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PROVO — BYU has received a national letter of intent from Snow College defensive tackle Handsome Tanielu, new head coach Kalani Sitake announced Monday morning.
Tanielu, who committed to BYU a week ago, is expected to join the team in January. He enters with a vaunted recruiting class that includes consensus four-star defensive back/wide receiver Troy Warner from San Marcos, California.
Warner, the younger brother of BYU linebacker Fred Warner, reaffirmed his commitment to BYU last week after signing an offer of admission alongside Bingham quarterback Keaton Torre and returning missionaries Tanner Jacobsen and Austin McChesney on Oct. 30.
Prior to Tanielu's commitment, BYU's recruiting class was ranked No. 56 in the nation by rivals.com.
Tanielu was the No. 18-rated junior college prospect in the nation, coming at No. 3 among defensive tackles. The 6-foot-2, 305-pound interior defensive lineman totaled 36 tackles and a fumble recovery for the Badgers, who finished the season 10-1 with a win over Dodge City Community College in the Salt City Bowl in Hutchinson, Kansas.
A natural defensive tackle, Tanielu is capable of playing anywhere on the interior of the defensive line, according to Snow College coach and former defensive coordinator Britt Maughan.
"He is very strong, explosive. He took on a lot of double teams throughout the year," Maughan told KSL. "He uses his hands well and can create a good pass rush from the inside."
Tanielu also drew interest from Oklahoma State, Texas, Penn State, Boise State, Utah, Oregon State, Kansas, Louisville, Missouri and Houston.
"We are excited to welcome Handsome to the BYU family," Sitake said in a statement. "He is an exceptional player who is physical, tough and will be a great asset to our defensive front."
Tanielu adds to a defense that sacked the quarterback 44 times, the ninth-most sacks forced in the country in 2015.
A graduate of Waianae High School in Hawaii, Tanielu served a two-year mission for the LDS Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, before playing two years at Snow College. After enrolling at BYU, he will have two seasons of eligibility with the Cougars.
"He is a guy that knows what he wants and how he wants to do it and I think BYU fit what he needs," Maughan said.