Kalani Sitake poised to parlay draft success into recruiting wins for the program

BYU quarterback Zach Wilson holds a New York Jets jersey after being selected second overall by the team in the first round of the NFL draft, Thursday, April 29, 2021, in Cleveland. | Jeff Haynes/AP Images for Panini

Cougars’ contingent at NFL draft intends to make the most of the moment

Kalani Sitake is on a run.

And while he’s running, he might as well seize the moment to keep the momentum rolling, including the most successful NFL draft by his program in 20 years.

At the draft’s opening night in Cleveland last Thursday night, it was a gala, a made-for TV sporting sideshow complete with music, Armani suits and walkways to the camera. Behind the stage in a green room, three BYU coaches including Sitake, pass game coordinator Fesi Sitake and offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick were huddled with Zach Wilson and his family waiting for the moment of the highest draft pick in school history to be announced.

Fesi, who was the first college coach to make an offer to Wilson when at Weber State, didn’t think it was too early to use that moment to recruit. He pulled out his cellphone and fired off some texts and called a few prospects.

“I was able to reach out to a couple of guys and let them know that one day, they too would be able to chase their dreams and play at the next level. It was cool, it really was.”

And why not?

Here’s our updated @nydnsports back page. @nyjets @Giants @BYUfootball @NFLDraft @nfl @nflnetwork @apse_sportmedia #ZachWilson @FloridaGators https://t.co/Z3GjO3Wr8L pic.twitter.com/G3xDm1oIMb

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— Back Page Guy NYDN (@BackPageGuyNYDN) April 30, 2021

In Wilson, the No. 2 overall pick was a program first.

In third-round pick Brady Christensen, it was the first offensive lineman drafted by the program in 16 years since Scott Young.

In seventh-round pick Khyiris Tonga, BYU had its first defensive lineman drafted since Bronson Kaufusi was selected in 2016.

In seventh-round pick Chris Wilcox, BYU had its first cornerback drafted in 28 years (Derwin Gray).

It was the first multi-pick draft for BYU in 12 years.

The five Cougars drafted were the most since 2002.

Critics will always put an asterisk on anything BYU did in 2020, the COVID-19 season. But the world gave 2020 an asterisk. Nobody’s taking away an 11-1 season and No. 11 ranking or five draft picks in 2021.

It is in the books. Asterisks are left to the buzz kill class.

In that moment, Fesi Sitake hesitated for a second, wondering if it would appear tacky to use the moment to send some texts. But that apprehension quickly departed, like he’d already left the plane and was reaching for the parachute cord. He was filled with the exhilaration of the moment.

“It was all 100% genuine. I was so excited for Zach. I had flashbacks of him in high school, and imagined what he’d feel like if he got a call from someone while …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News


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