BYU Football is climbing the recruiting rankings with new Class of 2023 commits

One week ago, the BYU football Class of 2023 was ranked no. 84 nationally, way behind last year’s no. 56 ranking after the early signing period but on par with where it settled (no. 77) as well as the Coug’s previous five-year team rank average (76.6).

Fortunately, the Cougs received a commit Friday from 4-star Jackson Bowers and their 247Sport team ranking rose eight spots from 84 to 76.  Then, on Saturday they nailed down another outstanding commit from 3-star DE/TE Saimone Davis.  That resulted in jumping another six spots in the rankings from 76 to 70.

While a 70th ranked recruiting class is nothing to brag about (it’s currently right behind Western Michigan), it is a solid class for the Cougs and with a few more key signings could jump up the rankings to end up ahead of last year’s class.

The Class of 2023 now has verbal commits from nine athletes: four from Utah, two from Arizona, two from Texas, and one from Washington.

NAME POS LAST SCHOOL RATING
Bowers, Jackson TE Mountain View HS (AZ) 4-star, 0.9037
Burton, Ryder QB Springville HS (UT) 3-star, 0.8352
Chambers, Landen RB Fossil Ridge HS (TX) 3-star, 83
Davis, Saimone ATH Nolan Catholic HS (TX) 3-star, 0.8444
Hall, Miles ATH Skyline HS (UT) 3-star, 86
Haunga, Pokai WR Timpview HS (UT) 3-star, 0.8470
Pulalasi, Leo ATH Lakes HS (WA) 3-star, 0.8467
Raass, Stanley DL Skyridge HS (UT) 3-star, 0.8244
Watson, Pierson LB Coconino HS (AZ) 3-star, 0.8156

A couple things of note in scanning over this list.  First, every athlete is ranked 3-stars or higher.  Second, less than half the commits are coming from Utah.  These are both positive departures from where BYU is typically standing over the summer recruiting season.

The invitation to join the Big 12 has opened up recruiting in new areas and has made BYU a more desirable target for student-athletes who may not have considered Provo as a designation in the past.

It’s good to see BYU showing up on more “top 5” lists for 4- and 5-star athletes.  BYU was a finalist but ultimately passed over by 4-star recruits Hunger Clegg (Stanford), Walker Lyons (Stanford), and Liona Lefau (Texas). But the Cougs are still being considered by several other top recruits.

Top Uncommitted Prospects with BYU Offers

The follow list has all the not yet committed three, four, and 5-star recruits with a rating of 0.8700 or higher (high 3-star) that have BYU offers:

  • Wide Receivers: Jeremiah McClure (Chula Vista, CA), Anthony Evans (Converse, TX), Malachi Riley (Corona, CA)
  • Offensive Tackles: Spencer Fano (Provo, UT), Caleb Lomu (Gilbert, AZ), Taliafi Taala (Sandy, UT), Ethan Thomason (Ft. Collins, CO)
  • Offensive Line: Isaiah Kema (Wolfforth, TX)
  • Athletes: Kenyon Sadiq (Idaho Falls, ID)
  • Linebackers: Blake Nichelson (Manteca, CA), Leonard Ah You (Kahuku, HI)
  • Cornerbacks: Cormani McClain (Lakeland, FL), Rodrick Pleasant (Gardena, CA), Smith Snowden (Lehi, UT)
  • Defensive Ends: Tausili Akana (Lehi, UT), Siale Esera (Provo, UT)

Top Targets

BYU is firmly in the hunt for OL Ethan Thomason, who took an official visit to BYU in June.  Thomason has 18 offers including a top 8 of BYU, Vanderbilt, Utah, Nebraska, Colorado, Iowa State, Oklahoma State, and Stanford.  The 247 crystal ball shows him as a BYU lean.

4-star and Adidas All-American OT Spencer Fano has an impressive offer sheet with 25 offers including Baylor, LSU, Miami, Michigan, Oregon, USC, Utah, and Washington.  Fortunately for the Cougs, Fano is from Provo and his brother Logan is playing at the Y.  He has not released a top 5, but 247 shows him as a BYU lean as well and given his background you have to think the Cougs are definitely in the mix.

The Cougs were the first to offer 4-star receiver Malachi Riley, who now has 20 offers including Auburn, Oregon, Texas A&M, USC, Utah, and Washington.  He told Casey Lunquist of Sports Illustrated Cougs Daily that “They were my first offer and that means a lot to me. They were the first college to put their trust in me and really believe in me.”

Leonard Ah You is LDS, has visited Provo, and is in the same extended family at BYU defensive back Chaz Ah You and BYU director of recruiting Jasen Ah You.  The high 3-star recruit has 10 offers including Arizona, Oregon State, Arizona State, and Utah.

5-star cornerback and no. 1 rated defensive back in the nation Cormani McClain is definitely a long-shot for the Cougs.  But he caught a BYU game in Provo last fall (his second unofficial visit to BYU) and tweeted out that BYU was one of the five programs showing him the most love (along with Alabama, Florida, Ohio State, and Miami).  In February the Cougs again showed up in his Top 8 (with the additions of Georgia, Oregon, and Michigan).

High 3-star cornerback and track star Smith Snowden recently released his Top 4, with BYU making the cut along with Northwestern, Colorado, and Utah.  He is the son of former BYU running back Will Snowden (1996-2000) and BYU was the first FBS school to offer him.  The 247 crystal ball puts BYU at 50% with Utah also at 50%.

4-star defensive end Siale Esera has 20 offers, including Michigan, Oregon, Tennessee, USC, and Utah.  He preps at Timpview with Spencer Fano and grew up watching the Cougs.  He has stated that growing up his three “dream schools” were Stanford, BYU, and Oregon.  Esera’s father Peter is the Director of Executive Services at BYU and 247’s crystal ball shows Esera as a BYU lean.

If BYU can land 3-4 of these top targets their recruiting class could be even higher than last years.  And their first Top 50 recruiting class since 2016.

BYU Team Recruiting Rankings

From 2010 to present the best recruiting rankings come from 247Sports.com.  They show that following team rankings for the Cougs:

2022 – currently no. 70 (but on the rise); 2021 (77), 2020 (81), 2019 (81), 2018 (78), 2017 (66), 2016 (49), 2015 (65), 2014 (64), 2013 (66), 2012 (71), 2011 (69), 2010 (33)

Prior to 2010 there were team rankings created by Rivals, ESPN, and Scout.  Here are the team rankings from Rivals:

2009 (50), 2008 (83), 2007 (57), 2006 (67), 2005 (63), 2004 (79), 2003 (44)*, 2002 (38)*.  Note that for 2002-2003 BYU is not listed in the data base, so I put their recruiting rankings based on the average stars for their recruits those seasons.

For more information about the Class of 2023 (prospects, offers, and commits), please visit the Class of 2023 page.

About Tyler Christensen 763 Articles
Tyler Christensen is a teacher, sports writer, speaker, and ultra-marathon runner. He is the founder of BYU Insider, D1 Recruiting, Virtual School Assembly, and After the Run. When he's not writing or speaking, he's spending time at home in southern Utah with his amazing wife and four children.