One of the forgotten parts about College Football Recruiting is the Mid-Year Signing Period for transfers. Usually from the Junior College ranks and occassionally high school student-athletes that receive their H.S. Diploma in the Winter.
This particular signing period starts this Wednesday, December 17th and runs through January 15th of 2009. It gives these guys time to decide where they are going to sign, and they can immediately join a program for Spring Practices, which is always a plus for newcomers to get a early edge on the learning curve.
Last month, Greg Wrubell mentioned in his blog, "Cougar Tracks" that Bronco was going to hit JC's for some defensive help. I can't find the link at this time, but its apparent Bronco is living up to his words as Junior College recruits have been visiting Cougar Town lately. Here are the three mid-year players that BYU has offered.
Lee Aguirre, CB, Fullerton College
Aguirre visited Hawaii the weekend the Warriors played BCS-bound Cincinnati. I watched that game on my DVR, and I spotted Aguirre in the third quarter on the sidelines with around 9:20 left in the quarter.
Apparently he enjoyed his trip to Hawaii, mainly due to the weather I would assume. I can't imagine he was impressed with the facilities. Remember when former Hawaii QB Colt Brennan said his team didn't even bars of soap during Spring Practice? Well that's still the same program, and with the nation being in a recession I can't imagine the facilities have been upgraded much since last year.
Then there's BYU where the facilities are probably the best in the West and some of the best in the nation, and that includes the NFL. Also, another positive to BYU is he can be a part of a Top-15 program and have the opportunity to play right away if he works hard and learns the defense fast.
That's why Spring ball is critical for a Cornerback. Juco's that come in the Fall tend to be late bloomers and don't flourish till late in their Senior seasons. (i.e. Andre Saulsberry, Chris Bolden, just to name a few.)
Hope to see him come to BYU, from what I've read he is a great specialist. He blocked many kicks his Freshman season at Fullerton.
Here's a good article on him that was posted earlier this month at his school's website. LINK
Then here's two highlight videos from his Freshman season at Fullerton. Kind of hard to watch, but in the first one you clearly see his ability for blocking kicks. In the second vid, I noticed he is a very good open field tackler which would be a welcomed trait to our Secondary, and has a flat-out knack for finding the ball and getting picks, another skill needed in our Secondary.
Here's some video on Atkinson. He appears to be very fast on the edge and wraps up instantly. Has great size at 6-3 235. He just looks like a prototypical big BYU Linebacker. He had a visit this past week at Colorado State, and the Rams did in fact offer him. So it comes down to CSU and BYU. I would sure like to see Steve Fairchild cry again.
A side note about Atkinson he was a Pre-Season 2nd Team JC All-American Selection by Scout.com, so he is no slouch by any means. LINK
Aaron Gress, LB, College of the Sequoias
Gress is a Non-LDS athlete and has been offered by three schools now. BYU, Marshall and Nevada. Gress though has no interest in Nevada, and has stated his decision to which college he will attend will come down to BYU, Marshall and Illinois. Gress visited the Fightin' Illini on Friday according to Scout.com. No reports wether or not Illinois has offered.
Gress racked up 135 tackles in his two years at the Sequoias and has three years to play two at whatever college he opts to sign with.
Here is some highlights on YouTube of Gress:
I'm glad to see Bronco is going after some JC's to maybe sure up some holes in the Defense, its needed. Many coaches around the country are usually very stubborn when it comes to JC players and refuse to sign any.
Sometimes BYU needs to take some gambles with in recruiting and JC players are probably where its at, but if any of these guys were to commit to BYU I think they could make immediate contributions right away and make waves on the two-deep depth chart.
Three very talented players. Bronco and staff have an eye for talent regardless of what people in the media say.