Top deep snapper commits to BYU

It's not very often that deep snappers are given a scholarship. Generally, college coaches develop players into deep snappers rather than give a coveted scholarship to someone specializing as a deep snapper. However, Pine View High School deep snapping extraordinaire Kolton Donovan is an exception.

BYU coaches have received a verbal commit from St. George, Utah's Kolton Donovan, who is considered one of the nation's top specialists at his position.

"I play long snapper at this point," said the Pine View High School athlete. "A few years I played some offensive and defensive line, but my high school coach just wants me to play deep snapper at this point to prevent any injury.

"I'm just humbled by the offer from BYU. I love to have the opportunity to play football for BYU. It's always been my dream, but it's really rare for a long snapper to get a scholarship offer by a big-time program like BYU. I'm just humbled by it."

Simplifying why BYU would extend a full-ride scholarship to a deep snapper, Donovan credits his success and ability to nothing more than hard work and effort.

"I just worked hard and would go to these camps and play to the best of my ability and performed well," he said. "I worked hard in the weight room and would spend three to four hours every day just working out, whether it was weight lifting or long snapping, to be the best I can be. There's really not that much special about me other than the fact that I've worked hard."

Fused with humility and hard work, the results have made Donovan one of the nation's top deep snappers. His character and abilities as a deep snapper are rare enough to warrant such an offer.

"I've liked BYU and have been recruited by them ever since my sophomore year of high school," said Donovan. "They said I was the type of kid that they want in their program. They said they liked my attitude and character and that I was the right fit for their program. I'm not the kind of kid that's going to cause problems, but will bring the type of characteristics they're looking for to their program.

"They also said they liked my abilities as a long snapper. The only thing that will keep anyone away from being a great deep snapper is a lack of hard work at it. The reason some are considered the best deep snappers in the country is because of their willingness to work at it. I have several friends around the country that are deep snappers, and they're going to be at some big programs as well, but it was because of their hard work.

"To be a great deep snapper, you have to always be prepared to get it exactly right no matter what situation you're in. You have to be prepared and be able to get it right no matter how much pressure there is. Speed and accuracy has a lot to do with long snapping, and if you can't get it there, you're definitely not going to end up going to these types of programs.

"Speed-wise, you can be as fast as freakin' heck, but if you can't get the ball to the right spot, it doesn't make any difference without the accuracy. Teams will take accuracy over speed any day, but I have the nice combination of both, which allows me to be where I am today."

Donovan's father Kevin may be a BYU fan now, but that wasn't always the case.

"I was born and raised Catholic," said Kevin with a chuckle in his voice. "I joined the Church when I was 20, and, admittedly so, my wife Louise had something to do with that. I laughed and told Coach Tidwell this last week that I sat at the north end of the end zone in tears when BYU beat Notre Dame when Brady Quinn was a [sophomore].

"I have actually been converted to BYU football, and it's not just the football part that I've been converted to. It's the coaching staff. They are an amazing group of coaches that really love and care for the kids.

"You know, we've been to other schools. We've been to the Notre Dames and the Alabamas, and there's nothing wrong with them because they're great schools and programs, but BYU is definitely a unique place. I'm proud of my son and where he is."

Speaking of Notre Dame and deep snappers, the Irish secured the services of one of Donovan's close friends.

"You know, it's funny because [Notre Dame] actually signed a kid that's close friends with Kolton a couple months ago," said Kevin. "Kolton actually competed again him a couple of times, and his name is Scott Daly."

In possession of a fast, accurate snap with a tight spiral worthy of a scholarship, Kolton Donovan can also place some of his success right at the feet of his mother Elise.

"You know, people have no idea how much hard work these kids put into developing their talents," said Kevin. "I can't tell you how many times my wife would put on a pair of gloves to catch Kolton's long snaps, because they come so fast and I couldn't be there. His mother is as much a part of where he's at as anybody. When I couldn't be there, she would go out and catch around 115-to-150 snaps a day with him. He would do around 50 short snaps, PATs, field goals, and then the rest [were] long snaps."

As a deep snapper, Donovan was ranked number one and took first place last year in the 2010 Scholarship Camp for the class of 2012. He also took first place in the Western Showcase Camp in Anaheim in May of 2010, and finished first as the top performer in the 2011 Western Showcase Event last May. On top of all that, he's currently ranked second among the nation's deep snappers.

Donovan has become so effective at deep snapping thanks in large part to attending Kohl's Professional Camps, which focus on kicking, punting and snapping.

"Their head instructor is Jamie Kohl and their snapping coach is Kevin Garviolle, and I love them a lot and they've really helped me along," said Donovan. "They've really helped me through the process."

Also helping to refine Donovan's unique abilities has been Arizona elite long snapping coach and guru Ben Bernard.

"That's all he does, and he just does it for the high school players," said Donovan. "He sent several guys from high school to college, and then to the NFL. He's got six or seven guys in the NFL right now. He's my coach at this point, but at the camps it was Jamie Kohl and Kevin Garviolle. Those guys told me that I was one of the best in the country, but like I said, I'm humble about these kinds of things."

Following a two-year LDS mission and playing college football at BYU, Donovan's next goal will be to make it as an NFL starter.

"At this point I want to represent my family, my friends, my high school, my faith and BYU at the NFL level," he said.

At about 6 feet 4 inches and 250 pounds, Donovan also has the size to play defensive end.

"Oh yeah, I can play defensive end if asked to play on the d-line," said Donovan. "I think I can play on the d-line and other spots, but I think they just want me at long snapper. Later on that could change and I could end up playing at some other spot as well. If they ask me to do that, I'll do whatever they ask me."

As mentioned, Donovan plans on taking a two-year break from football in order to serve a mission.

"The other reason why I chose BYU is the mission opportunity," said Donovan. "When they offered me, they said they don't want me coming in until 2014 or 2015, and then the scholarship will be available for me. What's going to happen is I'm going to leave on my mission when I'm around 18-and-a-half or 19 years old.

"I'm 17 years old right now and I'm going into my senior year. I plan on graduating early, and then right after that I plan on leaving early on my mission. Then I'll come back and play football at BYU."

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