PROVO — BYU’s signing class of 2017 was nearly in the books by Wednesday at noon.
And then a helicopter flew into Provo with good news.
Timpview safety Chaz Ah You announced his commitment to the Cougars by flying into LaVell Edwards Stadium in a helicopter, punctuating the first full recruiting class under head coach Kalani Sitake with the team’s second four-star recruit.
BYU signed 24 high school signees, six-mid-year enrollees, and also added 10 returned missionaries that will trickle into the program between now and the fall semester. Of those 24, a dozen of them hail from the state of Utah.
Not that Sitake was counting.
“Personally, I prepare for the worst to happen. Anything else looks great,” Sitake said with what is becoming his standard self-deprecating humor. “Today happened to be really, really good. It’s probably not the best way to live life, but with recruiting, you kind of have to do that.”
Ah You, the son of BYU director of football athletic relations Jasen Ah You, signed his name on the dotted line after a high-profile recruitment that included offers from UCLA, Stanford and Washington, among others. The former Westlake High athlete who also played quarterback, receiver, returner and punter is joined by fellow four-star athlete Langi Tuifua from Bingham, who was rated the No. 1 defensive end prospect in the state by Scout.com.
“With Langi and Chaz, I offered those guys at really young, and I think they just took a long time to commit,” Sitake said. “I felt confident that we could get the type of guys who want to be here.”
The 6-foot-2, 199-pound Ah You was a consensus four-star recruit who totaled more than 1,000 yards passing and receiving in high school in addition to 155 tackles. He was also recruited by Notre Dame, Oregon, Michigan, Utah and Oklahoma State among a long list of suitors.
The extensive and lengthy process made him a candidate for Bleacher Report’s 2017 signing day video series, and the recruiting service booked his passage on a helicopter from his home in Utah County to the Provo-based campus.
“That wasn’t something he planned. He was approached by a recruiting service because he’s a highly-touted recruit,” Sitake said. “Chaz Ah You didn’t do that or pay for that; it was done by that service. They offered it to him, highlighted his ability and the fact he was still making a decision.
“That’s not his personality, and it’s not what he’s about. But he looked at it as an opportunity to get some publicity for BYU.”
The Cougars were also surprised by a pair of quarterback commits Wednesday. After having no quarterback commitments less than two weeks ago, BYU finalized plans to bring in two signal callers in 6-foot-3 Cedar quarterback Mason Fakahua and Tennessee native Joe Critchlow, who is coming home from a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“He gives us some depth, and another guy in the program that is pro-style,” said offensive coordinator Ty Detmer of Critchlow, who signed with current assistant head coach Ed Lamb at Southern Utah prior to his mission but was later released from his scholarship. “He’s really well-spoken, understands the game and has a good head on his shoulders.
“When Ed brought him to our attention, we thought he was somebody who could come in and help us. Otherwise, he wouldn’t be here.”
In addition to Critchlow and Fakahua, who will serve a LDS Church mission prior to enrolling at BYU, the Cougars will also welcome home former Pine View quarterback Kody Wilstead in the fall to add to the stable of signal callers that includes incumbent starter Tanner Mangum and redshirt candidates Beau Hoge and Koy Detmer Jr., among others.
BYU also stocked up on linemen with the 2017 recruiting class, adding seven defensive linemen and two offensive linemen, as well as three tight ends. In addition to Langi, the school received late commitments from West Jordan’s Alden Tofa and Hunter’s Lorenzo Fauatea to give them five of the top-six rated defensive ends in the state of Utah by Scout.com.
“The way that we allot our numbers, it’s always going to be on O-line and D-line where we have the most,” defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki said. “With the D-line, we get 15 defensive linemen, which means every year we will need to replenish. This class looks big, but half are going on missions.”
For a complete list of BYU’s 2017 recruiting class, go to the Recruit Central page on KSL.com.
National Signing Day 2017
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