BYU Cougar fans are still reeling from the news that starting cornerback Jordan Johnson tore his ACL during practice Monday and is out for the season. Add to that the bizarre jersey saga that unfolded last Thursday, and it may seem that the past week has not been kind to BYU.
However, there are actually several reasons from the past week for BYU fans to rejoice. Three reasons, to be exact.
Highly touted recruits Tyler Cook, Nick Kurtz and Cedric Dale have all committed to BYU in the last week.
Cook is rated by Rivals.com as a 3-star outside linebacker. The Murrieta, California native held nearly 20 offers.
BYU wound up beating out Boise State for his commitment, but that was hardly the only other major program that was after Cook. Miami, Arizona and Vanderbilt had also offered him.
Cook looks to be the heir to the position that Kyle Van Noy has made nationally famous. When heir-apparent Johnny Ragin III decommitted just before signing day, it left BYU looking for a high-caliber outside linebacker to fill Van Noy's shoes after he graduates this season.
Cook fills that need and should be a major part of BYU's formidable defense for years to come.
Kurtz is a JUCO wide receiver who is rated by Rivals as a 4-star recruit. The Grossmont Community College standout stands a whopping 6'6" and weighs 205 pounds.
Kurtz had offers from a plethora of schools, including some of the biggest names in college football. Oregon, Cal, Kansas State and Kentucky had all offered Kurtz, amongst other schools.
BYU's most publicized competitor for Kurtz, however, was Texas Tech. Back in June, former Texas Tech wide receiver and NFL Pro Bowler Wes Welker tried to get Kurtz to commit to his alma mater, irking BYU fans in the process by bashing the school when Kurtz mentioned he was visiting Provo.
Despite Welker's cheap shot (and minor NCAA rules violation), Kurtz wound up committing to the Cougars. Much like Cook, he looks to fill the shoes of a national star player who suits up for the Cougs. Cody Hoffman will graduate after this season, and Kurtz has the perfect size to step in and take the torch from him. He has three years to play his final two seasons of eligibility.
Dale is perhaps the most intriguing of the three commits. He is rated by Rivals as a 3-star cornerback. However, BYU looks to use him heavily as a running back, but he could also see time at corner, given BYU's historical struggles with recruiting enough depth for that position.
BYU once again beat out Texas Tech in order to secure Dale's commit. Nevada, North Texas and Colorado State had all also offered him.
Dale is not particularly large, as he is just 5'8" and 167 pounds. What he does possess, however, is something extremely valuable to BYU: elite speed. It isn't often that the Cougars get a recruit with top-end speed, and Dale has registered a blazing 4.4 time in the 40-yard dash.
Dale and Kurtz's commitments have a second level of significance, as neither are Latter-day Saints, unlike most of BYU's players and high-end recruits. BYU has now proven that it can also go out and get highly rated recruits who aren't LDS. Their commitments could open the way for BYU to start regularly pulling in highly rated non-LDS recruits.
Despite Jordan Johnson's injury and the jersey snafu, this past week has definitely been a good one for BYU overall, thanks to the commitments of Cook, Kurtz and Dale.
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