BYU Football: Breaking Down Committed Players Cougars Fans Must Get to Know
Although most BYU Cougars fans are still basking in the glow of their scintillating victory in the 2012 Poinsettia Bowl, the college football season never sleeps for the coaches and scouts hitting the recruiting trail.
With a bunch of top-tier players leaving the program (or possibly entering the draft), Bronco Mendenhall and his staff will need to find their replacements fast. Luckily, much of the 2013 crop of players have already signed on the dotted line.
Understandably, this recruiting news is tough to keep up with for the average fan. Most are more concentrated on who's actually playing on Saturdays, rather than who will be suiting up for the Cougars.
With that in mind, here is a look at a few notable recruits BYU fans should get to know from the Class of 2013.
Johnny Ragin III (OLB)
With Kyle Van Noy's draft prospects at an all-time high, it's looking more than ever like the Cougars will have to replace their star linebacker. Ostensibly, Ragin is the player most likely to fill those lofty shoes.
Fit with a position befitting his great name, Ragin is considered a 3-star outside linebacker prospect by 247 Sports. The website also lists the Wilsonville (Ore.) High School star as the fourth-best player in the state of Oregon and No. 52 overall at his position.
Listed at 6'2" and 208 pounds, Ragin's size is his biggest downfall at this point. He'll have to add some weight to play outside linebacker or his most natural offensive position, fullback.
Nevertheless, he's an absolute marvel to watch off the edges and he has a quick burst that gives just about any offensive tackle trouble. If Ragin works on his technique in the offseason and adds 20 or 30 pounds of muscle, there's little reason why he won't be able to get some time on the field as a freshman.
He's nowhere near a sure thing, but neither was Van Noy when he signed in Provo.
Talon Shumway (WR)
Speaking of worthy successors, BYU undoubtedly hopes it found the next Cody Hoffman in Shumway. Though Hoffman is a junior and will certainly return for his senior season, he grabbed 100 passes in 2012 and will be nearly impossible to replace when he finally departs.
Based on pure skill alone, Shumway could very well be the type of breakout talent who grabs the torch. Shumway was a star at Lonepeak High School in Highland, emerging as the fourth-best player in the state of Utah and No. 44 wide receiver recruit in the nation, per 247 Sports.
The Class of 2013 star is also a unique prospect because he spent much of his high school days taking snaps in the Wildcat formation. That running ability undoubtedly translates well for gaining yards after the catch, and Shumway is even a surprisingly stout route-runner despite his time-splitting.
Size isn't an issue, either. At 6'3" 190 pounds, he could stand to add a little bit of weight, but has a frame that should build on its own.
The one overarching problem (if you want to call it that) is that Shumway plans on leaving for his Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints mission trip after high school. That means Cougars fans will have to wait to see him play on Saturdays.
Nevertheless, if they're patient, Shumway should come back and be a solid contributor down the line.
Ma'ataua Brown (DT)
How would you grade BYU's 2013 recruiting class thus far?
Unlike Shumway and Ragin, Brown will not come to Provo from the high school ranks. Instead, the hulking defensive tackle prospect is the most notable of a few top-shelf junior college transfers Mendenhall reeled in for the Class of 2013.
Brown is listed at 6'5" and 340 pounds and was nothing short of phenomenal at Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif. A powerful defensive tackle, Brown was considered a 3-star recruit by 247 Sports and the No. 18 overall player at his position as well.
Most importantly, he's a guy who can come in and instantly contribute for BYU.
Best suited for a nose-tackle position at the FBS level, Brown should fit in swimmingly with the Cougars' defensive system and could start from the moment he arrives. Equipped with a quick burst off the line and elite power, he should be able to wreak havoc in the backfield against the run and not have too many deficiencies in pass-rushing.
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