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BYU Offers Five Impressive California Prospects

It's rare for BYU to offer scholarships to five teammates on the same night, but that's exactly what happened last week

Last week, BYU extended five scholarship offers to California prospects: Marcus Ratcliffe, Surahz Buncom, Jeremiah McClure, Chris Snyder Jr., and Isaiah Buxton. Thursday night they took to Twitter to announce their new BYU offers.

Kalani Sitake vs Boise State

Four of the five players prep at Mater Dei Catholic High School in San Diego. Last season, Mater Dei Catholic went undefeated and won the California Division 2-AA state championship. All five players are part of Team Makasi - a 7v7 program founded by Mater Dei Catholic offensive coordinator Verlain Betofe. 

The Team Makasi organization is based in San Diego. Coach Betofe estimates that the program has produced over 100 division one college football players over the last six years. Players like Chris Olave (Ohio State), Martell Irby (UCLA), Kenan Christon (USC), Josh Meredith (Washington State), and Darren Barkins (Oregon) all hail from the Team Makasi organization.

Cougs Daily interviewed Team Makasi founder, Verlain Betofe, to get a breakdown of each player that received a BYU offer last week. You can read his comments below:

Marcus Ratcliffe 

Position: Safety

Class: 2023

Offers: BYU, Arizona, San Diego State, Colorado State

Measurables: 6'3" 190 lbs.

Marcus Ratcliffe is a long safety prospect and the only player on this list that doesn't prep at Mater Dei Catholic High School. He preps at Cathedral Catholic - a top five program in California according to MaxPreps. 

Ratcliffe has started for Cathedral Catholic since his sophomore season. "(Marcus) has a lot of range and honestly just really started playing safety around two years ago," said Betofe. "He was a kid that grew up playing more quarterback, so his upside is is major."

Coach Betofe notes that Ratcliffe fits the mold that BYU has looked for in the secondary. "I know BYU really like those long, athletic safeties in the back that can go out and make plays...he's a kid that has a ton of talent upside potential." 

Surahz Buncom

Position: Wide Receiver / Defensive Back

Class: 2023

Offers: BYU, Pittsburgh

Measurables: 6'4" 175 lbs.

Surahz Buncom is a long receiver prospect that could also play defensive back. Betofe describes Buncom as "another kid whose potential is high...has a good IQ, he can play the slot and the outside, he does a good job after catch. He's long, athletic, he ran a 4.5 forty, he's another power five guy that's gonna be highly recruited."

Buncom racked up around 500 receiving yards last season, but Betofe believes he is capable of much more. On offense, Mater Dei Catholic has as many as six wide receivers that could play division one college football. Their offensive style is predicated on spreading the ball around. If Buncom played at another high school, he would probably see more targets and put up more even more prolific stats.

Jeremiah McClure

Position: Wide Receiver

Class: 2023

Offers: BYU, Colorado State, Cal, Washington, Fresno State, Michigan, Arizona, USC, San Diego State

Measurables: 6'1" 195 lbs.

Jeremiah McClure is an explosive wide receiver prospect. "I've been running my organization for about six years," Betofe said. "I've had guys like Chris Olave who's going to be a top 20 pick in the NFL draft...Jeremiah compares to him as far as his athletic ability and projection. He's probably one of, if not one or two of the most talented players I've ever coached at the receiver position."

Coach Betofe said McClure ran a 4.48 last forty last year at a camp. Two weeks later, they found out that Betofe had run the forty with a broken foot. "He's just a freak athlete to be honest," Betofe said. McClure is likely to receive many more offers by the time he signs with his school of choice.

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Chris Snyder Jr. 

Position: Safety / Corner / Wide Receiver

Class: 2023

Offers: BYU, Cal, Pitt, Oregon, UNLV, Oregon State, Colorado, San Diego State

Measurables: 6'0" 175 lbs.

Chris Snyder Jr. is a jack-of-all-trades on the football field according to his coach. "I think he projects as a safety at the next level," Betofe said. "But he also played receiver, we put him at corner, we put him at safety, he played as a running back, he's super athletic, versatile...he's just a football player, you know, there's no other way you could describe him. He's probably one of the top two or three most competitive guys I've ever coached. He just loves the game of football...he wants it more than anybody else." 

Isaiah Buxton

Position: Cornerback / Nickel

Class: 2024

Offers: BYU, Arizona, Syracuse, Colorado State

Measurables: 6'0" 160 lbs.

Isaiah Buxton is an up-and-coming player that could be a national name by the time he signs with his school choice. Only a sophomore last season, Buxton racked up six interceptions , three of which he returned for scores. "He is incredible," Coach Betofe said. "He's going to be one of the top guys in the country when all is said and done. He's long, athletic, he goes and make plays."

In one game this season, Mater Dei Catholic led East Lake 24-21 with 30 seconds remaining. East Lake was knocking on the door of a game-winning touchdown at Mater Dei's seven yard line. Buxton sealed the victory when he stepped in front of a pass and took it back 93 yards for a touchdown. In the state championship game, he intercepted another pass and took it back 72 yards for a touchdown. "He just has a knack of making big plays at the at the biggest times," Betofe said.

"He's as technical as some of my college freshman that come back and train with me. So from just a mental standpoint, he's ahead of the curve and he'll be a national guy."

Where BYU Stands

These players are months away from signing with their schools of choice. We expect each player to receive multiple offers over the course of the next 10 months, and we anticipate some of the biggest brands in college football getting into the mix. It's too early to know where BYU stands with each player at this point, but Coach Betofe believes there are a few things that make BYU a legitimate choice.

1. San Diego products have recently had success at BYU

Since Kalani Sitake took over at BYU, the Cougars have invested a lot of time and resources into recruiting San Diego. On last year's roster, for example, four players from BYU's secondary were San Diego natives: Malik Moore, Javelle Brown, Keenan Ellis, and D'Angelo Mandell. According to Betofe, the success of former San Diego prospects at BYU has caught the attention of current San Diego products. 

"I have a real good relationship with the BYU coaches, dating back for a couple of years now," Betofe said.  "They actually have about four to five guys from San Diego in that secondary, or just on BYU's football team. You go back to the Warner brothers, you go back to the D'Angelo Gunther's (now Mandell)...a lot of these guys that came from San Diego and have had a lot of success...what that has done is opened up a lot of these younger guys' eyes."

2. The trajectory of the program

"When you think of BYU," Betofe continued, "You think of a fringe power five school, if you ask me...I mean, they beat power five schools, they do a really good job, they develop their players, [BYU's] graduated players go out to the league...they're on TV a lot and they have a lot of success." 

Beginning in 2023, BYU will officially join the power five ranks when it joins the Big 12. Power five status will improve BYU's recruiting pitch across the board, but it will especially help the Cougars compete against power five schools on the recruiting trail. If the Cougars want to compete in the first years of its Big 12 membership, they need to land players like the ones mentioned above. BYU only has one more recruiting cycle until it enters the Big 12, making the class of 2023 one of the most important recruiting classes in program history.

Anything can happen on the recruiting trail, especially with so much time before signing day, but BYU has positioned themselves nicely early on. Coach Betofe sees BYU as a "realistic" landing spot. "I think it's a realistic angle for these kids to go to BYU because of the success [BYU] has had as a program, the relationships I have with the coaching staff, and just some of the success that a lot of San Diego kids have had when they went to BYU," Betofe said.

So far, BYU has received two verbal commitments from the class of 2023: Timpview teammates Pokaiaua Haunga and Hezekiah Anahu-Ambrosio.

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