July 14, 2009

National Notes: BYU hangs on to key recruit

Even though he said a few months back he considered himself a soft commitment to BYU, Provo (Utah) Timpview four-star defensive end Bronson Kaufusi was anything but. With his family connections to BYU and with ties to the community in Provo, there wasn't any way the Cougars were going to let Kaufusi get away.

"I'm 100 percent committed to BYU," said Kaufusi, the No. 19 strongside defensive end in the nation. "That's the plan, and that's always been the plan. I'm a solid commitment. I always knew I was solid to BYU, no matter what I told other schools and reporters.

"I just wanted to look at what other schools might want to have me because I haven't been to a lot of other campuses."

In the end, it didn't really matter. He always knew, deep down, he would be playing at the school where his father, Steve, is the defensive line coach and the school where he has a great relationship with the coaches because he sees them almost every day.

"I work at a grocery store and a lot of the coaches come by all the time," Kaufusi said. "I see Coach [Lance] Reynolds, my recruiting coach, a lot. He lives down the street, and he'll come by the store for food and I'll sack his bags for him.

"I see the coaches all the time. I see them when I'm down there visiting my dad, and I see them around town. I love Coach [Bronco] Mendenhall. He's a great guy. I just love listening to him and everything he has to say. I have a special bond with him and all the coaches."

Kaufusi (6-6/250) is an important piece to what has become an impressive early recruiting class for BYU. The Cougars have 20 known commitments, five of whom are four-star prospects. Kaufisi, four-star defensive end Kona Schwenke and three-star defensive tackle Graham Rowley give the Cougars one of the top defensive line classes in the nation.

"They're saying it might be the best BYU class in 20 years, and I'm honored to be part of it," Kaufusi said.

Kaufusi also said he's gearing up for the start of high school season. He's been spending more time working on his technique, adding weight and also working on improving his versatility. He's spent quite a bit of time this summer working out at offensive tackle and tight end, along with defensive end.

Kaufusi admits he's already hearing the whispers even from his father that he might end up as an offensive tackle some day.

"I'll do whatever to help the team," he said. "I'll go on my mission for two years, and when I come back, who knows how big I'll be. I'll play it if it helps the team out. I know offensive tackles are tall, have long arms and have good feet. I just need size. I have everything else.

"My dad tells me if I want to be a millionaire someday I need to learn how to play tackle."

RECRUITER OF THE WEEK: Texas A&M cornerback coach Charles McMillian

Winning recruiting battles over Texas and Oklahoma in the Dallas Metroplex is something Texas A&M has struggled with of late. But the momentum might be starting to shift, thanks to the efforts of Aggies cornerback coach Charles McMillian.

McMillian already was well thought of in Texas for his success as an assistant at TCU, but now that he's in College Station, the Aggies again are becoming a force with many of the Metroplex's top players.

Earlier this week, McMillian reeled in the biggest commit in A&M's class so far with the pledge of four-star linebacker Corey Nelson of Dallas Skyline. It has been years since the Aggies were able to pull in one of the top players from the top-flight program, and Nelson is the nation's No. 3 outside linebacker and No. 39 player overall. In addition, it was a major recruiting victory over Texas and Oklahoma.

Because of McMillian's hard work, the Aggies have picked up three four-star prospects from the Metroplex, which is more than A&M has had in a long time.

No signs of slowing down for Georgia, LSU

Georgia, LSU and Florida have done a masterful job of jumping ahead of the pack in the SEC recruiting race with notable early recruiting hauls, and just when it's supposed to slow down in mid-summer, things have continued to remain red-hot for the Bulldogs and Tigers.

The Bulldogs have received three commitments in July, including a pledge Tuesday from four-star strongside defensive end Dexter Morant of Manning (S.C.) High. Morant (6-7/240) is the No. 16 player at his position nationally and a member of the Rivals250.

Things might not be done yet as Georgia could score a few more commitments this week after "Dawg Night," an elite camp scheduled for Saturday that will feature some major players in the 2010 and '11 classes from all over the Southeast.

LSU moved up to 16 commitments overall after Rivals250 offensive tackle Evan Washington (6-5/290) of DeSoto (Texas ) High pledged to the Tigers on Tuesday. He is the No. 17 player at his position and picked the Tigers over offers from Miami, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech and Auburn, among others.

"LSU just seemed like a better fit for me a great environment, a great system and a great coaching staff," Washington said. "I'm just glad to have the recruiting process over."

Etc.

• One of California's top uncommitted players is Robert Woods, a four-star athlete from Gardena Serra. With offers from major programs across the nation, Woods knows exactly what he's looking for in the perfect school. "I really just want to have great guys around me, great teammates, who want to win a championship," Woods said. "I haven't really been able to win a championship since I have been younger. I have been league champs and stuff like that, but nothing like a real big-time championship. I want to have those guys around me who want to win that championship as bad as I do."

• It might be time to call Bucyrus (Ohio) Wynford tight end Teven Eatmon one of the hottest targets in Ohio. Eatmon (6-7/280) has gone from an under-the-radar prospect to a "must get" for many teams in the past few weeks. He has offers from Indiana, Iowa State, Louisville, Syracuse, Akron, Bowling Green, Kent State, Ohio, Toledo, Western Michigan and others, and watch for more Big Ten teams to come knocking on his door. Schools love his potential as blocking tight end or a potential offensive tackle.

• The list of teams for four-star linebacker Tony Jefferson of Chula Vista (Calif.) Eastside is starting to get trimmed. Jefferson said Tuesday he has cut his list to Notre Dame, Michigan, Penn State, Oklahoma, Florida, USC and UCLA. He has lined up official visits to Florida on Sept. 18 and Oklahoma on Nov. 13. He also will take official visits to Notre Dame, Michigan and Penn State, and have unofficial trips to UCLA and USC.




 

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