Hadley on the Radar

Having committed most - if not all - high school prospects desired for 2011, BYU coaches are now turning towards the junior college ranks in hopes of landing top-flight defensive back talent. One of those defensive backs is Snow College's Preston Hadley, and both Paul Tidwell and Nick Howell were in attendance at his last game.

Preston Hadley is a 6-foot, 200-pound defensive back who arrived at Snow College via Pleasant Grove High School. Unlike most junior college recruits, he didn't arrive at Snow due to his football prowess, but to accept a leadership scholarship.

He did want to prove himself on the gridiron, however, but the going was rough initially.

"I got cut the first year I tried out for the team," he explained. "It was tough because I really wanted to play football, but that first year I just attended school. I wasn't sure if I was going to play football, but I didn't give up."

The following spring Hadley caught the notice of coaches enough to earn himself a spot. It was a spot that Hadley declined, instead opting for a mission to New York City.

"The reason I tried out is because I wanted them to remember me when I got home from my mission," he explained. "If I hadn't tried out, then I don't know if I would have been ready to give football a try after my mission. It was for my own confidence in what I could do, but also so that coaches would remember me."

Hadley returned from his mission in May of 2009 and underwent the same struggles that accompany most returned missionaries.

"It took a while to get back into football shape and get my legs back for sure," he noted. "Fortunately coaches gave me a spot on the team, although I sat on the bench for the first three games for the most part."

Hadley got his chance to start, however, following the fourth game of the season and has maintained that starting role throughout a highly successful 2010 season. His play has captured the attention of many college recruiters.

Utah State and New Mexico State in particular served early notice in granting him scholarship offers.

"I haven't been down to New Mexico yet to check out their program, but it's something I want to do for sure," he said. "I've been up to Utah State and I like the feel of the place. It seems like a bigger version of Snow College. It's in a small town, so it's a tight student community, which I like."

Hadley has several former teammates that are now part of the Aggie program, which helps USU's cause.

"For sure it's great to go some place where you already have friends," he explained. "I like that about Utah State for sure. We'll see what happens and what other offers I get, but I'll definitely consider Utah State."

One school in particular that Hadley hopes to get an offer from is BYU. Having grown up in Utah County, he's obviously very familiar with the program.

"Over the summer I was able to meet with Coach Mendenhall and see the facilities up close and all that," he related. "BYU is a top program and I'd definitely like to play there. I'm not saying that they're my favorite, but BYU is definitely a place where I think I could do well."

BYU coaches are obviously interested, having been down to see Hadley perform and also having talked to his coaches at Snow. Hadley has the type of attitude that Mendenhall loves, but has also proven his worth as a Division I-quality athlete.

He claims a 4.43 forty and is experienced playing man-on-man with his coverages in Snow's aggressive 4-3 defense.

"We're very aggressive and we have a great defensive line, so we're in man coverage almost all the time," he explained. "It's something that I love. We'll go cover-one a lot, but for the most part it's just me guarding my guy, which has given me a lot of good experience and confidence."

Hadley's plans are to just wait for all his offers to come in and then decide. For right now, he's extremely grateful for the two Division I offers he has in hand.

"It's great knowing that I'll get a chance to play football at the next level," he expressed. "When I first got to Snow, I really didn't know if I'd get that chance, but I kept at it and things have worked out pretty good, I think."

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