The only acceptable result for us at BYU is to be nationally relevant. —BYU assistant head coach Ed Lamb
PROVO — Stars and rankings, assigned by outlets such as Rivals.com and 247Sports.com, don't always determine how successful a particular recruiting class will be, and BYU faithful may hope that to be the case with BYU's 2018 signing class.
The Cougars added several names Wednesday to those who signed during the early signing period in December, with few of them garnering much national attention or attention from other name programs. The result was a No. 83 national ranking from 247sports and a No. 90 ranking from Rivals. By comparison, BYU's 2017 classes were ranked No. 66 and No. 63, respectively.
Although the ranking is a far cry from the top programs in the country, Cougar coaches believe they can compete nationally with the level of athlete they attract to the program.
"The only acceptable result for us at BYU is to be nationally relevant," said BYU assistant head coach Ed Lamb. "To say our recruiting is going to be nationally toe-to-toe with the top five to 10 teams in the country consistently — that's not going to happen. But if we have an eye toward player development ... then that's how we've got to get there."
That's not to suggest the 2018 class wasn't without some standouts. Cougar coaches worked hard to secure the commitment of receiver Gunner Romney, with the Arizona prep product reaffirming his commitment late in the process after being courted heavily by Arizona State.
Romney ranks as a three-star prospect on Rivals and four-star on 247, and is considered by some to be the Cougars' top 2018 signee. Romney ranks as the lone four-star prospect of the 2018 class.
"He's a big, strong receiver who I think is not only a talented player, but the right kind of kid," said BYU offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes. "The guy is all business and is very serious about his training and has a plan to get here and compete right away."
The skill position players are led by Romney, Bingham High's Brayden Cosper and Lehi's Dallin Holker. Both Cosper and Romney project as wide receivers, while Holker projects as a tight end.
The 2018 class includes a lot of prospects from the Utah prep ranks and what appears to be a solid offensive line class on paper. That group is led by local standouts such as Lone Peak's Connor Pay and Weber's Tysen Lewis. Other linemen signed include Campbell Barrington (Spokane, Washington) and Jacob Smith (Rosemount, Minnesota.)
"These guys fit what we're looking for," Grimes said. "One of the advantages I think we have the opportunity to have here at BYU is size. We can have size and length at every position, really, but we certainly want to start that with (the offensive line.)"
Another top 2018 signee is Corner Canyon quarterback Zach Wilson, who received a three-star ranking and switched his commitment from Boise State to BYU late in the process. Wilson should compete for the starting quarterback job immediately. He is already enrolled in school and will participate in spring practices.
Altogether BYU signed 22 athletes for 2018 with seven of those planning to serve LDS Church missions before enrolling. Those six are Barrington, Holker, Isaac Matua, Viliami Tausinga, Talan Alfrey, Oliver Nasilai and Ben Tuipulotu.
BYU also welcomes home 14 players off of LDS Church mission service for the 2018 season.
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Feb. 7 signees
Dallin Holker, 6-foot-4, 220 tight end from Lehi High School
Danny Jones, 6-4, 223 punter from Australia
Isaiah Herron, 6-1, 175 defensive back from Las Vegas
Alex Miskela, a 6-1, 220 linebacker from Los Alamitos, Calif.
Gunner Romney, 6-2, 180 receiver from Chandler, Ariz.
Viliami Tausinga, 6-2, 220 linebacker from East High School
Amone Finau, 6-2, 205 running back from Kearns High School
Malik Moore, 6-1, 180 defensive back from San Diego
Dec. 20-22 signees
Talan Alfrey DB 6-3 185 Auburn, Washington (Auburn Mountainview HS)
Campbell Barrington OL 6-6 280 Spokane, Washington (University HS)
Stacy Conner QB 6-5 185 Wylie, Texas (Wylie HS)
Brayden Cosper WR 6-3 195 South Jordan (Bingham HS)
Brach Davis DB 6-1 170 Salt Lake City (Olympus HS)
Harris LaChance OL 6-8 275 Herriman (Herriman HS)
Tysen Lewis OL 6-5 270 Ogden (Weber HS)
Isaac Matua LB 6-3 205 Kearns (Kearns HS)
Oliver Nasilai LB 6-2 245 Jessieville, Arkansas (Jessieville HS)
Chinonso Opara DL 6-8 270 Draper (Juan Diego Catholic HS)
Connor Pay OL 6-6 295 Highland (Lone Peak HS)
Jacob Smith OL 6-6 305 Farmington, Minnesota (Rosemount HS)
Ben Tuipulotu TE 6-4 200 Fort Mill, South Carolina (Nation Ford HS)
Zach Wilson QB 6-3 195 Draper (Corner Canyon HS)
Returned Missionaries (Winter 2018 start)
Jeremiah Ieremia LB 6-0, 230 Hurricane (Hurricane HS)
Devin Kaufusi DL 6-6, 265 Provo (Timpview HS)
Hirkley Latu LB 6-3, 230 Kahuku, Hawaii (Kahuku HS)
David Lui DL 6-4, 255 Pittsburgh, California (Pittsburgh HS)
Returned Missionaries (Fall 2018 start)
Clark Barrington OL 6-6, 275 Spokane Valley, Washington (University HS)
Sione Finau RB 5-11, 175 Kearns (Kearns HS)
J.T. Gentry OL 6-5, 285 Littleton, Colorado (Columbine HS)
Jaren Hall QB 6-1, 195 Spanish Fork (Maple Mountain HS)
Drew Jensen DB 6-2, 195 Sandy (Brighton HS)
Atunaisa Mahe DL 6-1, 295 West Jordan (West Jordan HS)
Darius McFarland DL 6-3, 250 Brigham City (Box Elder HS)
Skyler Southam K 6-0, 185 Heber City (Wasatch HS)
Max Tooley DB 6-2, 195 Bountiful (Bountiful HS)
Hank Tuipulotu TE 6-3, 225 Fort Mill, South Carolina (Nation Ford HS)