BYU adds three more to balanced 2023 recruiting class


PROVO, Utah – BYU added three more signees Wednesday on National Signing Day to add to the previously announced recruits who signed during December's early signing period and from the transfer portal. 

The Cougars added star running back LJ Martin out of El Paso, Texas, NJCAA All-American David Latu, a top junior college prospect out of Snow College, and local defensive line standout Motekiai Mo'unga from Provo's Timpview High School.

With the three new additions, BYU has now signed 26 total players, including 15 high school recruits and 11 transfers for the 2023 class. In addition to the new signees, the Cougars also announced 13 players joining the program for the 2023 season from prior signing classes who are returning from missions or joining the program for the first time.

"This recruiting class is a great mix of talent from the high school ranks and transfer portal," BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said. "This group not only helps us with immediate needs for this upcoming season but also provides a strong balance of talent for the years ahead as we continue to grow our program and compete year-in and year-out as a member of the Big 12. I am excited to welcome all of these young men to BYU, including our returned missionaries and others joining our 2023 team from our prior signing classes."

The new recruits average composite ranking on is 86.2, BYU's highest average composite score since 247Sports began tracking recruits in 1999. The mark tops the Cougars' highest average of 85.2 in the 2010 class. The composite provides the average quality assessment of players signed by combining the recruitment ratings from 247Sports, and ESPN. 

Martin, an ESPN Top 300 recruit and four-star prospect by, joins four players with four stars from 247Sports in the 2023 signing class, including running back Aidan Robbins, defensive back Eddie Heckard, tight end Jackson Bowers and linebacker Siale Esera. The last time BYU signed a class that featured four players with four or more stars by 247Sports was in 2002.

Martin, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound specimen from Canutillo High School in El Paso, Texas, comes to BYU after rushing for more than 6,100 yards in high school and 60 touchdowns. A two-time 5A MVP in Texas, Martin ran for 2,137 yards and scored 23 total touchdowns last season en route to a district championship at Canutillo. As a junior, Martin ran for 2,737 yards and 29 touchdowns as a 5A All-State First Team selection. 

Latu comes to BYU after spending the 2022 season at Snow College. The 6-foot-4, 295-pound defensive lineman earned NJCAA All-America Second Team honors after posting 23 total tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, one sack and a fumble recovery. Latu was part of a defense at Snow ranked No. 13 among junior colleges in total defense, allowing just 272.3 yards per game, and No. 6 in rushing yards per game at 80.1 yards. 

Mo'unga, a 6-foot-3, 250-pound local product out of Provo's Timpview High School, brings another versatile athlete to the defensive line room. Mo'unga totaled 44 tackles and 5.5 sacks as a senior, helping Timpview to the 5A state championship game last year. 

With the 26 combined new signees, BYU is bringing in 13 offensive players and 13 defensive players. The 13 on offense include four offensive lineman, three quarterbacks, three running backs, two tight ends and one wide receiver. On the defensive side, seven defensive lineman join the program with three linebackers, two defensive backs and one athlete that can play multiple positions. 

BYU continues to recruit all over the country, starting with the homegrown talent in Utah producing 12 of the new recruits. Four recruits come from California while three are out of Arizona. BYU picked up recruits from Colorado, Nevada, Texas, Kentucky, Illinois, Hawaii and even outside the United States in Alberta, Canada. 

Read more on BYU's December signees and earlier transfer portal additions

The 13 previous signees joining the program for 2023 after returning from missions or enrolling for the first time include seven on defense—three defensive backs, two defensive linemen and two linebackers—while five are on offense—two offensive linemen, two wide receivers—and one running back and one could end up on either side of the ball. 

Watch the BYU football press conferences conducted Wednesday with head coach Kalani Sitake and associate head coach/defensive coordinator Jay Hill, offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick and special teams coordinator Kelly Poppinga as they addressed questions from the media.

Bios and more information on each recruit are listed below, including Wednesday's February signees, the December's high school additions, transfers and the other incoming players for 2023. 

February Signees

LATU, David DL 6-4 295 Bountiful, Utah Snow College/Bingham HS
MARTIN, LJ RB 6-2 205 El Paso, Texas Canutillo HS
MO'UNGA, Motekiai DL 6-3 250 Provo, Utah Timpview HS

December High School Signees

BOWERS, Jackson TE 6-5 245 Mesa, Arizona Mountain View HS
BORG, Owen LB 6-2 200 Draper, Utah Corner Canyon HS
BURTON, Ryder QB 6-2 185 Springville, Utah Springville HS
WATSON, Pierson LB 6-3 210 Flagstaff, Arizona Coconino HS
TANGILANU, David DL 6-5 255 East Palo Alto, California Menlo-Atherton HS
PHILLIPS, Jojo WR 6-5 190 Lancaster, California Sierra Canyon HS
HALL, Miles ATH 6-2 205 St. George, Utah Skyline HS
ESERA, Siale LB 6-3 250 Provo, Utah Timpview HS
DAVIS, Saimone DL 6-5 220 Hauula, Hawaii Colleyville Heritage HS
FREDRICK, Matthew TE 6-5 230 Salt Lake City, Utah East HS
HAUNGA, Pokaiaua RB/WR 5-11 200 Orem, Utah Timpview HS
PUTUTAU, Talitu'i DL 6-5 260 Salt Lake City, Utah West HS
THOMASON, Ethan OL 6-8 320 Fort Collins, Colorado Rocky Mountain HS


DUNLAP, Jayden DB 6-1 180 Carson, California Cerritos College
ROBBINS, Aidan RB 6-3 230 Louisville, Kentucky UNLV/Louisville
BAGNAH, Isaiah DL 6-4 225 Lethbridge, Alberta Boise State
SLOVIS, Kedon QB 6-3 215 Scottsdale, Arizona Pittsburgh/USC
CRAVENS, Jackson DL 6-2 305 Provo, Utah Boise State
LAPUAHO, Weylin OL 6-4 310 South Jordan, Utah Utah State
RETZLAFF, Jake QB 6-2 200 Corona, California Riverside City College
FITZGERALD, Ian OL 6-5 299 Hawthorn Woods, Illinois Missouri State
MAILE, Paul OL 6-2 304 Salt Lake City, Utah Utah
HECKARD, Eddie DB 5-10 190 Las Vegas, Nevada Weber State

Signed in previous classes

BURKE, Ty DB 6-1 175 Syracuse, Utah Syracuse HS
CHIDESTER, Kaden OL 6-8 290 Richfield, Utah Richfield HS
DAMUNI, Raider DB 6-2 190 Provo, Utah Timpview HS
DALEY, John Henry DL 6-5 225 Alpine, Utah Lone Peak HS
DOWNING, Devin WR 6-2 175 American Fork, Utah American Fork HS
ELDREDGE, Koa WR 6-0 190 Honolulu, Hawaii Punahou HS
ESPLIN, Zoom DL 6-8 250 Encinitas, California LaCosta Canyon
GRIFFIN, Jake OL 6-8 280 Mesa, Arizona Red Mountain HS
HELU, Nukuluve RB 6-1 200 Tooele, Utah Tooele HS
KAUFUSI, Ace LB 6-3 205 Kahuku, Hawaii Kahuku HS
KAUFUSI, Maika LB 6-4 205 Cottonwood Heights, Utah Alta HS
McKENZIE, Marcus DB/WR 6-0 165 St. George, Utah Pine View HS
TUIPULOTU, Petey DB 6-3 190 Fort Mill, South Carolina Nation Ford HS