PROVO — BYU officially announced four additions to its football team for the 2019 signing class on Wednesday to the 14 athletes who already signed during the early December signing period. Throw in 18 more, the majority of whom are returning from Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints missionary service, and the Cougars have 36 total new scholarships to the football team.
But it's never that easy determining scholarship spots for the Cougars in any year. Take this year, which has nine of the 18 players signed set to leave on Church missions before enrolling, and the total number becomes 27 new additions, but mirrors what most programs bring in from year to year.
"We're excited to talk about our signees and this is a day for all those who signed," said BYU coach Kalani Sitake on Wednesday. "I'm also excited for the returned missionaries returning to the program this year and also the preferred walk-ons."
Coaches can't name any of the preferred walk-ons, but did comment on several of those signed during the December and February signing periods, with the initial focus on the four newest additions.
Those four include defensive back Dimitri Gallow, a 6-foot, 190-pound athlete from Mt. San Jacinto Junior college; Luc Andrada, a 5-10, 175 athlete from Pueblo, Colorado; Javelle Brown, a 6-1, 180 athlete from San Diego; and Cade Albright, a 6-5, 215 defensive lineman from San Juan Capistrano, California.
While Gallow is expected to contribute immediately at defensive back, the positions for Andrada and Brown are yet to be determined. Albright will serve a mission before enrolling. Coaches also expect eight or nine additions by way of preferred walk-on status to the team this coming season.
One conspicuous hole on Wednesday's signing list was the lack of a single running back addition among incoming scholarship athletes outside of Jackson McChesney, who returns from mission service. Despite the lack of incoming scholarship running backs, Sitake expressed confidence in fielding enough able bodies at the position for the coming season, noting that at least one of the prospects listed as "athlete" could play running back.
"We have a good group of running backs in our program right now, and I think some of these (new additions) will really fit," Sitake said. "We feel really comfortable with the group we brought in."
Overall the 24/7 Recruiting network ranked this year's BYU class No. 78 nationally, with several of those signed not assigned many stars in their individual rankings. The majority of those signed didn't come as a result of beating out major programs, but by identifying good fits within the program.
That's not to say BYU's class is bereft of high-profile athletes; the highest-regarded athlete signed Wednesday was Albright. Albright elected to sign with BYU over offers from Utah, Cal and UCLA, among others.
"He brings a lot to the table," said BYU defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki. "Even more than that is he's a great kid and a great fit for our program ... He definitely brings a lot to the table athletically with his ability to rush the passer and he fits the mold."
Albright joins other BYU signees who were offered multiple scholarships from high-end programs, such as 4-star quarterback Jacob Conover and 3-star receiver Chase Roberts.
As for those returning from missions, standouts include linebacker Chaz Ah You (6-2, 205), tight end Isaac Rex (6-5, 235) and linebacker Ben Bywater (6-3, 210), among others.
"I'm just proud that they served missions, thought of others and sacrificed money and their own time to help others," Sitake said. "So we're excited to get (them) back."
—Dimitri Gallow, DB, 6-0, 190 (Mt. San Jacinto College)
—Luc Andrada, ATH, 5-10, 175 (Pueblo, Colorado)
—Javelle Brown, ATH, 6-1, 180 (San Diego)
—Cade Albright, DL, 6-5, 215 (San Juan Capistrano, California)
—Caleb Christensen, DB, 5-9, 180 (Sky View High School)
—Eric Ellison, DB, 5-11, 170 (Mt. San Jacinto College)
—George Udo, DB, 6-1, 210, (Walnut Creek, California)
—Michael Daley, LB, 6-3, 220 (Lone Peak High School)
—Brooks Maile, DL, 6-4, 285 (Pine View High School)
—Bruce Mitchell, DL, 6-4, 265 (South Summit High School)
—Jacob Conover, QB, 6-1, 205 (Chandler, Arizona)
—Blake Freeland, OL, 6-8, 260 (Herriman High School)
—Brock Gunderson, OL, 6-4, 265 (Cypress, Texas)
—Eli Unutoa, OL, 6-5, 290 (Kapa'a, Hawaii)
—Ethan Erickson, TE, 6-5, 225 (Kahuku, Hawaii)
—Carter Wheat, TE, 6-4, 225 (Mesa, Arizona)
—Keanu Hill, WR, 6-3, 190 (Euless, Texas)
—Chase Roberts, WR, 6-4, 195 (American Fork High School)
Returning missionaries/New additions
—Ammon Hannemann, DB, 6-2, 190 (Lone Peak High School)
—Tyler Batty, DL, 6-5, 235 (Payson High School)
—Seleti Fevaleaki, DL, 6-3, 290 (Corona, California)
—Freddy Livai, DL, 6-4, 260 (Fontana, California)
—Chaz Ah You, LB, 6-2, 205 (Timpview High School)
—Ben Bywater, LB, 6-3, 210 (Olympus High School)
—Solofa Funa, LB, 6-2, 225 (Spanish Fork High School)
—Preston Lewis, LB, 6-2, 225 (Lone Peak High School)17 comments on this story
—Alex Miskela, LB, 6-1, 220 (Los Alamitos, California)
—Keenan Pili, LB, 6-3, 215 (Timpview High School)
—Caden Haws, OL, 6-2, 275 (Little Rock, Arizona)
—Seth Willis, OL, 6-6, 325 (Sandy Hook, Connecticut)
—Jackson McChesney, RB, 6-0, 187 (Lone Peak High School)
—Donovan Hanna, TE, 6-4, 230 (Queen Creek, Arizona)
—Alema Pilimai, TE, 6-4, 205 (Tustin, California)
—Isaac Rex, TE, 6-5, 235 (San Clemente, California)
—Jake Oldroyd, K, 6-1, 170 (Southlake, Texas)
—Ryan Rehkow, P, 6-5, 205 (Veradale, Washington)