The “Real” BYU Football Class of 2015

FB_2015There was a lot of excitement yesterday with BYU’s 2015 football recruiting class. However, with only one “big” surprise—6’8” 410 lbs Mo Langi—the day was may have lacked some of the flair of previous letter of intent days. Fortunately BYU nabbed a few 4-star recruits (Tafua, Longson, Lake, and Canada), as well as several other solid recruits to pull in a respectable (and better-than-average) class which ranked #61 (Scout) and #66 Rivals in national team rankings.

While on the surface things look pretty good, the 23 commitments don’t actually represent the football team that will show up on the field next fall. As all Cougarfans know, missions and transfers will dramatically alter who actually shows up for this upcoming season. At least eight of this week’s recruiting class have plans to serve LDS missions prior to enrollment (Longson, Wilstead, Lui, Tafua, Kaufusi, Sedgwick, Ieremia, Langi). Unfortunately, these losses include most of the stars of the 2015 class.

2015 Commitments with immediate mission plans (8)

Player Pos Last School Scout Rivals ESPN Composite
Mika Tafua DE Kamehameha HS 3 (71) 3 (5.7) 4 (81) (3.3 / 5)
Kieffer Longson OT Dougherty Valley HS 4 (185) 3 (5.7) 3 (79) (3.3 / 5)
Kody Wilstead QB Pine View HS 3 (72) 3 (5.5) 3 (75) (3 / 5)
Jeremiah Ieremia MLB Hurricane HS 3 (100) 3 (5.6) 3 (75) (3 / 5)
David Lui DT Pittsburg Senior HS 3 (43) 2 (5.4) 3 (76) (2.7 / 5)
Devin Kaufusi DE Timpview HS 3 (40) 2 (5.4) 3 (76) (2.7 / 5)
Will Sedgwick MLB Laguna Hills HS 3 (99) 3 (5.5) NR (2.7 / 5)
Motekiai Langi OL/DL Liahona HS NR NR NR (2 / 5)

From a strictly star evaluation BYU loses a total of 22.7 composite stars (an average ranking of 2.8375). Following Rivals team ranking formula (which rewards teams for having a higher number of commits) BYU loses 465 total points, nearly half their total points of 1095. Without the 14 returning players this would have dropped BYU’s team ranking to the #114 ranked recruiting class (out of 129 D1 teams). Using Scout’s team ranking formula BYU loses 610 of the 1399 points to drop to 789 points and a #86 ranking.

Fortunately, the players leaving for missions are being replaced by 14 players who have returned from missions, including six that have already suited up for BYU. Lucky for BYU, the “returning” class includes a few stars as well. Tanner Mangum—the gem of the 2013 class—will be suiting up this fall. So will 4-star recruit Butch Pau’u and standouts Moroni Laulu-Pututau, Talon Shumway, Josh Weeks, Moses Kaumatule, and Rhett Sandlin. Below are the 14 recruits that are returning to the program this fall.

Returned Missionaries joining BYU this Fall (14)

Player Pos Last School Scout Rivals ESPN Composite
Tanner Mangum QB Eagle HS 4 (205) 4 (6.0) 4 (80) (4 / 5)
Butch Pau’u LB Servite HS 3 (119) 3 (5.7) 4 (79) (3.3 / 5)
Josh Weeks WR Show Low HS 3 (40) 3 (5.7) 3 (78) (3 / 5)
Moses Kaumatule DL Bingham HS 3 (69) 3 (5.7) 3 (77) (3 / 5)
Talon Shumway WR Lone Peak HS 3 (40) 3 (5.5) 3 (76) (3 / 5)
Sawyer Powell DB Richland HS 3 (50) 3 (5.5) 3 (75) (3 / 5)
Austin Hoyt OL Argonaut HS 3 (53) 3 (5.5) 3 (75) (3 / 5)
Matt Hadley DB Connell HS 3 (43) 3 (5.5) 2 (74) (2.7 / 5)
Rhett Sandlin LB Alta HS 3 (67) 3 (5.6) 2 (73) (2.7 / 5)
Lene Lesatele LB Gahr HS 3 (54) 3 (5.6) 2 (69) (2.7 / 5)
Micah Hannemann DB Lone Peak HS 2 (20) 2 (5.3) 2 (72) (2 / 5)
Nathan DeBeikes RB Thousand Oaks HS 2 (20) 2 (5.3) 2 (69) (2 / 5)
Moroni Laulu-Pututau TE Mountain Crest HS 2 (34) 2 (5.4) NR (2 / 5)
Taumata Tofi DL Perris HS NR NR NR (2 / 5)

From the returned players and recruits BYU gains a total of 35.4 composite stars (an average ranking of 2.529). Using the Rivals team formula BYU gains 855 points. Add the 15 commitments from yesterday that plan on being with the team this fall and there are a total of 29 commitments that will be “arriving” at BYU as the “real” 2015 class.

The other 2015 BYU Football Recruits (15 commitments)

Player Pos Last School Scout Rivals ESPN Composite
Squally Canada RB WSU transfer 3 3 4 (81) (3.3 / 5)
Dayan Lake CB Northridge HS 4 3 3 (75) (3.3 / 5)
Tevita Mounga DT Vista Murrieta HS 3 3 3 (76) (3 / 5)
Charles West RB Coppell HS 3 3 3 (74) (3 / 5)
Jacob Jimenez OL PfLugerville HS 2 2 3 (73) (3 / 5)
Beau Hoge QB Highlands HS 3 2 3 (77) (2.7 / 5)
Riley Burt CB Box Elder HS 2 2 3 (77) (2.7 / 5)
Akile Davis WR Desoto HS 3 2 3 (71) (2.7 / 5)
Zayne Anderson S Stansbury HS 3 2 3 (70) (2.7 / 5)
Brady Christensen OT Bountiful HS 3 2 NR (2.3 / 5)
JJ Nwigwe OL Rockwall-Heath HS 3 2 NR (2.3 / 5)
Micah Simon QB Bishop Dunne HS 2 2 NR (2 / 5)
Trevor Brent CB West Mesquite HS 2 2 NR (2 / 5)
Eric Takenaka S Snow College 2 2 NR (2 / 5)
Demetrius Davis OG Pleasant Grove HS NR NR NR (2 / 5)

Net Gain/Loss

While the average star ranking is actually lowered with the outgoing missionaries, the net gain of seven additional commits certainly strengthens what was already a pretty solid class. Using the Rivals team ranking formula, BYU loses 465 points but gain 855 for a net gain of 390 to a total of 1485 points. That would move their ranking from #66 all the way up to #38 (just ahead of Utah at 43). Under the Scout formula BYU loses 610 of their 1399 total points but add another 814 points with their returning players to boost the total up to 1603 points which would rank them #50 (again just ahead of Utah who would be bumped to #54).

There will certainly be some mission rust and likely several of the “returned” will redshirt as they get back into mission shape, but we are obviously gaining some valuable age, leadership, and experience (as well as a little star power) with those coming back. Despite the lack of celebration and star power this week, the “real” team that will face Nebraska 211 days from now will benefit from one of the better all-around incoming classes of the last several years.

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