BYU football recruiting: Breaking down the Cougars’ 2017 class

The newest crop of BYU football talent was announced today. Here’s all you need to know about the Cougars’ Signing Day.

Today is National Signing Day and BYU football hosted an event all morning to celebrate and announce the commitment of the newest Cougars. Here’s a breakdown of the entire 2017 class.

Langi Tuifua – DE, Bingham High School (UT)

Tuifua, a four-star defensive end, committed to BYU football at the Polynesian Bowl. He provides some much-needed depth along the defensive line and brings an arsenal of pass rushing moves with him. Tuifua is the kind of prospect all BYU football fans were hoping to get when Kalani Sitake was hired. He collected 35 sacks in high school and can make an instant impact.

Jackson McChesney – RB, Lone Peak High School (UT)

McChesney is a three-star recruit out of Lone Peak High School. He can do a little bit of everything, and has speed for days. Whether the Cougars use him as a running back or wide receiver, McChesney appears to be a playmaker and an elite-level athlete. He earned a 123.24 Nike SPARQ composite, ranking in the 99th percentile.

John Vaka (JUCO) – OT, Diablo Valley College (CA)

Kalani Sitake and Mike Empey secured Vaka’s services after he de-committed from Oregon. Vaka is a three-star recruit, the No. 74 JUCO recruit in the nation, and can play tackle or guard. We’ll see how he looks in spring ball and fall camp, but I think he’ll challenge Keyan Norman and Tuni Kanuch for playing time at guard.

Ben Bywater – OLB, Olympus High School (UT)

Bywater is a three-star outside linebacker. He’s a hard-nosed kid and isn’t afraid to do the dirty work. He takes on blockers well, but I’d like to see him run downhill more. He’s got good speed and will eventually make an impact in the Cougars’ linebacking rotation.

Bentley Hanshaw – TE, Moorpark High School (CA)

From the moment Ty Detmer was hired as offensive coordinator, everyone started talking about the return of the tight end. That didn’t really happen last year, but 2017 appears to be a step in the right direction. Hanshaw is a three-star recruit with good hands and the ability to find soft spots in coverage.

Isaac Rex – TE, San Clemente High School (CA)

More tight ends in Provo. Rex is also a three-star recruit, but he doesn’t have the same size as Hanshaw. He’s a good route runner, is very athletic and helps give BYU football some depth at the position – which is desperately needed.

D’Angelo Gunter – CB, Del Norte High School (CA)

Gunter is an explosive and smooth player. He shows pretty good break on the ball in coverage and has really nice top-end speed. He looks like a playmaker. Seems to have good body control and wraps up on his tackles.

Seleti Fevaleaki – DT, Centennial High School (CA)

Fevaleaki is a three-star defensive tackle/defensive end recruit. He plans on serving an LDS mission after graduating. But, once he arrives in Provo, expect to see a versatile d-lineman with a good burst off the football.

Tyler Batty – DE, Payson High School (UT)

Batty is a two-star defensive end from Payson. While his ranking might not be particularly high, Batty seems like the real deal. He’s explosive, has powerful arms and can break out a bull rush with the best of them.

Ammon Hannemann – S, Lone Peak High School (UT)

Hannemann is a two-star safety from Lone Peak High School. He becomes the third member of his family to suit up for the Cougars (Jacob was on the practice squad before being drafted by the Chicago Cubs and Micah will be a senior in 2017). Hannemann breaks on the ball well and shows good instincts in coverage.

Preston Lewis – DE, Lone Peak High School (UT)

Lewis is a two-star defensive end. He shows really good speed and arm strength, but he is a little upright out of his stance. Lewis seems like a high-motor player who can play either linebacker or defensive end for BYU football.

Donovan Hanna – TE, American Leadership Academy (AZ)

Hanna is a two-star tight end with great size. His 6-foot-5, 230-pound frame helps him box out defenders. He’s shifty for his size and tough to bring down. He’s also downright fast for a player his size.

Tariq Buchanan – WR, Elgin High School (TX)

Speed kills. And Buchanan has it. A two-star receiver from Texas, Buchanan beats coverage routinely. His highlight film is most go routes, so I’m sure he’s got work to do on his route running. But, there’s no denying he’s an explosive athlete – and that’s something to get excited about.

Tanner Baker – DE, Moorpark High School (CA)

Baker is a two-star defensive end from California. He shows good speed and good use of his hands when pass rushing. High energy player who might be able to carve out a role for himself.

Tongi Langi – CB, South Jordan High School (UT)

Langi is a two-star cornerback from Utah. He’s a good athlete and a defensive playmaker. He covers a lot of ground as a safety and certainly passes the eye test.

Seth Willis – OT, Newtown High School (CT)

Willis is a two-star tackle from Connecticut. He plays with grit, toughness and a visible mean streak. He’s got good size (6-foot-6,  315-pounds) and demonstrates good footwork.

Keenan Ellis – WR, Bonita Vista High School (CA)

Ellis is a two-star wide receiver out of California. Ellis has good speed and size. He runs well after the catch, but it doesn’t look like he’ll break many tackles. Washington State was also interested in Ellis. If Wazzu was interested in adding him into its passing attack, BYU fans should be more than comfortable with his addition.

Paula Finau – OG, Baldwin High School (HI)

Finau is a big body that plays with a nasty edge. At 6-foot-5 and 340-pounds, Finau has the size to play either guard or tackle. Regardless of where he ends up, he’ll have no trouble moving bodies.

Ryan Rehkow – K/P, Central Valley High School (WA)

Rehkow is a two-star kicking prospect from Washington. He was a successful place kicker in high school, but he will likely compete for the starting punter job after serving a LDS mission.

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