The following is a press release from BYU Athletics.
PROVO, Utah – Head coach Bronco Mendenhall today announced BYU’s 2014 recruiting class consisting of 17 high school signees, two junior college transfers and one FBS transfer.
In addition to two-mid year enrollees, BYU added 18 newcomers Wednesday on National Signing Day. The Cougars will also welcome back to the program 18 scholarship players returning from serving missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
“We are excited about this group of young men joining our program,” Mendenhall said. “We recruit young men who are talented football players, quality students and exceptional individuals. This class, along with those we have returning from missions, will help us continue to build and grow our program.”
The class includes 12 defensive and eight offensive players representing seven different states with seven recruits signing out of California, four from Utah, three from Texas, two from both Arizona and Kansas, and one each from Alabama and North Carolina. On defense, BYU adds six recruits at defensive line, three at linebacker and three in the defensive backfield, while signing four wide receivers, three offensive linemen and one tight end on offense.
Three transfers will lend their talents at wide receiver to a BYU offense that ranked No. 14 overall in total offense last season.
Nick Kurtz (6-6, 205 pounds) is a four-star junior college prospect out of Grossmont College who enrolled in January at BYU. Rated the No. 4 JC receiver in the nation and No. 22 prospect overall by Rivals.com, Kurtz is a junior with exceptional size at 6-foot-6 and 4.5 speed.
Kurtz is joined by junior speedster Devon Blackmon (6-1, 185), an Oregon transfer who played at Riverside City College last season. With 4.4 speed, Blackmon is rated the No. 4 JC wideout and No. 27 overall prospect by ESPN.com. The Fontana, Calif., native is a high school teammate of BYU running back Jamaal Williams.
The Cougars also add another big wideout in UTEP transfer Jordan Leslie (6-3, 210), the Miners’ leading receiver the past two seasons. An all-conference honoree, Leslie will transfer to complete his senior season with the Cougars after graduating in electrical engineering this spring. He has recorded eight 100-yard receiving games for the Miners while amassing 2,105 receiving yards and 15 touchdowns in three seasons. Including his redshirt season, Leslie was coached for three years at UTEP by BYU receiving coach Guy Holliday.
High school prospects to sign with BYU on offense, each three-star prospects, include wide receiver Trey Dye (5-9, 175, Cooper HS) out of Abilene, Texas, tight end Matt Bushman (6-5, 215, Sabino HS) from Tucson, Ariz., and offensive linemen Austin Chambers (6-5, 297, Shawnee Mission West HS) from Shawnee Mission, Kan., Chandon Herring (6-7, 270, Perry HS) out of Gilbert, Ariz., and Tejan Koroma (6-0, 255, Allen HS) from Allen, Texas.
On defense the Cougars landed a strong and balanced class, highlighted by four-star linebacker Fred Warner (6-3, 210, Mission Hills HS) from San Marcos, Calif. The No. 15-rated outside linebacker in the nation by Rivals.com, Warner is an all-around athlete who had 90 tackles, 13 sacks, two interceptions, four blocked kicks and a defensive touchdown during the regular season for Mission Hills in 2013.
Joining Warner are standout linebackers Tyler Cook (6-3, 220, Vista Murrieta HS) from Murrieta, Calif., and Sione Takitaki (6-3, 240, Heritage HS) from Fontana, Calif., both rated as three-star prospects by ESPN.com, Rivals.com, Scout.com and 247Sports.com. Cook is rated the No. 37 overall outside linebacker in the nation by Rivals.com while Takitaki is the No. 24-ranked inside linebacker by ESPN.com.
Four players from Utah signed with the Cougars on defense, including four-star defensive lineman Isaiah Nacua (6-3, 250) out of Timpview High School, whose brother Kai Nacua is a sophomore safety for the Cougars. Defensive lineman Zac Dawe (6-4, 280) out of Pleasant Grove High School and defensive backs Kavika Fonua (5-11, 185) from Syracuse High School and Isaiah Kaufusi (6-2, 175) out of Brighton High School also join the Cougars, each a three-star rated prospect. ESPN.com ranks Nacua as the No. 3 overall prospect from Utah and No. 28 defensive end nationally while ranking Dawe the No. 5 recruit from Utah and the No. 52 defensive tackle. Rivals.com rates Fonua as Utah’s No. 9 prospect and the No. 76 safety in the nation while Kaufusi is rated by ESPN.com as Utah’s No. 11 overall prospect and the No. 99 outside linebacker.
Mid-year enrollee Michael Shelton (5-8, 170, Wakefield HS) is a speedster at cover corner out of Raleigh, N.C. Also joining the BYU defense are defensive linemen Teancum “Tico” Fuga (6-1, 280, Edison HS) from Huntington Beach, Calif., Jaterrius Gulley (6-3, 325, Hoover HS) out of Hoover, Ala., Earl Mariner (6-4, 300, Washburn Rural HS) out of Topeka, Kan., and Uriah Leiataua (6-3, 245, Dominguez HS) from Compton, Calif.
An All-CIF Defense First Team selection, Leiataua is the No. 33-ranked weakside defensive end in the nation by Rivals.com with a three-star rating by all major recruiting services. Mariner is the No. 15 prospect from Kansas, while Fuga is a three-star athlete and brother of former BYU standout nose tackle Romney Fuga. Gulley anchored the defensive line on the nation’s No. 1-ranked team that won back-to-back state titles in Alabama while winning 30 straight games.
Overall, the Cougars signed four 4-star prospects and 13 three-star recruits in the signing class.
For more information, visit BYU Football Signing Day Central.