BAD NEWS FIRST:
It was announced earlier this week that BYU PG Jashire Hardnett was going to "cut ties" with BYU at the end of the semester and enter the transfer portal. This is a huge loss for the basketball program, it seems has a lot of things are wrong at the moment. I believe that Jashire has been a valuable piece on the team, providing a lockdown defender on the outside. I'm eager to see who on the team currently, or who may be joining the team this offseason, steps up and brings that same bulldog mentality to the team.
We got through the bad now let's get into the ugly. I can't remember a time where I've seen such ugly play from BYU basketball in a tournament. Conference tourneys are the time to elevate your game and leave it all out on the court. The whole team was ice cold from outside the 3-point line going 1 for 17 against San Diego! You're going to have a hard time against anyone if you shoot that poorly. It was also reported from multiple people that after Yoeli Childs, the star big man for BYU, walked to the locker room alone and before anyone else after that loss. There has been speculation wondering if he would even come back for his senior year and this just stokes the coals. Last season, he tested out the NBA draft process out to see where he could possibly land and find out what he needed to work on to improve his draft status and was told that he needed to expand his range and work on his jumper, he did that. I would expect him to do the same this offseason.
This week has been quiet when it comes to reports from spring ball at BYU. I have seen the videos from the coaches coming from Ben Criddle's twitter and it seems like the biggest news from that is that BYU's offense may be turning to a faster pace, maybe an Anea offense 2.0.
Also in an interview with Zach Wilson, he informed us that he is still 1-2 months away from being cleared to play and that he will be going and training with John Beck this summer. Zach has trained with John in the past before getting to BYU and John was actually on with Ben Criddle before Zach actually got the start and couldn't stop raving about Zach. He was saying that Zach was mentally strong and a super quick learner. So even though Zach hasn't been actually practicing with the team I feel pretty confident that he will come into fall camp ready to go for the season.
One of the cooler videos I got to see from fall camp was a quick little video I had to grab off of Khyris Tonga's Instagram. In the video you can see him absolutely blow up the center and get into the backfield before smacking the RB and hitting him back it seemed like 5 yards. It was such a good play I had to steal it and post it myself so I could show everyone that Tonga is ready to go.
WHO TO KEEP AN EYE ON:
Last week I talked about Takeo Kano as the name to watch for BYU football recruiting fans and I'm going to keep that name up there because I love his game and feel like he will be receiving that BYU offer very soon. I also wanted to take a second and point out the fact that BYU is looking to bolster the O-line with some serious talent the next two years, with guys like Andrew Gentry out of Columbine, Colorado and Kingsley Suamataia out of Orem, Utah. Those two hold offers from Cal to Bama and are big-time talents. It will be up to BYU show these kids some serious love to get them to Provo but I like BYU's chances for all 3 of these young men.
This week I wanted to focus on one of my personal favorite recruits that BYU is currently after for the 2020 class, his name is Zach Middleton. Zach plays RB and FS for his team, Bishop Kelly in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Zach is in his own words a "shifty and strong running back with good footwork and will juke or truck someone if necessary in order to get where I need to! I'm a hard hitter and will come downhill and hit anyone". Zach has started to gain a bit of buzz on the recruiting trail and holds offers from teams like Army, Air Force, Arkansas st., and Eastern Michigan. By the time he is ready to sign there will be plenty more offers for sure.
I had a chance to talk with Zach and asked him a few questions in regards to his recruitment thus far. He told me that as of right now he doesn't have a "dream school" that he wants to play for and is open to hearing from anyone. I asked if he has been in contact with BYU and he said that he has. He said that he was "hearing from AJ Steward, and he's a great coach". He told me that BYU was looking at him to come in and play RB. I asked Zach how often he hears from Coach Steward and he said that he hears from him "1-2 times a week and we just talk about what's been going on and stuff like that". I asked him how he got in contact with BYU and he told me that his DB coach Justin Robinson went to BYU and that's how he had come to find out about BYU. Zach said he and Justin are very close and views Justin as "a father figure". Overall Zach seems like a sharp kid and a talented ball player.
Zach currently does not have an offer from BYU but something tells me that will change within the near future. I also asked if he had any plans to come out and see BYU's campus in person he told me that "I am hoping to get out there soon!" I really enjoyed talking with Zach and would love to have him come and be a representative for BYU football and personally feel he would become an instant fan favorite. I've attached his huddle film so you can take a look and decide for yourself.