Remember how Dennis Pitta came to BYU? Now, there's a better question.
The short answer is that Pitta walked on to BYU before receiving a scholarship after his mission. He was discovered by BYU coaches late in the process, but they got him to BYU regardless. The rest, as they say, is history.
Pitta was very slight of stature at the time he was being pursued as a walk-on, with coaches considering him to be sort of a tight end/wide receiver hybrid. He obviously bulked up quite a bit and ended his career at BYU as one of the best tight ends ever to pass through the program.
Enter Ygnacio High School's Grant Jones. He's 6 feet 5 inches and 200 pounds currently, and really turned the coaches' heads at summer camps last season.
"I just went to BYU's camp looking to improve my game, but coaches became very interested in me," he said. "They kept in touch with me after that, and gave me a preferred walk-on spot, which I'm excited about."
Jones was a four-year starter at Ygnacio and caught 36 passes last season, with an average of 19 yards per reception. He also accounted for 11 touchdowns. He graduated with a 3.77 GPA, and had been receiving interest from Stanford and Dartmouth.
So what does Jones do that makes him such an intriguing option as a preferred walk-on?
"I just know how to go up and get the ball," he said. "I use my size well, and coaches like that about me."
A quick view of his film shows someone who moves extremely well for someone of his size. Oh yeah, he can also jump through the roof.
While I was given to liken him to tall BYU wideouts such as Cody Hoffman, coaches are looking at him as a Marcus Mathews type of player.
"They want me to play tight end," said Jones. "I like that a lot, and they let me know all about Dennis Pitta and how he got started, and that really got me excited. I've always wanted to go to BYU. My dad went here and a lot of my other family, so now to get to play football, it's something I've always wanted."
Jones plans to play one year, and then leave for his planned mission. Again, much like Dennis Pitta did.
Pitta was able to make a strong impact as a freshman at BYU, leading to coaches granting him a scholarship upon his return. Jones hopes to do the same.
"I don't know if I'll be the next Dennis Pitta or not, but I'm going to try," he said. "I plan on going in for my one year before my mission and working as hard as possible to prove my worth to coaches. I know that BYU is a great place to walk on, so I'm very excited about that."
During the camp last year and since then, Jones has become very fond of the Cougar coaching staff.
"They're great with how they talk to you, and how they care about you as a person," he said. "I really liked getting to know them at camp, and I've liked it a lot getting to know them since then. I'm in a great situation for sure."
It's well known how well BYU treats its walk-ons, but Jones wasn't very familiar with that when he was first being contacted by coaches.
"When they talked about all the great players, not just Dennis Pitta, but others that were walk-ons, that really got me excited about my opportunities," he said. "I know that if I do well, then I'll be rewarded for it. I don't know how that compares to other schools, and how they treat their walk-ons, but I definitely know that's the case at BYU."