Cougars land solid recruiting class
Feb. 3, 2000
PROVO -- BYU's Class of 2000 is the class of the Mountain West.
Rivals100.com has ranked the Cougar football recruiting class 51st in the nation and first in the MWC.
That rating might be misleading, however, because the site doesn't list several of the players who signed with BYU Wednesday. A few of those players are key recruits.
Timpview High quarterback Danny Southwick turned down a scholarship offer from Penn State to remain close to home.
"(Joe Paterno) was dead serious about Danny," BYU offensive coordinator Lance Reynolds said. "He was having a hard time up until Tuesday telling them no."
The Cougar staff picked up three running backs who should contribute immediately.
"We don't know for sure what will happen with Luke Staley's recovery, Jaron Dabney's gone, Kalani Sitake's been hurt, Donny Atuia graduated and Fahu Tahi's considering a mission," Reynolds said. "Junior Mahe's working to get back in school, but that's never an absolute deal until it happens.
"We couldn't afford to be back in the same boat with an empty backfield."
Enter Cerritos (Calif.) Junior College back Brian MCdonald (yes, that's the correct spelling of his name), Maryland prep star Marcus Whalen and Texas dynamo Isiah Joiner.
"Hopefully," recruiting coordinator Chris Pella said, "we can get ourselves to the point where if we get our three backs hurt, we still have some ammunition left."
Pella is particularly excited about the big guys in this class.
Offensive lineman Junior Kato of San Bruno, Calif., is a four-star player on a scale of five, according to Rivals100. So is defensive lineman Michael Marquardt of Vista, Calif.
Three stars go to defensive lineman Eddie Keele and linebackers K.C. Bills (Colorado) and Lawrence Cowan (Salt Lake City).
BYU dominated the MWC in the number of three- and four-star athletes it landed.
Pella's also a big fan of defensive end Judd Anderton (Tacoma, Wash.) and offensive lineman Brent Pollack (Rolling Hills Estates, Calif.), whom he calls a real sleeper.
A big concern was finding key junior college athletes who could step right in and contribute, starting with MCdonald.
"The two corners, Danny Phillips (Cerritos JC) and Derrus Wilson (Blinn, Texas JC), are important," Pella said. "We felt a need to get a couple more experienced guys to plug into the secondary."
A fourth JC transfer, former Cougar receiver Mike Rigell, didn't get his letter of intent to BYU before 5 p.m. Wednesday. That's not a problem, it just meant he didn't make the official release. Rigell was tied up in classes.
"That's a good sign," Pella said.
Like the other three JC transfers, Rigell must first graduate with a two-year degree before he can become eligible to play for BYU. MCdonald has the most work left to do.