March Madness is now upon us, and there is an endless stream of basketball games to enjoy. But as busy as fans are watching hoops, March is also one of the busiest times of the year for college football.
Student-athletes are hard at work in spring practice while the coaches are seemingly all over the place — coaching, putting on camps and clinics and making recruiting visits.
BYU coaches are especially hectic implementing new schemes and looking for the right talent to come in and complement their existing team in enacting those schemes.
BYU football coach Kalani Sitake is not afraid to make changes and has already initiated several position changes for current players. He’s also hard at work recruiting the right players to fill the gaps that still exist. He and his assistants have certainly had a busy March, already extending four offers to student-athletes in the Class of 2017, three offers to student-athletes in the Class of 2018 and two offers to student-athletes in the Class of 2019.
March scholarship offers:
Class of 2017: Randal Grimes (March 10), Cyrus Habibi-Likio (March 9), Tony Fields II (March 6), Mike’Quan Deane (March 12). Class of 2018: Jamire Calvin (March 2), Talanoa Hufanga (March 12), Aaron Maldonado (March 12). Class of 2019: Puka Nacua (extended March 1), Gaudie Campbell (March 3).
With only one commitment currently in the Class of 2017 (Lone Peak’s Jackson McChesney), there are still a lot of holes to fill. By now, BYU fans have taken notice that Sitake is not afraid to go after the high-profile recruits. That was certainly the case this past week as offers were extended to Grimes, Habibi-Likio, Fields II and juco transfer Deane, all of whom currently have multiple P5 offers.
Grimes is a 6-foot-4 and 205-pound “athlete” out of Desert Pines High School in Las Vegas. The three-star first-team all-state receiver has nine offers including USC, Oregon State and Washington State. He could compete at any number of positions with experience at wide receiver, running back, quarterback and safety.
Grimes' teammate, outside linebacker Fields II, was also offered by BYU. With nine offers from schools including Arizona and Boise State and heavy interest from USC, he might be a long shot. He had 83 tackles three sacks and two interceptions as a junior.
Habibi-Likio is a 6-1 running back at St. Francis in Mountain View, California. He runs a 4.50 40 and had a whopping 1,438 rushing yards with 17 touchdowns this past fall. He also had two touchdowns receiving and returned 16 kickoffs for 598 yards (37.4 yards per return) and two more TDs. He makes smart decisions on and off the field, so it should be no surprise that one of his seven scholarship offers comes from the Ivy League (Columbia).
The 6-4, 245-pound tight end in Deane is seeking a transfer from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M after spending a year bringing up his grades and improving on the gridiron. He has run a 4.49 40 and 10.83 in the 100 meter and could be a real star at the tight end position. He has eight scholarship offers including Nebraska, Pitt, UCF and USF.
Class of 2018
So far this month BYU has also extended offers to three student-athletes in the Class of 2018: Calvin, Hufanga and Maldonado.
Three-star wide receiver Calvin now has over 20 scholarship offers, including those from powerhouse programs Nebraska, Cal, Missouri and Penn State. He had 12 touchdown receptions this fall and is one of the top rated receivers in California.
Also from Los Angeles is big offensive lineman Maldonado. He is 6-3, 296 pounds, and he plays for powerhouse Bishop Amat High School where he started as a sophomore. BYU is his first offer but many more are sure to follow.
Hufanga is a quarterback out of Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis, Oregon. With offers to four Pac-12 schools, including hometown Oregon State, Hufanga will not be an easy one to sign. Hufanga played both ways as a sophomore and is being recruited as an athlete.
Class of 2019
While BYU football coaches have been actively seeking to fill holes for the immediate future, the coaching staff is also anticipating future needs. On March 1, scholarship offers were extended to two wide receivers who are currently only high school sophomores: Nacua and Campbell.
Nacua, younger brother of Kai, Isaiah and Sampson, is no stranger to BYU football. The Orem High School wide receiver is just a sophomore, and BYU is his first offer. This past fall he had 22 receptions for 254 yards and three touchdowns. Puka Nacua is also a star point guard and may end up going the basketball route.
Campbell is another receiver that was offered in the 2019 class. The 6-3 sophomore plays for Antioch (California) High School and was excited enough about the BYU offer that he created a Twitter account so he could announce it.
With nine offers already extended it will be interesting to see how much more madness continues throughout this month as BYU actively seeks to improve several recruiting classes.
Tyler Christensen is the managing editor of www.byuinsider.com, a blog that centers on BYU recruiting. There you will find comprehensive profiles and statistics for each of the prospects detailed in this article.