PROVO — July typically isn’t a busy month for football recruiting news, although certain developments that have put quarterback recruiting efforts at BYU sharply into focus.
On Monday, Ben Criddle tackled most aspects of the Cougar quarterback recruiting landscape throughout his show:
The most recent development involves the Cougars recently offering UTSA commit Noah Lugo. The 6-foot-2, 180 pound quarterback from Haslet, Texas shows good dual-threat capability and a live arm in his junior year film, which caught the notice of BYU Offensive Coordinator Aaron Roderick.
So why Lugo, and why go after a relatively unknown commodity who has already pledged to sign with UTSA come the 2024 National Letter of Intent signing period?
As Criddle and his cohosts broke down on the show, there was good reason to believe the Cougars didn’t necessarily need to sign a quarterback who would immediately enroll within the program. Sure, BYU is set to sign both Enoch Watson and Carson Su’esu’e, but both have plans to serve missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prior to their respective enrollments, on top of the prospect that Su’esu’e may end up playing another position.
The one non-mission quarterback the Cougars did have eyes on prior to the Lugo offer was 3-star Maealiuaki Smith who shows the complete package in his film with regards to size, versatility and arm strength while competing against top California competition.
Smith is reportedly still considering a BYU pledge, but also has Oklahoma State sitting as a strong possibility as he sorts out a recruitment that involves offers from programs such as Arizona, Arizona State, Cal and several others on top of offers from both the Cougars and the Cowboys.
The Cougars appeared to have a lot of momentum with Smith, but the 6-foot-4, 195 pound prospect left his official visit with the Cougars without committing which historically hasn’t been a good sign, but certainly not the final determinant with regards to BYU’s chances.
So why offer Lugo with Smith still yet to commit and with no immediate need to bring in a freshman quarterback as part of the 2024 roster?
Cougs Daily publisher Casey Lundquist joined the program and astutely gave a comparison of the recruitment of So-Jay Maiava-Peters back in 2020, who like Smith held out a bit longer and coaches perhaps would have liked regarding his commitment to BYU. The Cougars eventually did secure Maiava-Peters’ commitment and eventual signing, but has Lundquist pointed out, it was perhaps set in motion by BYU offering Jayden De Laura late in the process. Maiava-Peters perhaps plainly saw his offer to the Cougars would be void should De Laura commit, as quarterback spots are at a premium.
So is this why BYU offered Lugo?
It’s rarely that simple, and it’s highly doubtful Roderick and the offensive braintrust would utilize Lugo as a simple pawn in hopes of spurring on Smith’s decision. What it indicates is that BYU simply really likes Lugo’s prospects as a quarterback and regards him a real find in the process while likely receiving positive feedback from Lugo concerning the potential of ditching his UTSA commitment to pledge and then sign with the Cougars.
As it stands, BYU will likely roster as many as five quarterbacks in 2024 with transfer portal possibilities always in play should Roderick feel the need to add at least one more. Those quarterbacks include Jake Retzlaff (6-2, 205 Jr.), Cade Finnegan (6-2, 190 So.), Nick Billuops (6-2, 193 So.), Cole Hagen (6-2, 185 Fr.) and Ryder Burton (6-2, 200 Fr.).