Quality over quantity.

That’s what is important to keep in mind this year while analyzing BYU’s 2021 football signing class, recruiting experts say.

The three-day early signing period begins Wednesday, and the Cougars are expected to sign most, if not all, of the 16 prospects who have pledged to them the last several days, months, and even years — in the case of East High linebacker Ricky Wolfgramm, who committed when he was in the eighth grade.

In 2017, the NCAA instituted an early signing period for football in December, while keeping the traditional national signing day the first Wednesday of February.

“I think more than anything, we are adding a lot of good, five-star character people into our program and I think they will represent (BYU) really well.” — BYU coach Kalani Sitake

With Lone Peak three-star athlete John Henry Daley having said Monday he will sign with BYU on Wednesday, only one major recruiting target remains for BYU coach Kalani Sitake and his staff: Corner Canyon senior Jaxson Dart, a 6-foot-3, 215-pound pro-style quarterback and the Deseret News’ Mr. Football in 2020 after leading the Chargers to the 6A state championship.

Dart had not made his choice known publicly as of Tuesday morning, but has been reported to be deciding between BYU, Arizona State, UCLA and USC. A source with close ties to Dart told the Deseret News this past weekend he was leaning toward USC, but the situation is fluid.

Dart, who attends the same Draper, Utah, high school as current BYU QB Zach Wilson, would be the fifth-highest ranked recruit in BYU history if he picks the Cougars, according to CougarSportsInsider, an affiliate of the 247sports network.

BYU was the first major program to offer Dart a scholarship, “and he hasn’t forgotten that,” the source said.

Whether he lands more prospects or not, Sitake said Monday while discussing the Cougars’ acceptance to play against UCF in the Boca Raton Bowl on Dec. 22 that he’s “excited” about this signing class.

A “good number” will go on two-year missions for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints before enrolling, Sitake said, “but some of them will play for us right away. The class includes a lot of talent, and we feel like these guys are some difference-makers who can really help us play.”

Sitake said he will talk specifically about the recruits once they have turned in their national letter of intent. He said the NCAA’s rules that banned in-home visits by coaches and on-campus visits from recruits during the COVID-19 pandemic have hampered recruiting efforts a bit, but feels like they were still able to get to know prospects and their families quite well.

“I think more than anything, we are adding a lot of good, five-star character people into our program and I think they will represent (BYU) really well,” he said.

With a team rankings score of 159.18 as of midday Tuesday, BYU ranks No. 70 nationally, according to 247sports.com. That’s just behind UCLA (160.4) with 12 commits and just ahead of Florida Atlantic (155.97) with 23 commits. 

Other BYU recruiting rivals: Utah (202.52) is No. 29, Boise State (168.05) is No. 59 and Utah State (42.66) is No. 135 with just four recognized commits.

Jeff Hansen, senior recruiting analyst for CougarSportsInsider.com, says BYU fans shouldn’t be dismayed at the team ranking because the system rewards quantity almost as much as quality and the Cougars have a limited number of scholarships to dole out this year because of a high number of returning missionaries next year.

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“On paper, the class of 2021 is the best class that BYU has had since (Sitake) took over (in 2016),” Hansen said. “The team ranking isn’t the highest, but that’s largely driven by the size of the class. With only 16 players, BYU doesn’t have the quantity to garner a top-50 type of ranking.”

BYU’s class includes 14 three-star and two two-star prospects.

“In terms of quality, BYU has done better this year than they have in the past under Sitake,” Hansen continued. “There aren’t a lot of players in this class, but there is a lot of impact.”

The class lacks a big-time, four- or five-star recruit (unless Dart joins), but has a couple prospects from nearby Timpview High who are close — athletic Raider Damuni and defensive end Logan Fano. The Cougars got early commitments from both, then fought off a bunch of Pac-12 schools to keep them in the fold. 

Linebackers Bentley Redden of San Clemente, California, Weston Jones of Romeo, Michigan, Nathan Hoke of Wexford, Pennsylvania, and Dallin Havea of Provo should join Daley in keeping BYU’s strong tradition of outstanding linebacker play alive.

Receivers Kyson Hall of Maple Mountain (brother of current BYU QB Jaren Hall), Quenton Rice of Las Vegas (son of former Cougar great Rodney Rice) and Isaiah Glasker of South Jordan’s Bingham High will add depth in the skill positions.

BYU beat some Power Five programs for twin brothers Elia and Enoka Migao of Temecula, California. Elia Migao plays offensive line and had offers from Oregon, Colorado, Nebraska and others. Enoka Migao plays defensive end and counts offers from the likes of Michigan State, Oregon State and Arizona.

Of course, this is the time of year when players start entering the transfer portal, and BYU will have some of those, Sitake acknowledged. The first was former Box Elder High star Darius McFarland, a fullback-turned-defensive lineman who hasn’t been on the roster since the season started.

“I have a bunch of guys that love the game of football, so some of them may see an opportunity to play more somewhere else, and I am going to be helpful for them, trying to get them there,” Sitake said. “For the most part, most of them want to be here, so we are going to do what is best for them.”

BYU’s Projected 2021 Recruiting Class

BYU’s commits as of Tuesday, according to 247 Sports

John Henry Daley LB, 6-4, 225 American Fork, Utah (Lone Peak High School)

Jovesa Damuni DB, 5-11, 180 Millville, Utah (Ridgeline High School)

Raider Damuni ATH, 6-2, 190 — Provo, Utah (Timpview High School)

Logan Fano DE, 6-4, 230 Provo, Utah (Timpview High School)

Isaiah Glasker WR, 6-5, 195 South Jordan, Utah (Bingham High School)

Kyson Hall WR, 5-11, 175 Spanish Fork, Utah (Maple Mountain High School)

Dallin Havea LB, 6-3, 215 Provo, Utah (Provo High School)

Sione Hingano OL, 6-5, 280 Chandler, Arizona (Chandler High School)

Nathan Hoke LB, 6-3, 225 Wexford, Pennsylvania (North Allegheny High School)

Weston Jones OL, 6-5, 260 Romeo, Michigan (Romeo High School)

Elia Migao OL, 6-2, 320 Temecula, California (Chaparral High School)

Enoka Migao DE, 6-5, 230 Temecula, California (Chaparral High School)

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Bentley Redden LB, 6-5, 215 San Clemente, California (San Clemente High School)

Quenton Rice WR, 6-1, 170 Las Vegas, Nevada (Faith Lutheran High School)

Dylan Rollins OL, 6-5, 284 Missoula, Montana (Sentinel High School)

Ricky Wolfgramm OLB, 6-1, 235 Salt Lake City, Utah (East High School)

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