New BYU head football coach Kalani Sitake scored a major win on the recruiting front Wednesday, as four-star defensive tackle Handsome Tanielu of Snow College by way of Hawaii announced on Twitter that he's signed with the Cougars.
The 6-foot-2, 300-plus pound Tanielu chose to continue his career at BYU after committing to the University of Utah in June. In recent weeks, however, it became clear that Tanielu's interest in joining the Utes had waned, although he still listed them in his final four, along with the Cougars, Oregon State and Boise State.
Tanielu had tweeted last Wednesday that he was set to announce his decision, but later said he needed more time. On that same day, it became evident that Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo would not become the Cougars' next head coach, and attention shifted to Sitake, the Beavers' defensive coordinator at the time.
A phone number Tanielu provided the Deseret News was not accepting incoming calls Wednesday immediately after his announcement.
Soon after Tanielu delayed his announcement last week, multiple reports indicated that he received offers from Texas and Nebraska.
Multiple outlets rate Tanielu as one of the top prospects in the junior college ranks.
Two of Tanielu's teammates at Snow, offensive lineman Garett Bolles and receiver Jonah Trinnaman, also have heavy recruiting ties to BYU. Bolles was once committed to play for the Cougars but has backed off after receiving heavy interest from schools around the country. Trinnaman is committed to BYU but is being recruited heavily by Utah.
Ryan McDonald is a sports reporter at DeseretNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanwmcdonald.