Sawyer Powell commits to BYU

Washington linebacker Sawyer Powell recorded one of the top SPARQ ratings (124.44) in the nation at the Oregon Nike Training Football Camp last June. Oregon State then offered the LDS prospect, while BYU coaches fought hard to find an available scholarship to give him. Feeling his Cougar dream was once crushed, Powell recently received news from Coach Mendenhall that his dream was just starting.

It's an interesting story. The top SPARQ linebacker in the nation wanted to come to BYU, and did all that he could to try and secure a coveted scholarship offer, but BYU just didn't have one to give. With an Oregon State offer, it appeared Sawyer Powell was destined for the Pac-12.

"I came down for a family reunion and my dad was talking to me about how I could go down and watch one of BYU's practices," Powell said. "So I called up Coach Poppinga [and asked] when I could come and he told me to come on Wednesday and I could come and participate in the meetings too. So I came with my uncle Steve, because my dad had to go home early."

During his visit, Powell was singled out by Coach Mendenhall.

"When we were in the meeting with the coaches and all the players, and I was sitting in the back with all the coaches, Coach Mendenhall is telling the team how the day's going to go," said Powell. "At the end of the meeting he says, 'We have a special guest with us here today and his name is Sawyer Powell. Sawyer, please stand up.'

"I stand up and he says, 'Sawyer Powell is a recruit that we're looking at and he's a really great kid. He's someone that's been offered by Oregon State, and, having played at Oregon State, I would have to say that playing at BYU is better.' I was kind of moved there.

"All the coaches introduced themselves to me, and all these players – and I already knew who they were – were introducing themselves to me. They were all telling me how excited they were that I was there and that they wanted me to come play at BYU."

Following the team meeting, Coach Mendenhall called Powell into his office for a personal discussion.

"He called me into his office and he gave me a personal interview, you know?'" Powell said. "It was like a temple worthiness interview that covered spiritual worthiness and would I be dedicated to the program and things like that. He covered the five points of becoming a Cougar.

"Then he explained about how by coming to BYU, it's like serving a mission because you have to represent a higher standard [and] higher principles. It's always church first and it was really cool to talk to Coach Mendenhall."

Then Coach Mendenhall sprung a big surprise on Powell.

"They told me that they were all out of scholarships for this year, but he told me that he was going to make me a different kind of deal," said an excited Powell. "He said that I would have to pay for my first semester of school next fall, and then go on a mission [Powell doesn't turn 19 until December of 2012] and then I'll have a full-ride BYU scholarship when I return home."

Powell stood in Coach Mendenhall's complete surprised.

"I had no clue that Coach Mendenhall was going to offer me," said an excited Powell. "When he said that to me, I was ecstatic! I just kind of gave my uncle that look. You know, that 'I can't believe what I'm hearing' look. My uncle kind of gave me that same surprised look at me too."

Excited by what he just heard concerning his nephew, Sawyer's uncle needed to make sure it was true.

"My uncle Steve wanted to clarify that," said Powell with a laugh in his voice. "Coach Mendenhall then reassured him that what he said is what he meant, and that he will put that in writing and send it to me if I wanted."

An excited Powell drove home with a promise of a full-ride scholarship from Coach Mendenhall. Mendenhall told Powell to go home and discuss it with his family first and then get back to him. On Saturday, Powell reached Coach Mendenhall with the news that he was going to commit. Afterwards, he called the Oregon State coaches to let them know he would be a Cougar.

"I got a hold of Coach Mendenhall and spoke to him and let him know that I was committing to him," Powell said. "I'm really excited to be a Cougar and do my best to help the team out. I want to do everything I can to help this program win a national championship. I couldn't be more excited that I'm going to be playing football at BYU. It's always been my dream to be a Cougar."

At 6 feet 1 inch and 205 pounds, Powell could play linebacker. However, the thought of playing safety is something he's thought a lot about too.

"They haven't mentioned to me about what position I would play," Powell said. "I could stay at linebacker, but I've always thought that playing safety would be an awesome position to play. Being able to get a running start at the running backs and wide receivers for the big hit would be awesome from the safety position."

As a high school linebacker, Powell is explosive, fast, athletic and has a very high vertical jump. In fact, he currently has the top SPARQ rating in the nation for linebackers and is seventh in the nation overall.

"I ran a 4.57 forty and ran a 4.02 in the shuttle. In the power ball throw I think I had 38 – I can't quite remember – and jumped a 43.2 for my vertical. I'm still working on that one, but in the end it all evened out to around 124.44 for my SPARQ rating, which is number one in the nation overall for linebackers."

Congratulations to Sawyer Powell on receiving his coveted scholarship offer form BYU.

"I'm so excited and can't wait to be playing for Bronco," Powell said. "I know he's going to help make me the best I can be in football and as a person. He's such a great coach and role model and I can't wait to play for him at BYU."

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