BYU adding depth with 2015 recruiting class

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PROVO — Signing day for BYU football proved to be a successful one as head coach Bronco Mendenhall described the 2015 recruiting class as adding "depth, athleticism and consistency" to the Cougars' roster.

The Cougars' 2015 recruiting class consists of 21 high school signees, one junior college transfer and one FBS transfer. BYU also has 14 scholarship players returning from LDS missions.

“My coaches worked really, really hard in this particular season of recruiting,” Mendenhall said. “I think they did an outstanding job in finding the needs and meeting the needs that we had for this particular class and this particular team. The focus this year was not nearly as much junior college emphasis. There has been depth that has been established. There has been position-specific recruiting that has been established and there is an identity and format and blueprint that has been basically established. So what we were looking for is to add young exceptional talent that belongs at BYU and is qualified to be at BYU into existing holes and fill those and move forward.”

With Taysom Hill and Jamaal Williams returning to BYU, Mendenhall expects to have a strong offense. However after Hill finishes his senior year this season, BYU will be left with quarterbacks with little to no experience, but there are many new faces coming in to take over. Tanner Mangum out of Eagle, Idaho, returns from his mission in time to play for the Cougars' 2015 season and will compete for the backup job. In addition to Mangum’s return home, BYU signed two quarterbacks from high school. Kody Wilstead from Pine View High School in St. George will leave straight on a mission. Beau Hoge, son of Merrill Hoge, will stay in Provo and compete with Mangum behind Hill.

He is an individual that doesn't know the rules of the game, he has never played the game. But Coach Kaufusi thought Langi was light on his feet and thought he could play football.

–Bronco Mendenhall

Micah Simon, from Dallas, is one to watch for at wide receiver this year for BYU.

“There is another player within our recruiting class in Micah Simon that played quarterback for a state championship team in Texas that we are planning on playing at wide receiver but when you watch his film you will notice he is playing quarterback and he plays it really, really well as a dual threat type of quarterback that has great speed. We also have Akile Davis. We think they will do a nice job of filling in that particular spot,” Mendenhall said.

Mendenhall mentioned in Wednesday’s press conference that the Cougars' offensive line had immediate needs that could be filled by freshmen. Among the newly signed offensive linemen are JJ Nwigwe from Rockwall, Texas; Demetrius Davis from Pleasant Grove High School; Jacob Jimenez from Pflugerville, Texas; and Brady Christensen from Bountiful High School.

Perhaps the most intriguing signee of the day is 6-foot-7 Motekiai Langi, a 410-pounder from Tonga. Langi was discovered by coach Steve Kaufusi when Langi was playing a pick-up basketball game.

“He is an individual that doesn’t know the rules of the game, he has never played the game,” Mendenhall said. “But Coach Kaufusi thought Langi was light on his feet and thought he could play football.”

A controversial topic surrounding BYU the past few months has to do with the Cougars not pursuing Salem Hills High School five-star standout Porter Gustin. When Mendenhall was asked about a ‘certain five-star recruit from Utah’ he said, “We always start in-state and evaluate based on the needs we have and the positions we are having kids looked at in. Sometimes we think it’s a great fit and sometimes we don’t. We could be wrong. We didn’t offer and so obviously really prestigious schools and well-respected schools around the country did offer, but I trust our evaluation and those that evaluated were thorough, from beginning to end.”

Overall, Mendenhall said of the recruiting class, “When I look at the entire class, I feel good. We reloaded, we have not only increased ability but fit at BYU as well as potential for our program to move forward against the schedules we are going to be playing.” Lindsey Peterson is a Brigham Young University student studying broadcast journalism. Contact her at or on Twitter @LindsPetey.

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