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Provo • BYU will probably sign fewer high school seniors to national letters of intent on Wednesday when the football signing period begins than any other school in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).

But that doesn't mean the signing class for 2012 won't number in the mid-20s, recruiting coordinator Joe DuPaix explained, noting that the Cougars have a bumper crop of returned missionaries rejoining the program this year. In essence, those dozen or so players will sign national letters of intent all over again.

"With the returned missionaries and the new guys and the whole deal, I think our class is going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 25, without giving you a specific number. It is going to be a good day," DuPaix said.

Strictly looking at high school seniors and junior college transfers, however, it is going to be a short day. Barring a last-minute surprise, the Cougars will sign just 12 high school seniors.

The other 13 or so signees will be returned missionaries who signed back in 2009 or 2010 or players who have already enrolled such as junior college transfer Marques Johnson and the quarterbacks who decided to transfer from other schools while on their recently completed missions — Ammon Olsen (Alta High/Southern Utah) and Taysom Hill (Pocatello Highland High/Stanford).

Will there be a late surprise?

Coach Bronco Mendenhall said the Cougars had pretty much wrapped up their recruiting efforts a few months ago for this particular class, but the departure of quarterback Jake Heaps and last-minute decision by lineman Manu Mulitalo to go on a church mission created a couple of openings. Johnson, a defensive tackle from El Camino Community College in Torrance, Calif., took one of the few remaining scholarships, while the Cougars are still pursuing another defensive tackle from California, San Jose senior Theodore King of Valley Christian High.

"We are graduating five senior defensive linemen after this [coming] year, and so we are targeting defensive linemen," Mendenhall said.

Actually, a defensive lineman already highlights this year's BYU signing class, as Davis High defensive end Troy Hinds — probably most-recruited player in Utah — committed to the Cougars in August despite offers from dozens of the most prominent programs in the country.

The Cougars' other big-time recruit in this class is Tanner Mangum, a quarterback from Eagle High in Boise, Idaho, who shined at several elite quarterback camps around the country last summer.

"We are feeling really good about our class, very confident with the players that have committed to us," DuPaix said. "Our coaches continue to work extremely hard and efficiently to tie up the loose ends. ... On whether there will be any late [commits], late surprises, we will just have to wait and see on Wednesday."

Like Utah and Utah State, BYU is still holding out hope that Pleasant Grove offensive lineman Brandon Fanaika changes his mind at the last minute and decommits from Stanford because his mother wants him to stay in state. However, BYU is reportedly third on the phenom's list of favorite in-state schools.

The signing class of 16 players — which does not include the returned missionaries who signed a few years ago but does include the transferring QBs — was ranked 54th in the country by the recruiting website as of Friday. Last year, BYU's class was ranked 66th; in 2010, when Heaps and high-profile players such as receiver Ross Apo and linebacker Kyle Van Noy signed, it was ranked 22nd.

Because of Mendenhall's constant push to get early commitments, December and January were quiet months on the recruiting front, although coaches did visit every player who has committed and spent a lot of time working on targets from the class of 2013.

"I am not sure that it will continue at the same high level that it has. But it is definitely something we will continue to do, to [seek] early commits," DuPaix said. "But maybe not as many early commits. We still need to sit down and discuss that, and make a decision on those things.

"When it comes right down to it, every situation is individualized, and specific, and when you find the right kid. If it is the right young man who belongs at BYU, and he's the right fit and can help us be dominant on the football field, you are going to go ahead and go with it. But it becomes a one-on-one opportunity. It is a case-by-case event."

Twitter: @drewjay —

BYU's projected signings

Name Position Hometown School Ht/Wt Comment

Dylan Collie WR El Dorado Hills, Calif. Oak Ridge H.S. 5-10/2 Brother of Indianapolis Colts' Austin Collie

Taysom Hill QB Pocatello, Idaho Highland H.S. 6-2/210 Signed with Stanford before LDS Church mission

Tanner Mangum QB Boise, Idaho Eagle H.S. 6-2/182 MVP among QBs at BYU's camps in 2009, 2010

Josh Weeks WR Show Low, Ariz. Show Low H.S. Named to 25-member All-Arizona team after senior year

Rhett Sandlin S Sandy Alta H.S. 6-3/194 Big hitter committed to Cougars during junior year at Alta

Matt Hadley S Connell, Wash. Connell H.S. 5-11/190 Younger brother of BYU backup LB Spencer Hadley

Austin Hoyt OL Jackson, Calif. Argonaut H.S. 6-7/240 Picked BYU after getting offer from Utah, also plays TE

Phillip Amone LB Orlando, Fla. Dr. Phillips H.S. 6-0/218 Torn ACL cut short all-stater's senior season

Stephen Richards TE Draper Alta H.S. 6-4/240 Ranked as 75th best TE in country by

Jamaal Williams RB Fontana, Calif. Summit H.S. 6-2/190 Picked BYU over Boise State, could see early time

Jherremya Leuta-Douyere OLB Anaheim, Calif. Servite H.S. 6-0/230 Also played running back, offensive line in high school

Butch Pauu LB Anaheim, Calif. Servite H.S. 6-0/215 One of the biggest prep hitters in California

Troy Hinds DE Kaysville Davis H.S. 6-5/230 State's most-recruited player had dozens of offers

Sawyer Powell LB Richland, Wash. Richland H.S. 6-1/205 Three-year starter had 100 tackles, interception as a junior

Marques Johnson DT Torrance, Calif. El Camino C.C. 6-2/305 Likely redshirt candidate will have three years to play two

Ammon Olsen QB Draper Alta H.S./SUU 6-4/205 Played for Southern Utah freshman year before a church mission

Micah Hanneman S Highland Lone Peak H.S. 6-1/185 Will probably greyshirt next fall before going on church mission —

BYU's returning missionaries

Receiver Brett Thompson

Offensive lineman Terrance Alletto

Receiver Mitch Mathews

Offensive lineman Fono Vakalahi

Defensive tackle Russell Tialavea

Safety Craig Bills

Safety Trevor Bateman

Defensive tackle Tui Crichton

Defensive end Remington Peck

Safety Jacob Hannemann

Defensive end Bronson Kaufusi

Offensive lineman Brad Wilcox