"Players that want to be coddled and want to be catered to don’t come, and some are good LDS players. We want them to be passionate about the chance to play at BYU. I really don’t have much time for those that want to be convinced.
"I think it’s degrading as a coach to try to convince an 18-year-old young man why he should come to your place. I know that’s contrary to most recruiting thoughts, but I like young men that know what they want and are willing to pursue it, and they convince others of where they’re going in life."
—BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall
This isn’t a new phrase for anyone who has been in the program. Coach Mendenhall feels very adamant about recruiting and signing players that have a real and sincere desire to play for BYU.
Is it any wonder that this statement came from a coach that gives a couple scholarships a year to walk-ons? He feels that, in the long run, the best players are those with internal motivations to represent the university, both on and off the field.
Don’t misunderstand the quote, Mendenhall is still heavily involved in recruiting the best possible players he can. Where he differs is in his approach when sitting down to talk with recruits. Instead of merely talking about positions, playing time, and depth charts, Mendenhall talks about personal goals, spirituality, educational opportunities, character, and how his team is not only winning games, but affecting its community.
He leaves no questions about off-field expectations. If I were a parent with a strong religious background, I wouldn’t want my son to play anywhere else. BYU is the place for athletes that want to excel on the field and off.
Year in and year out, BYU’s average team GPA is—if not the highest in the country—among the highest in the country. Mendenhall has a very high graduation rate, his teams donate hundreds of hours in service to the community, and he does this while fostering a top-25 program.
I agree with Mendenhall, it would be hard to sit down with a recruit who is trying to choose between USC and BYU. But BYU has to use its competitive advantages in order to continually get the best LDS players. What are those competitive advantages? They are our university's traditions, spirit, and honor.
BYU has a tradition of winning, a spirit both among the players and on campus that is nationally unmatched, and our players carry themselves with honor wherever football or life takes them.
Yes, we have other competitive advantages and our recruiting is conducted in a way to highlight those advantages. But, make no mistake, football isn’t the only thing being talked about with recruits.