terry Alletto; Kahuku, Hawaii, safety Jray Galea'I; and Snow Canyon running back Adam Timo, who made his declaration to the Deseret Morning News last summer.
"BYU has one of the greatest programs around, there is no place like it in the country and because I live nearby, I decided I want to be a part of what's going on right now," said Crichton.
"I have a great respect for the way Bronco Mendenhall is running that program. He's a good guy and a very good football coach. I support what he's doing 100 percent."
Crichton, whose best friend is Timpview basketball center Bronson Kaufusi, backed up Kaufusi this year on the T-Bird team. Kaufusi, only a sophomore, has committed to sign with BYU in the class of 2010.
"I know a lot of the players who came out of our high school, they are friends of mine and I'm looking forward to joining them and bringing our friendships to BYU and compete at the next level," said Crichton.
This is a key commit for Mendenhall because it may play into the cards with a more highly recruited Timpview teammate, OT Xavier Sua'-Filo, whom the Cougars and LSU, through Gary Crowton, were the first to offer.Since that time, Sua'-Filo has received almost a dozen offers, including LSU, Stanford, USC, Tennessee, Auburn, Miami, Arizona, Utah, Washington State, Colorado and Penn State, with Notre Dame coming on board in a phone call a few weeks ago.