The 2018 football season is an important one for BYU. The Cougars are coming off their worst season since World War II where they posted an abysmal 4-9 record and they were not competitive in a majority of those games.
Head coach Kalani Sitake made a complete overhaul to the offensive staff by relieving BYU legend Ty Detmer and hiring LSU offensive line coach Jeff Grimes to lead the Cougar offense that was one of the worst in the nation a year ago.
With the changes on the staff combined with a 4-9 record, the Cougars ended with a recruiting class that finished 94th in the team rankings on Rivals.com. A program low since Rivals began in 2002.
One thing you have to always remember with BYU recruiting is that the Cougars will have an influx of returned missionaries to even out the low ranking, but also there are still a few players from the 2018 class that are expected to be significant contributors this fall.
Gunner Romney, WR
For those of you who follow college football religiously, you should remember the name Austin Collie. Collie, a former BYU wide receiver, who went on to play with Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the NFL, was the ultimate playmaker at BYU. Week-after-week Collie would put up 100-yard games with ease. Why am I mentioning all of this? Well, BYU signee Romney is receiving comparisons to Collie. His look, his style of play and commitment to the game remind many around Provo of Collie.
Romney was the best wide receiver in the state of Arizona last season out of Chandler High. He’s not serving an LDS mission this fall and he will have every opportunity to be BYU’s No. 1 wide receiver as a true freshman.
Zach Wilson, QB
One of the big question marks for BYU football in 2018 is the quarterback position. Wilson a true freshman from Corner Canyon High School in Draper, Utah, has a chance to become BYU’s starting quarterback this fall.
A dual-threat signal-caller, Wilson was recruited by BYU’s new offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes. Wilson is already enrolled in school and will compete during spring practices.
Harris LaChance, OT
A returned missionary who originally signed with Utah State out of Harriman High School in Utah, LaChance returned from his LDS mission and opted to sign with rival BYU instead. LaChance is enrolled in school right now and is already gaining buzz within the program for his size (6-8) and wingspan. With BYU’s offensive tackles showing vulnerability at times a season ago, LaChance will push for playing time right away.
Drew Jensen, S
One of the interesting things about BYU is that it takes many years to start seeing the fruits of signing class. Kalani Sitake’s first class in 2016 has only seen five players play a down so far. One of those players from that top-50 class is Jensen. A three-star prospect, Jensen is a ball hawk and a really good athlete. BYU is making a lot of position changes within its secondary, increasing the chances that Jensen could be a surprise name in the two-deep come this fall.
Skyler Southam, K
Year-after-year BYU has had struggles in the kicking game. The Cougars have been desperately hoping to find a kicker they feel can win them ball games. They might finally have it in Southam. A U.S. Army All-American, Southam recently returned home from an LDS mission. While in high school, Southam was making close to 60-yard field goals for Wasatch High in Heber City, Utah.
— Written by Mitch Harper, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Harper is BYU Insider for ESPN 960 Sports and Publisher of Cougar Nation, part of the Rivals network. Follow him on Twitter @Mitch_Harper.