This article was first published in the Cougar Insiders newsletter. Sign up to receive the newsletter in your inbox each Tuesday night.
The BYU Invitational track and field meet and other high school track events around the west have highlighted the speed of Kalani Sitake’s recruiting class of 2022, with numerous sprinters running in the mid-10 second times for 100 meters. This class is led by Corner Canyon wide receiver and 2021 Deseret News Mr. Football winner Cody Hagen, the McKenzie twins from Pineview and Parker Kingston of Roy High.
Cougar Insider predictions
Question of the week: What do you make-or-break of BYU football signees putting up 100 meter times in the mid 10s this spring?
Jay Drew: I had a nice conversation with BYU cornerbacks coach Jernaro Gilford during spring camp in which I asked him what makes a great cornerback.
“They have to be able to run, bottom line,” he said, noting that speed is obviously one of the top traits he looks for in cornerback recruits. Teammates say BYU cornerback Jacob Boren is probably the fastest player on the team, currently. Soon, he will have some competition.
BYU football recruits are dominating the sprints in the Utah prep track and field season this spring.
Corner Canyon product Cody Hagen, who signed with the Cougars in February, posted a time of 21.72 seconds in the 200 meters at the recent BYU Invitational, placing first among the large-school athletes (4A through 6A). Hagen ran a 21.38 in the event at the Timpanogos Invitational on March 30, the second-best performance in the state this year behind another BYU signee — Parker Kingston of Roy.
Kingston’s 21.77-second run won the 200 in Provo last weekend.
Another BYU-bound athlete, Pine View’s Marcus McKenzie, can also fly. McKenzie has the best 100 and 200 times in the state this year, a 10.54 run in the 100 and a 21.28 run in the 200 at the Pine View Invitational in late March.
At the BYU Invitational, the 100 winner was Smith Snowden of Skyridge High, who just happens to be the son of former BYU running back Will Snowden. Smith Snowden, a junior, posted a 10.57 at BYU to edge Hagen and Kingston. He’s got a football scholarship offer from BYU, which is collecting quite a stable of speedsters.
Dick Harmon: I love to watch sprinters. This was my event at Provo High some 60 pounds ago (go ahead and laugh). In a discussion with WR developmental coach Margin Hooks in Texas, he said this past fall, BYU really needed speed to compete in the Big 12 and if Kalani Sitake signed Marcus and Dominique McKenzie from Pine View, they’d get the kind of speed required to be a P5 program.
BYU signed the top sprinters in the state this past signing day including the McKenzie twins. Both are 4.4 guys in the 40, a football matrix. Cody Hagen, from Corner Canyon, is a 4.34 sprinter for the 40. Parker Kingston, a 4.4 sprinter is competing at the hughes level 100, 200 and 400 meters in Utah High School despite having hernia surgery last year that hampered his training. Here is a list of sprinters BYU has recruited in the class of 2022 and their respective times. It is very impressive. It would be nice if BYU got Smith Snowden, but early word is he is leaning towards Utah.
Of note, Hagen has run a 10.52 in the 100 this season. Just recently, Evan Johnson, a recruit from Stevenson, California, matched his 10.52 in winning the 100 at PCAL. You can see his finish in this video and here is a wrap-up of the top times in the state.
Bottom line: Sitake and staff have significantly improved team speed with these sprinters. Remember how good of a developmental corner Chris Wilcox was? Now with the Indianapolis Colts, Wilcox ran a 10.95 time in 100 meters in high school. These guys would smoke Wilcox.
Mark Pope just signed a potential replacement for Alex Barcello when Coastal Carolina point guard Rudi Williams signed to play for one year with the Cougars. Pope continues to look to the transfer portal to find three players to fill scholarships.
In BYU football, Springville QB Ryder Burton committed as did Arizona State offensive lineman Sione Veikoso.
From the archives
From the Twitterverse
This is huge. It means great coaching and player development! @kalanifsitake @BYUfootball https://t.co/f9nI2qPI8o— Dr. Derwin L. Gray (@DerwinLGray) May 6, 2022
A guy to keep an eye on! Potential BYU football 2025 WR target Derek Meadows. Excited to see his development the next few years. #GoCougs https://t.co/C2hZft1Vqs— CougarSports (@Big12Coug) May 10, 2022
Post Spring Rankings for 2022 from College Football News:— WestCoastCFB (@WestCoastCFB) May 10, 2022
29. Boise St
44. Fresno St
57. Oregon St
59. Air Force
79. Colorado https://t.co/UC28LuS87Z
"At almost every position, there's a BYU player in the NFL--that to me is as important as anything"@gregwrubell speaks about the depth and recruiting progress of @BYUfootball 🙌#BYUFOOTBALL | #GoCougs pic.twitter.com/2boCgA6lEz— BYU Sports Nation (@BYUSportsNation) May 9, 2022
- Zach Wilson, Jets loading up weapons (Deseret News)
- Ty Detmer’s season in the shadows (Deseret News)
- NIL, transfer portal taking on circus atmosphere (Deseret News)
- Softball humming down homestretch (Deseret News)
- Recruits turning heads in track (KSL Sports)
Comments from Deseret News readers
As a Cougar fan, I may be the first to not be very excited about this transfer. At some point, Coach Pope has to build a team around 4-year guys. It is not successful to have your freshmen transferring out and bringing in seniors and juniors. There is no continuity or legacy built. there is going to have to be a season or two where Pope builds toward a program, not merely assembles a team.
Kentucky and Duke build around one-and-done players as do most top-end programs. BYU is doing the same only at the end of their careers in college. He recruits to fill his positions, but can’t guarantee how they will turn out. He goes to the portal to fill voids in fielding a competitive team. 80% of BYU’s rosters in the Pope era have been HS recruits and not transfers. I think he has it figured out just right. I cannot think of a single HS recruit that either didn’t play or transferred that was any great loss.
May 11 | TBA | Men’s Lacrosse | Nationals | @Round Rock, Texas
May 12 | 8 p.m. | Baseball | Pacific | @Provo
May 13 | TBA | Track & Field | BYU Last Chance | @Provo