Thursday, February 4, 2010
BYU's 2010 class offers little surprise
By Graham Watson
The mystery of the 2010 BYU signing class was really over before the 2009 season started.
That’s when quarterback Jake Heaps, receiver Ross Apo and linebacker Zac Stout committed to the program and the rest of the class fell in place behind them. Those three early commitments from highly touted players gave the Cougars an anchor to be one of the best classes among the nonautomatic qualifying schools. With the addition of defensive end Bronson Kaufusi in late August, the Cougars exceeded their expectations and spent most of signing day as the No. 24 class in the country, according to ESPN’s Scouts Inc.
“We had the class in place very early with very few surprises,” coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “I can’t say that signing day was completely anticlimactic, but it’s more like taking the lights down after Christmas. Not really opening the presents. The commitments when they happen in June is like Christmas and now it’s like closure to it.”
While the 26-member class is the highest rated of Mendenhall’s six seasons, many of these players might not see the field this year. That’s because the Cougars have 16 players returning from missions. Because most of those guys will be participating in spring football, it’s going to be tough to keep the more mature players off the field.
“They’re all guys that we recruited,” Mendenhall said. “They’re all very good players. They’re all guys that played before their missions here one season as freshmen. So, there isn’t a guy coming back that most likely won’t be in our two-deep. When you add that to the class as well, it makes it even more impactful.”
Already 20 of the new signees have said that they plan on attending church missions and an unspecified five will leave before they enroll in school. Players are eligible for their mission when they turn 19.
Mendenhall said there weren’t many needs to fill in this class because of all the returning missionaries, but that the 2010 class was still one of the most athletic he has recruited.
“Our depth is about where it’s been the past four years, but I think maybe our talent continues to move a inch or two here collectively,” Mendenhall said.