Coach DuPaix talks recruiting

BYU has received 15 commitments for the 2012 recruiting class. Some of them have gone completely under the radar in terms of national ranking and exposure, and some have shown in recent camps just how underrated they truly are. However, regardless of such things, Coach DuPaix and the rest of the staff are working tirelessly to bring in the best recruits who are more than just football players.

There are a lot of very good football players out there that are definitely worthy of a football scholarship based on their play alone, but in order to receive a Cougar scholarship offer, the recruiting process is far more extensive than that.

"Once we've identified a Division I football player, and we've talked to the coach, get the transcripts evaluated, and think he's a really good player, but he's got some academic issues, then we talk to the coach and he has the kid call us," said Coach DuPaix. "Once we talk to the young man we say, 'Hey, we like you but you have to change this for us to really like you.' Then they obviously say, 'Hey, I want to be a part of BYU,' and they'll make the efforts to make those changes. It's done all the time."

That means the recruiting pool is not only very shallow, but also allows also colleges more time – due to not having to evaluate in other areas that don't pertain to football – to better establish relationships with the recruits. However, when a recruit is educated on and fully understands that a scholarship from BYU is a scholarship for more than just football, the balance becomes more stable.

"When a young man sees that his options might be BYU, or whatever else the school is, they're very distinct and very different," DuPaix said. "There are things that BYU offers that other colleges don't offer, and if you want that, where are you going to go? You're going to go to BYU, and the ones that self-select to go somewhere else, that's okay. We only have so many spots every year to bring kids in anyhow, so we need to make sure to bring in the right kids that want to be here and have a desire to be great here at BYU."

Meanwhile, BYU seems to be recruiting more and more against colleges with unique or specialized identities of their own, such as Stanford, Notre Dame or the service academies.

"I don't know how Notre Dame goes about their whole recruiting process and don't know the exact details of what they do," said DuPaix. "I know that if a young man truly wants to be surrounded by other football players have a high standard and want to be around other great football players that try and live a high standard and have high academics, we'll get them."

When Coach DuPaix first came to BYU, he took over as BYU's recruiting coordinator. He didn't change much in terms of how the recruiting coordinating process works.

"No, there's not a lot of there that I had to change," DuPaix said. "I mean, to be quite honest with you, whenever you come together as a new staff there's new ideas, new energy and just the camaraderie in and of itself. When you take Coach Mendenhall – and you guys all know him really well and he's one smart dude, and he knows what he's doing – he has certain procedures and protocols in place, and so there are some things that we've tweaked and altered a little bit.

"But the overall consensus was that, 'Hey, let's go full speed ahead and find the finest football players in America that we want that can live the BYU standards, that have great academics, and get them here. That's our effort and we have a great staff and our guys are working tirelessly all year. Recruiting is a year-long thing to find those kids and get them here."

For the 2012 class, BYU has done very well in combing the country and finding those kids that fit what the coaching staff is looking for athletically, academically and in terms of character.

Just a few examples are:

Running back Jamaal Williams, who chose BYU over SDSU, Boise State and Utah.

Butch Pau'u, who chose BYU over Colorado, Iowa State, Nebraska, Oregon State and Washington.

Offensive tackle Austin Hoyt, who chose BYU over Air Force and Utah.

Quarterback Tanner Mangum, who chose BYU over Arkansas, Boise State, Oregon State and Utah.

"By the time Coach Mendenhall gets them – you know, one of our football players – he wants that kid to have been turned upside down and shaken out and have all the things fall out before he even gets to him," Coach DuPaix said. "So, he can actually talk to him about what really matters in the process of recruiting and what BYU's vision really is.

"There is a lot of legwork that goes in before that point, and so it's kind of a yearly grind and really almost every day. Sometimes my wife gives me that look like, 'Who are you recruiting again and who are you talking now?' or, 'Stop checking your emails.'"

For the 2013 recruiting class, BYU's coaching staff is already way ahead of the curve, having received outstanding commits from prospects projected to be some of the best at their positions, and some of the best in academic and moral standards.

They include commits from:

Safety Dallin Leavitt, who is an aggressive ball hawk, quick to the ball and fast for his age. Leavitt has the ability to play both as a safety or running back. Defense is where his heart lies, and reports that Oregon, among others, was close to offering.

Linebacker Trajan Pili, who will be one of the top linebackers in the state of Nevada. If he ever decides to camp at other venues outside the All-Poly Camp, his exposure would soar.

Offensive tackle Brayden Kearsley, who is projected to be one of the top offensive linemen in the west for the 2013 class.

These are a few examples of the caliber of student athlete that live their lives in a social conservative manner.

"We watch a lot of film and it's not only during the recruiting season, it's all the time" said DuPaix. "I mean, with today's media … you guys know the drill. I'll get emails today from recruits that might be 2014 graduates. You know, they're going into their sophomore year.

"They'll be like, 'Hey, I'm a quarterback at such and such high school and I want to be a football player at BYU. Here's my bio and here's my film on Youtube.' And that's not just me, but that's all the coaches, so you're watching film all year round and that's not just me, that's all the coaches. You're evaluating throughout the year."

As BYU heads towards independence with ESPN and BYUtv as their broadcasting partners, the message of BYU will become more louder and the caliber of football more visible. One can only imagine that with BYU's new reach and exposure, coupled with BYU's unique message, Cougar coaches' email boxes will be further flooded with more emails, bios and videos of potential football prospects from all across the country even more. Needless to say, Coach DuPaix should expect many more of those looks he gets from his wife Monica for years to come.

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