Kenny Cox | Posted: 2 Feb 2022 | Updated: 28 Mar 2022

BYU adds six recruits on National Signing Day

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2022 Football Signing Day
BYU Football Signing Day December 2021 2022 Football Signing Day 2022 Football Signing Day 2022 Football Signing Day 2022 Football Signing Day

PROVO, Utah (Feb. 2, 2022) — BYU head coach Kalani Sitake announced six additional signees to his program's 2022 recruiting class during Wednesday’s National Signing Day.

“I am really pleased to add these players to our recruiting class,” Sitake said. “This group will be a great fit for the university and for the needs of our team. They have a lot of athleticism and will help our depth and competitiveness with their size and speed. We are looking forward to having them be a part of our family here at BYU.”

The six new members of the BYU football program include four defensive backs, one defensive lineman and one offensive lineman.

Watch Signing Day Press Conference
VIew Official News Release & Breakdowns PDF

The lone offensive addition is Lisala Tai, a 6-foot-7, 336-pound offensive lineman from Snow College. Tai, from Inglewood, California, played tackle at Snow for two seasons, helping the Badgers to a 15-2 record over two seasons that featured a national runner-up finish followed by a bid to the first-ever NJCAA playoffs last year.

Zoom Esplin, a long edge-rusher at 6-foot-8, 250 pounds from Encinitas, California, is one of five players joining the program on the defensive side of the ball. Esplin played at La Costa Canyon High School where he was a multi-sport athlete who contributed on the offensive and defensive lines.

Four defensive backs signed on Wednesday, including three from California and one prospect from Oklahoma. Zion Allen (6-1, 150, Manteca HS), Nathaniel Gillis (6-1, 174, Steele Canyon HS) and Evan Johnson (6-1, 175, Stevenson HS) join the program from California while Tulsa, Oklahoma, product Korbyn Green (6-0, 175, Owasso HS) bolsters the position group as a 10.7 100-meter speedster.

They join the 19 signees from December’s early signing period that featured 10 offensive players and nine on defense with several signees who could play multiple positions on either side of the ball.

BYU also added two mid-year graduate transfers to the offense with tailback Christopher Brooks out of Cal and fullback Houston Heimuli from Stanford.

In all, the 27 newcomers include 13 offensive players and 14 defenders. Offensively, six linemen, four receivers, two running backs and one tight end join the program while the defensive recruits include six defensive backs, five linemen and three linebackers.

Headlining a talented group of offensive new additions in December were Oregon offensive line transfer Kingsley Suamataia (6-6, 330, Orem HS) and Corner Canyon High School receiver Cody Hagen, the 2021 Utah Gatorade Player of the Year.  Suamataia was the Utah 5A MVP as a senior in 2020 and was rated a five-star recruit considered one of the top offensive tackles in the country in class of 2021: No. 5 (Rivals), No. 6 (247Sports), No. 11 (ESPN).

Hagen (6-1, 180, Corner Canyon HS), the top receiver recruit in Utah, leads a fleet-footed receiver group that also includes Dominique McKenzie (6-0, 165, Pine View HS), Parker Kingston (6-0, 175, Roy HS) and Jarinn Kalama (6-3, 195, Wasatch HS). Hagen amassed 201 receptions for 3,927 yards and 51 touchdowns during his prep career, including 89 receptions for 1,805 yards (129/game) and 23 touchdowns in 2021.  Meanwhile, tight end signee Noah Moeaki (6-3, 220, American Fork HS) adds another strong pass-catching threat to the Cougar arsenal.

The two graduate transfer backs, Brooks (6-1, 235, Cal), and Heimuli (5-11, 265, Stanford) joined the program in January and are expected to be contributors in the backfield right away.

Newcomers joining the offensive and defensive lines make up nearly half of those who signed. In addition to Suamataia, BYU’s offensive line signees in December included Peter Falaniko (6-3, 315, Pine View HS), Trevin Ostler (6-6, 260, Bountiful HS), Vae Soifua (6-4, 290, Orem HS) and Talin Togiai (6-5, 291, Rigby HS). 

BYU’s defensive front was bolstered in December by four-star prospect Aisea Moa (6-3, 245, Weber HS), Utah’s top defensive line prospect, who totaled 73 tackles, 10.5 sacks, two interceptions and a defensive touchdown in 2021.  Fellow Utah-native Kaden Chidester (6-8, 240, Richfield HS) and Arizona products Cooper Ross (6-5, 245, Heritage Academy) and Brooks Jones (6-6, 190, American Leadership Academy), brother of BYU defensive back Dean Jones, also joined the class in December.

Linebackers signing with the Cougars in December included Maika Kaufusi (6-4, 185, Alta HS), Liutai Kinikini (6-3, 195, West HS) and Micah Wilson (6-3, 215, Corner Canyon HS). Wilson, the younger brother of All-American quarterback Zach Wilson, will join his brother Josh in the BYU linebacker room, while Kaufusi, the brother of former linebacker star Isaiah Kaufusi, also joins his brother Jackson on the linebacker roster.

The BYU secondary received official commitments in December from cornerbacks Cannon DeVries (6-0, 165, Weber HS) and Marcus McKenzie (6-0, 165, Pine View HS). McKenzie and his brother, receiver signee, Dominique, are twin sons of former BYU running back Brian McKenzie (1996-97) and former Cougar track athlete Salote O’Reilly (1996-2000).

In all, BYU will add 16 players from Utah along with six from California, two from Arizona one each from Hawai’i, Idaho and Oklahoma.

In addition to mid-year enrollees Brooks, Heimuli, Suamataia, and Moa, four previously signed recruits also enrolled at BYU for winter semester to join the program after serving as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. All from Utah, defensive linemen Logan Fano (6-4, 225, Timpview HS), Brooks Maile (6-4, 285, Pine View HS) and Bruce Mitchell (6-4, 265, South Summit HS) have returned as well as defensive back Isaiah Glasker (6-5, 205, Bingham HS) after signing in previous classes.

February Signees

Zoom Esplin DL 6-8 250 Encinitas, CA La Costa Canyon High School
Lisala Tai OL 6-7 336 Inglewood, CA Snow College/Hawthorne High School
Nathaniel Gillis DB 6-1 174 San Diego, CA Steele Canyon High School
Korbyn Green DB 6-0 175 Tulsa, OK Owasso High School
Zion Allen DB 6-1 150 Stockton, CA Manteca High School
Evan Johnson DB 6-1 175 Monterey, CA Stevenson High School

December Signees

Kingsley Suamataia OL 6-6 330 Orem, UT Oregon/Orem High School
Noah Moeaki TE 6-3 220 American Fork, UT American Fork High School
Peter Falaniko OL 6-3 315 St. George, UT Pine View High School
Parker Kingston WR 6-0 175 Layton, UT Roy High School
Brooks Jones DL 6-6 190 Queen Creek, AZ American Leadership Academy
Kaden Chidester DL 6-8 240 Richfield, UT Richfield High School
Dominique McKenzie WR/DB 6-0 165 St. George, UT Pine View High School
Cooper Ross DL 6-5 245 Mesa, AZ Heritage High School
Trevin Ostler OL 6-6 260 Bountiful, UT Bountiful High School
Cody Hagen WR 6-1 180 Draper, UT Corner Canyon High School
Aisea Moa DL 6-3 245 North Ogden, UT Weber High School
Marcus McKenzie DB/WR 6-0 165 St. George, UT Pine View High School
Cannon DeVries CB 6-0 165 North Ogden, UT Weber High School
Liutai Kinikini LB/DB 6-3 195 Herriman, UT West High School
Vae Soifua OL 6-4 290 Orem, UT Orem High School
Maika Kaufusi LB 6-4 185 Cottonwood Heights, UT Alta High School
Jarinn Kalama WR 6-3 195 Honolulu, HI Wasatch High School
Talin Togiai OL 6-5 291 Rigby, ID Rigby High School
Micah Wilson LB 6-3 215 Draper, UT Corner Canyon High School