Rawlinson to continue family tradition at BYU

With both his father and uncle having passed through BYU's football program, Brian Rawlinson was anxious to follow in their footsteps. After attending a summer camp at BYU, an offer from BYU didn't seem likely. But after some marked improvements made during his senior year, BYU took notice and extended him a late offer.

"I was definitely excited and really surprised when they called me just the day before Thanksgiving," said Brian Rawlinson about BYU. "I really didn't think they were interested anymore, but after sending them film throughout my senior year, they liked what they saw and a week after that, they offered me a scholarship."

Rawlinson is a 6-foot-6-inch, 280-pound offensive line recruit from Oologah High School just north of Tulsa, Oklahoma. Having camped at BYU this past summer, he captured the notice of offensive line coach Mark Weber.

"He liked me, but he told me that I had a lot of stuff I needed to work on at the time I was there working out," Rawlinson said about Weber. "I was out of shape when I was there, but I really worked hard on the stuff he told me about during the season and kept sending them tape and I guess they liked the improvements I had made."

Rawlinson's list of improvements include getting lower in his blocks, getting stronger, and getting quicker. Through a lot of focus and hard work, he improved enough in all of these areas to earn a BYU offer.

He had other schools taking notice, and had even committed to North Texas this past summer in large part because they respected his plans to serve a mission.

"Schools like UT [Texas] and OSU [Oklahoma State] were both pretty interested until I told them I was going to serve a mission," he explained. "Utah State offered a while ago and I really thought I'd go there until BYU came through with their offer."

Though Rawlinson had initially committed to North Texas, some coaching changes there left it so both parties could part amicably.

"I called coaches there and I was pretty nervous about how they'd react to me committing to BYU, but they were okay with it," he related. "A lot of it was because the coaches that recruited me in the first place aren't even there anymore. It was good that they understood."

Rawlinson's main contact at BYU has been offensive line coach Mark Weber, who he immediately took a liking to this past summer.

"He's really good at working with you and he's just a great coach," Rawlinson said. "I love BYU and the environment there, but it's also great to have a coach as good as Coach Weber there coaching you. I'm definitely excited to have the opportunity to learn more from him."

As many know, scholarship offers are tight at BYU currently, but with Rawlinson planning to leave for a mission right out of high school, he won't count against the overall scholarship total until he returns in 2013.

"I'll turn 19 in October, so I can just leave for a mission and then come back and have all my eligibility," he explained. "It worked out great and it's funny how my willingness to serve a mission actually helped me get a scholarship at BYU while it chased other schools away."

While at BYU he'll be able to continue in the tradition of the Rawlinson family.

"My father played there and so did my uncle and they both loved it," he explained. "That was a big thing for me in committing to BYU. I like continuing the tradition and I have a lot of family up there already, so it's something I've always wanted to do - attend school and play football for BYU."

A week after Rawlinson was contacted anew by Coach Weber, BYU offered him a scholarship. Rawlinson didn't have to think it over all that much before committing. With his commit, he was able to speak with Cougar head coach Bronco Mendenhall and came away very impressed.

"He was very happy with my decision, obviously, and it was a great conversation," Rawlinson said about Coach Mendenhall. "He told me of how he thought BYU would be a great opportunity for me to grow as a football player and as a person, and that's really the big reason why I committed there. I love the environment, it's an opportunity to get a great education, and it's really everything I've wanted in a school and a football program."

Rawlinson is also excited about BYU going independent. Despite not having attended any BYU home games, last year he became keenly aware of what BYU's football program is capable of after watching the Cougars at the brand new Cowboys Stadium.

"I went to the OU game last year and it was an amazing game," he said. "It was great seeing BYU beat a team like that, and with going independent they'll be able to play more games like that, which I'm very excited to be a part of. They had a tough year this year, but I'm very excited about where the program is going and I really want to be a part of that."

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