BYU announces 2020 football recruiting class
PROVO, Utah (February 5, 2020) – BYU head coach Kalani Sitake announced the football program’s 2020 recruiting class Wednesday.
“I am happy for this class, their families and all of the hard work they have put in to be here,” Sitake said. “This class has a lot of guys who can contribute and be more ready to play than ever before.”
The Cougars announced 14 prospects Wednesday on National Signing Day. The new recruits join the 13 who previously signed during the early signing period in December. Several of the announced recruits plan to serve church missions prior to enrolling.
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The newcomers announced Wednesday include graduate transfer running back from the University of Utah, Devonta’e Henry-Cole, and Las Vegas speedster Miles Davis, a versatile athlete that can play offense or defense. BYU also added several top linebacker prospects, including Arizona product Tate Romney, the younger brother of current Cougars Baylor and Gunner Romney, and Bodie Schoonover, a local standout from American Fork.
“I want to thank our coaches, recruiting staff, student staff and players for all of their recruiting efforts this year,” Sitake said. “They are terrific ambassadors for our university and have helped these new recruits understand what BYU is all about. We also had great help from our campus faculty and of course all of Cougar Nation.”
The total 2020 class comes from eight different states. Eight are local to the state of Utah while six come from California, five from Hawai’i, four from Arizona and one each from Nevada, Texas, South Carolina and Florida.
Members of the new class include 15 defensive players—six defensive backs, five linebackers, three defensive linemen and one who could play with his hand on the ground as a lineman or as a linebacker. On the other side, 11 offensive recruits were added to the program—five wide receivers, three running backs, two offensive linemen and one quarterback. The Cougars also brought in another athlete who could play defensive back or wide receiver.
Romney and Schoonover highlight a strong group of backers coming in. Romney led Chandler High School to three state titles in three years, earning multiple all-state honors in Arizona and posted 272 career tackles. Schoonover, the No. 6 ranked prospect in Utah, was also a first-team all-state selection. The 6-foot-4 prospect has a big frame and offers versatility in coverage or to rush the passer.
Logan Pili and Ace Kaufusi also signed Wednesday. Pili, the younger brother of current linebacker Keenan Pili and recent graduate Trajan Pili, follows in the family footsteps from Timpview High School while Kaufusi, the cousin of current linebackers Jackson and Isaiah Kaufusi, also keep things a family affair. Kaufusi is another tall defensive prospect at 6-foot-3 out of Hawaiian powerhouse Kahuku High School.
Also at linebacker, BYU added Josh Wilson in December, the younger brother of current quarterback Zach Wilson. The younger Wilson is fresh off a 2019 state championship at Corner Canyon where he was a 6A All-State first teamer and had 130 tackles, nine tackles for loss, six sacks and four interceptions.
The Cougars added another defensive line prospect, John Nelson, after signing three in December. Nelson, at 6-foot-4, 260 pounds, could play end or at tackle after earning all-state honors out of Salem Hills High School in Utah. Nelson comes from an athletic family, with both parents playing college basketball, including his mother at BYU.
The three defensive line recruits from December include Tuipulotu Lai, Alex Muti and Josh Larsen. Lai, from Maui at 6-3, 270 pounds, can play on either the inside or at end, while Muti, from the Big Island of Hawai’i, posted 17 sacks as a junior and projects as a rush end or at linebacker with a long frame at 6-foot-3, 205 pounds. Larsen, a 6-foot-4, 230-pound Utah product, played at Woods Cross High School in Utah and had 48 tackles and five sacks in 2019 to earn 5A All-State honorable mention.
BYU added four more defensive backs in February. Preston Rex, Ty Burke, Dean Jones and Petey Tuipulotu join Jacques Wilson and Micah Harper who previously signed in December. All six offer unique versatility and played multiple positions.
Rex and Tuipulotu are the sons of former Cougars, including All-American tight end Byron Rex and running back Peter Tuipulotu. Rex played all over the field for San Clemente High School at receiver, defensive back and punt returner with 43 catches, 445 yards, seven touchdowns and 53 tackles. Tuipulotu had a similar career at Nation Ford High School in South Carolina with 47 receptions, 832 yards and 10 touchdowns to go along with 66 tackles on defense. Both athletic prospects have brothers on the team that all play tight end, Isaac Rex, Hank Tuipulotu and Ben Tuipulotu. Ben is due back from his mission and will join the team in the fall.
Burke was a 6A all-state second teamer out of Syracuse High School and will make his mark on defense despite posting 787 receiving yards and 12 scores as a senior on offense. Jones starred in his senior year at American Leadership Academy in Arizona with 70 tackles and an interception en route to a state title.
Jacques Wilson, a junior college prospect, has the speed to compete right away with a 10.6 100-meter time, while Harper is a versatile athlete that played all over the field at Basha High School in Chandler, Arizona, recording 517 passing yards, 264 rushing yards, 149 receiving yards and 26 tackles as a senior.
New signee Miles Davis could end up at defensive back or wide receiver with elite speed. Coming out of Las Vegas High School, Davis posted 46 receptions, 1,041 yards and 11 touchdowns and was a Junior Olympian in the 200m and 400m on the track.
In addition to Davis, BYU’s wide receiver group was a big focus, with three signing in December and two more joining the program with the February additions.
Another local product, Devin Downing brings in big numbers from American Fork High School after a senior campaign of 103 receptions, 1,787 yards and 23 touchdowns. He posted more than 3,000 yards in two seasons.
Koa Eldredge out of Punahou High School in Hawai’i is a multi-sport prospect that will play wideout on the gridiron and is also planning to play for BYU’s baseball team.
In December, the Cougars added 5-foot-10, 170-pound Kody Epps from California powerhouse Mater Dei. Epps set school records with 93 catches, 1,735 yards and 28 touchdowns as a senior.
In addition to Epps, Terence Fall, a rare international product originally from France, joins the program as a 6-foot-2, 185-pounder at receiver with raw talent that played multiple positions and stood out at Aquinas High School in San Bernardino, California, with 41 receptions, 682 yards and six touchdowns.
The Cougars also grabbed a receiver out of the junior college ranks in 5-10, 180-pound speedster Chris Jackson. Jackson had 50 receptions for 695 yards and four touchdowns while also adding 14 kick returns for 340 yards. Jackson had 100 or more all-purpose yards in five games during the 2018 season.
BYU welcomed another quarterback to the fold in December in Sol-Jay Maiava, the No. 23 dual-threat quarterback nationally by 247Sports. Originally from Hawai’i, Maiava played his last two seasons in Washington D.C. at St. John’s College High School after transferring from the Kahuku Red Raiders. Maiava led the Cadets to a 9-1 season as a junior and another MaxPreps Xcellent 25 ranking in 2019.
Also on the offensive side, BYU signed three running backs, including Utah transfer Devonta’e Henry-Cole in February and in December picked up Texarkana product Bruce Garrett and in-state prospect Nukuluve Helu from Tooele, Utah.
Henry-Cole posted 90 carries for 469 yards and four touchdowns in 25 games at Utah. He averaged 5.2 yards per carry for the Utes. The speedy Henry-Cole prepped at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Florida, where he also competed in track, clocking a 10.8 in the 100-meter.
Garrett posted 1,796 rushing yards as a senior with 17 scores and led Pleasant Grove in Texarkana to its second state title in three years in 2019. Helu had four 100-yard games as a senior en route to 1,178 yards and eight scores in 2019.
Blocking for the new skill players will be two offensive linemen recruits in Jake Griffin from Red Mountain High School and Isaiah Tupou out of Grant Union High School.
Griffin, who has a great frame to start with at 6-foot-6, 265 pounds, played both ways as an AZPreps365 all-conference selection. At 6-foot-3, 316 pounds, Tupou is a force on the interior and also played both ways with 34 tackles and 7.0 tackles for loss in 2019.
In addition to the newly announced class, nine players were added to the program in January, including seven who returned from serving missions. The midyear additions hail from four different states, including six from Utah and one each from Connecticut, Washington and California.
Seven players returned after previously signing with BYU during prior signing classes. Tyler Batty (defensive lineman from Payson, Utah), Caleb Christensen (defensive back from Smithfield, Utah) and Preston Lewis (linebacker from Alpine, Utah) are defensive players while Bentley Hanshaw (tight end from Moorpark, California) and Seth Willis (offensive lineman from Sandy Hook, Connecticut) help on the offensive side of the ball along with Mason Fakahua (athlete from Cedar City, Utah), who could play on either side of the ball. Ryan Rehkow (Punter from Veradale, Washington) will add his talents to BYU’s special teams. Hanshaw was a redshirt tight end on BYU’s 2017 team while the others joined the program for the first time in January.
Also joining the team for the first time for the winter semester was Andrew Slack (defensive lineman from Springville, Utah) and Fisher Jackson (athlete from South Jordan, Utah).
EXPECTED FALL ADDITIONS
BYU also expects to add five more returning missionaries in time for the fall of 2020. Those include Tanner Baker (defensive lineman from Moorpark, California), Ben Tuipulotu (tight end from Fort Mill, South Carolina), Campbell Barrington (offensive lineman from Spokane, Washington), Connor Pay (offensive lineman from Highland, Utah) and Tysen Lewis (offensive lineman from Ogden, Utah).
February 5 Recruits
|Petey Tuipulotu||DB||6-3||190||Fort Mill, South Carolina||Nation Ford HS|
|Ty Burke||DB||6-1||175||Syracuse, Utah||Syracuse HS|
|Preston Rex||DB||6-0||187||San Clemente, California||San Clemente HS|
|Dean Jones||DB||6-2||190||Phoenix, Arizona||North Canyon HS/American Leadership Academy|
|Bodie Schoonover||LB||6-4||215||American Fork, Utah||American Fork HS|
|Logan Pili||LB||6-1||205||Provo, Utah||Timpview HS|
|John Nelson||DL||6-4||260||Salem, Utah||Salem Hills HS|
|Jake Griffin||OL||6-6||265||Mesa, Arizona||Red Mountain HS|
|Devin Downing||WR||6-2||175||American Fork, Utah||American Fork HS|
|Tate Romney||LB||6-3||220||Chandler, Arizona||Chandler HS|
|Miles Davis||DB/WR||6-1||193||Las Vegas, Nevada||Las Vegas HS|
|Devonta'e Henry-Cole||RB||5-9||197||Boca Raton, Florida||University of Utah|
|Ace Kaufusi||DB||6-3||200||Kahuku, Hawai'i||Kahuku HS|
|Koa Eldredge||WR||6-0||190||Honolulu, Hawai'i||Punahou HS|
|Sol-Jay Maiava||QB||6-0||190||Laie, Hawai'i/ Washington D.C.||St. John's College HS|
|Bruce Garrett||RB||5-11||190||Texarkana, Texas||Pleasant Grove HS|
|Josh Wilson||LB||6-0||210||Draper, Utah||Corner Canyon HS|
|Micah Harper||DB||5-11||170||Chandler, Arizona||Basha HS|
|Nukuluve Helu||RB||6-1||195||Tooele, Utah||Tooele HS|
|Kody Epps||WR||5-10||170||Los Angeles, California||Mater Dei HS|
|Terence Fall||WR||6-2||185||Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France||Aquinas HS (San Bernardino, California)|
|Jacques Wilson||DB||5-11||185||Culver City, California||West LA College|
|Chris Jackson||WR||5-10||180||Pomona, California||Mt. San Antonio College|
|Tuipulotu Lai||DL||6-3||270||Lahaina, Hawai'i||Lahainaluna HS|
|Alex Muti||DL/LB||6-3||205||Kealakekua, Hawai'i||Konowaena HS|
|Isaiah Tupou||OL||6-3||316||Sacramento, California||Grant Union HS|
|Josh Larsen||DL||6-4||230||Woods Cross, Utah||Woods Cross HS|
|Tyler Batty||DL||6-5||235||Payson, Utah||Payson HS|
|Caleb Christensen||DB||5-9||180||Smithfield, Utah||Sky View HS|
|Mason Fakahua||ATH||6-3||210||Cedar City, Utah||Cedar City HS|
|Bentley Hanshaw||TE||6-6||225||Moorpark, California||Moorpark HS|
|Fisher Jackson||ATH||6-5||220||South Jordan, Utah||Herriman HS|
|Preston Lewis||LB||6-2||225||Alpine, Utah||Lone Peak HS|
|Ryan Rehkow||P/K||6-5||205||Veradale, Washington||Central Valley HS|
|Andrew Slack||OL||6-5||290||Springville, Utah||Springville HS|
|Seth Willis||OL||6-6||325||Sandy Hook, Connecticut||Newton HS|
Expected Fall Additions
|Tanner Baker||DL||6-5||260||Moorepark, California||Allatoona HS|
|Ben Tuipulotu||TE||6-4||200||Fort Mill, South Carolina||National Ford HS|
|Campbell Barrington||OL||6-6||280||Spokane, Washington||University HS|
|Connor Pay||OL||6-6||295||Highland, Utah||Lone Peak HS|
|Tysen Lewis||OL||6-5||270||Ogden, Utah||Weber HS|
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