PROVO — The introduction of a three-day early signing period for college football recruits in December has greatly reduced the excitement, drama and suspense in the days leading up to the beginning of the traditional signing period the first Wednesday in February.

But that doesn’t mean BYU football coaches have just been sitting around since the dead period for recruiting ended on Jan. 16. They signed 13 players to national letters of intent on Dec. 18 and have commitments from at least 13 others who are expected to go on missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before enrolling, but are far from finished.

The Cougars also announced nine “January mid-year additions” — mostly returning missionaries — last month. Because schools can only officially announce 25 signings per year, they have only a few remaining scholarships to fill on Feb. 5, which is still referred to as national signing day.

Despite the limited number of spots available, almost every BYU coach has been on the recruiting trail the past week, and most will continue to make in-home visits throughout the country and host recruits in Provo through Feb. 2.

BYU Cougars football: 2020 recruiting class (+live updates, video)
BYU’s 2020 football signing class could be its best in the Kalani Sitake era — or not
BYU’s latest QB signee scores game-winning touchdown, named offensive MVP of Polynesian Bowl

So which players are they continuing to target?

With help from BYU recruiting expert Jeff Hansen of Cougar Sports Insider on the network, here are six high school players the Deseret News has identified as BYU’s top remaining recruiting targets from the class of 2020:

• Bodie Schoonover, American Fork: A 6-foot-4, 215-pound linebacker and defensive end, this three-star prospect committed to BYU in June 2018, but withdrew that pledge on Dec. 6 and started entertaining offers from UCLA, Nebraska, Utah and Utah State. He visited UCLA on Dec. 7 and still made his official visit to BYU on Dec. 14, despite having decommitted, 

Injuries limited Schoonover’s senior season at American Fork, but he reportedly shined in the recent Polynesian Bowl and told reporters in Honolulu that he will choose between BYU and UCLA soon and then serve a church mission before enrolling. Quarterback Sol-Jay Maiava, who signed with BYU in December, was the offensive MVP of the all-star game in Oahu.

• Tate Romney, Chandler, Arizona: Like his brothers, BYU players Gunner and Baylor Romney, this 6-2, 210-pound linebacker, also a three-star prospect, is soft-spoken and not prone to announcing his intentions on social media or to inquisitive reporters. The youngest Romney has made many visits to BYU, including an official campus visit, but also has offers from Arizona, Cal, Colorado, Utah and Washington State.

Recently named the Arizona prep linebacker of the year, Tate Romney plans to serve a church mission upon graduating from high school.

• Jake Griffin, Mesa, Arizona: Hansen compares the 6-6, 265-pound Griffin to current BYU offensive lineman Brady Christensen, who was also relatively lightly recruited. Griffin is visiting BYU this weekend, along with Kyle Vassau, a linebacker from Carlsbad, California, and others.

Griffin’s father played for Utah State and he has an offer from the Aggies, but Oregon State is probably BYU’s stiffest competition for this product of Red Mountain High.

• Scotty Edwards, Salt Lake City: A dynamic and versatile athlete, the 6-1, 185-pound Edwards played all over the field and on both sides of the ball for the Olympus Titans. He’s projected to play safety if BYU lands him, but he’s seen as a Matt Hadley-type player who could play multiple positions in college.

Edwards was scheduled to visit BYU last weekend (Jan. 17-18), but rescheduled for the final weekend (Feb. 1-2). He is reportedly visiting Stanford this weekend, and will choose between the Cougars and Cardinal. UCLA was also interested, but that interest cooled recently and the Bruins have seemingly moved on to other prospects.

• Alex Lines, Gilbert, Arizona: This 6-4, 235-pound tight end could follow in the footsteps of Matt Bushman, who is from Tucson, Arizona, although he’s not quite as tall as the Cougars’ three-year starter. Lines also has offers from Boise State, Utah, Iowa State and Colorado, but is thought to be choosing between BYU and Boise State. The all-stater from Higley High is also not real active on social media, so his mission plans are unknown. But that could be a factor if BYU runs out of scholarships and needs him to serve or delay his enrollment.

• Keanu Tanuvasa, Mission Viejo, California: Landing this 6-4, 275-pound defensive tackle is probably a long shot for BYU, but the Cougars have been recruiting the three-star LDS prospect for several years and have consistently been in his top five. He’d be one of BYU’s top recruits from the class of 2020, along with Maiava and receiver Kody Epps, who also signed in December.

Tanuvasa is not expected to make an official visit to BYU; because his father played for the Utes and he is visiting Utah this weekend, most recruiting experts believe he will end up in Salt Lake City.

BYU’s top remaining football recruiting targets

• Bodie Schoonover, Linebacker/defensive end; American Fork, Utah

• Tate Romney, Linebacker; Chandler, Arizona (Chandler High School)

View Comments

• Jake Griffin, Offensive line; Mesa, Arizona (Red Mountain High School)

• Scotty Edwards, Athlete; Salt Lake City, Utah (Olympus High School)

• Keanu Tanuvasa, Defensive tackle; Mission Viejo, California (Mission Viejo High School)

• Alex Lines, Tight end/linebacker; Gilbert, Arizona (Higley High School)

Join the Conversation
Looking for comments?
Find comments in their new home! Click the buttons at the top or within the article to view them — or use the button below for quick access.