By Jeffrey L. Reynolds
HEAD football coach D. Gary Crowton, ’83, announced the signing of 13 newcomers on Feb. 5—national letter of intent day. This was Crowton’s third recruiting class since taking over the BYUprogram in December 2000.
“Most of our recruiting was geared toward the front seven on both sides of the ball,” Crowton said. “We had some key positions to fill and build for the future. I think we were able to sign some guys who will be able to make an immediate impact in some of those positions.”
Adding to one of the top offensive line classes in the country, the Cougars signed Ofa Mohetau (Euless, Texas), whom many see as the No. 1 offensive line prospect in the nation. Mohetau turned down offers from the likes of Miami (Fla.), Texas, and Arizona State to play for the Cougars next season.
Equally impressive in the eyes of BYU recruiters, SuperPrep All-Region performers Dallas Reynolds (Provo), Jason Speredon (West Valley City, Utah), and R. J. Willing (Kahuku, Hawaii) also signed letters to play for the Cougars. All three players had offers from Pac-10 and Big-12 programs.
“Along with Ofa, I am really excited about the local talent we signed,” said Crowton. “They have good size and are athletic. These guys are already at a different level coming into the college game.”
Brian Soi, a high school All-American and a highly regarded defensive line prospect from Provo’s Timpview High School, will join Brett Denney, a defensive standout from Thornton, Colo., alongBYU‘s defensive line.
Crowton said he was also pleased to receive letters from linebackers Matt Ah You (Cedar Hills, Utah) and David Nixon (College Station, Texas).
The recruiting class also included Walt Williams and defensive back Aaron Attig.
Crowton says tight end Dan Van Sweden, who helped lead Northridge High School in Layton, Utah, to a third straight 5A state championship, will also be a welcome addition, along with Philip Niu, who originally signed with Colorado State before serving a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ.
The Cougars also added all-state kicker Mitch Payne, the younger brother of current BYU kicker and punter Matt A. Payne, ’04. Mitch averaged nearly 42 yards per punt and hit 11 field goals, including two 53-yarders during his senior campaign at Weber High School in Utah.