BYU football: Big 12 badge recruitment killed anti-BYU tactic

A Power Five party invitation is paying dividends for BYU soccer recruiters.

Using Big 12 membership to recruit has certainly made a difference as BYU football coaches make their rounds, according to frontline coaches.

But will that blow BYU’s recruiting classes from the mid-1950s, 60s, and 70s to the 1930s at any time?

We will see.

But it made a difference.

“People can no longer use independence against us,” offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick told reporters and the BYUtv study audience. “We were tired of fighting it.”

In fact, he was thrown in the face of BYU coaches through the Bronco Mendenhall and now the Kalani Sitake years.

Not anymore.

And the change has already been measurable.

Running back manager Harvey Unga said he noticed that during his high school recruitment this spring, the coaches brought him players in separate groups. Mountain West type players, Group Five guys, FCS type talent and then what they considered P5 material. “They brought potential Power Five customers to meet me, so yes, there was a difference, at least with what I experienced and what BYU is perceived as.”

Roderick elaborated, saying that in some ways things are not very different because BYU will still be recruiting players who fit the program first. “In the past, there have been some good players who could have been successful, but they weren’t interested due to the non-Power Five school status.

“There were some who basically knocked us out from the start because they wanted to play in a P5 conference, play for a conference championship, be in the playoffs and play for a national championship.”

Roderick said there are now a handful of top-tier recruits each year at which BYU has a chance.

“It’s not like we’re kicking out a national network and we’re not recruiting like Alabama,” he said. “But now there are definitely four or five or up to 10 recruits in that category that we’re at stake with.

“I know the fans want us to get each of them, but if you get one of those guys this year and get one or two next year and one or two the next year, the next thing you’ve got is 10 11-factor difference in your team to take you to another level.

One impact player who fits this category is University of California running back Chris Brooks. “He was their best offensive player,” said Roderick.

“People use everything they can in negative recruiting. That’s what people do and yes, they used the non-P5 against us, “said tight end manager Steve Clark.” We were invited to the Big 12 and beat Utah pretty much the same day. The conversations have changed. People have started to approach us to come with whom we probably never would have had a conversation. It was huge that way.

“We’ve come a long way in nine months,” said passing game coordinator Fesi Sitake. “We would go down the road with recruits who love us and are doing well with, and then we would feel that the opposing recruiters used it against us and it was tough. We have found a way to fight it, but the reality is that now there is nothing they can turn against us in terms of membership and the level of competition we play.

“It’s time to put together everything that was our strengths before, playing at a school like BYU with its fan base, home crowd, code of honor, academic standards, fellow team, amazing culture, playing on our home court in front of passionate fans, playing for a conference title and playing at the highest level. Put it in a package with the Big 12 and the Power Five label and it’s a great sale.

Assistant head coach Ed Lamb agrees.

He used the metaphor of a salesman standing at a door and knocking, knocking, knocking. Fans think that if you stand at the door and knock hard and long enough you can complete the sale on the players with the highest score. But if you don’t close the sale with what the customer is looking for, it’s difficult. High-level recruits want to play high-level against P5 teams, and BYU couldn’t add that to the field.

“Well, what I’ve seen is that with some high-level players we’ve talked to in the past, we’ve done a recruiting job with letters, contacts, relationship building, phone calls and the coaches have built relationships with parents, at end the common objection and comment were: “We love the BYU tradition, we love the coaches, the players and the campus, but I want to play at the highest level.”

Lamb said the objection is now gone.

Have you seen a difference now that they will be in the Big 12?

“Yes. We are now recruiting at the highest level due to future Big 12 membership.”

Lamb said the current coaching staff have a real distinction now. They will train a group of seniors who will never play in the Big 12.

“We want to get those guys out the right way. We want to send them out on the pitch with all the support we can give them. That’s why, by design, we don’t wear Big 12 logo suits and patches. This season is about this year’s team. This is not the Big 12 this year, but every player left, every rookie who signs with us in the future will play in the Big 12 “.

BYU Head Soccer Coach Kalani Sitake and Athletic Director Tom Holmoe speak during a broadcast break during BYU Football Media Day in Provo on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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