Arslanian visits BYU

Speedy Pine View High School wide receiver Jake Arslanian made an unofficial visit to BYU's campus this past weekend to learn more about what the school has to offer. He toured the campus, spoke to players and came away with a better understanding of the school.

Last weekend, wide receiver Jake Arslanian – who caught 46 passes for 869 yards and 11 touchdowns on the season – came up from Southern Utah for an unofficial visit to BYU's campus.

"So far, so great," Arslanian said. "I recently came back from an unofficial trip to BYU and that kind of helped me get an idea of what I can expect if I make that decision. It was definitely a good week."

The day before BYU's game against New Mexico State, he and his father attended the Cougar fireside.

"Well, I went with my dad and we ended up getting there in time for the fireside and got a chance to hear some of the players talk," he said. "That was something I was interested in hearing."

The following day, Arslanian got to visit the school.

"The next day we went and walked around BYU's campus and took a campus tour," he said.. "I was able to see and learn a little more about the campus."

Following his tour of BYU's campus, Arslanian took in some of the game day festivities surrounding LaVell Edwards Stadium.

"I went to some of the tailgating parties that were going on," Arslanian said. "That was kind of neat and it was really a good time because after that I got to get on the field for a little bit. After that I watched a really good game."

So what was the highlight of his visit?

"Honestly, it would go first the fireside," Arslanian said. "I really enjoyed being around that and seeing some of the players talk. After that I would have to say being able to go on the field where some of the coaches approached me. It wasn't one of those things like, ‘Hey coach, do you remember me? I came to your camp and my name is Jake Arslanian.' They approached me and it was more like, ‘Hey Jake! How are you doing?' That definitely makes me feel pretty good."

The experienced helped open Arslanian's eyes to what BYU is about and how he would fit in if he decided to attend the university.

"It helped me to understand more about BYU," he said. "The appeal there, that there isn't at any other school, is that from a spiritual sense no other schools have as much to offer. I was able to witness things that happen during every game day. At the fireside, that was something I would be looking forward to every week if that was my decision, and that is just one of those little things that to me speaks volumes about the community and environment that I would be in. It's a great feeling."

If Arslanian were to choose to attend BYU, Ben Cahoon would be his position coach. Arslanian had the opportunity to talk with Coach Cahoon during his visit.

"I had been in contact with Coach Cahoon, BYU's wide receivers coach, and he asked me if there were any players I wanted to talk to when I came up here," said Arslanian. "He said he would get some of the wide outs so I could talk to them. He was rattling off some of the names of the big playmakers."

Arslanian could have had the chance to talk with Ross Apo or Cody Hoffman if he had chosen. However, that wasn't the case.

"I was thinking, and I didn't tell him, as much as I want to talk to those guys and it would be a real neat experience, I wanted to talk to James Lark," Arslanian said. "I want to talk to the third-string quarterback from Pine View High School. We played for the same coach, same environment, same background and we're pretty similar in some aspects. I think he's going to help me a lot whether it be, ‘Yes, that's where I'm going to be' or ‘Maybe I should take a step back and reevaluate it.' He was the one player that I truly wanted to talk to the most.

"The neat thing is, as James Lark walks by, Coach Cahoon says, ‘Oh James, come here. I want you to meet somebody. This is Jake Arslanian.' He was like, ‘Hey, you're pretty big.' I was like, ‘How do you know my name?' and James Lark said, ‘I watched you play every week.' He was kind enough to give me his phone number and tell me that if I had any questions to not be afraid to call him. Then he kind of joked with Coach Cahoon and said, ‘I'll tell you how it is, you know.' I just found it kind of neat that the one person I truly wanted to talk to will point me in the right direction."

So has BYU's third-string quarterback had anything positive to say about his Cougar experience?

"At this point he has," Arslanian said. "I haven't been able to talk to him a whole lot. Obviously he's been pretty busy but he told me some things about the school, and he's helped me paint the picture outside of what the recruits see and that's a good thing. I do believe BYU is what it appears to be but I just wanted to get that different perspective and I think he's helped me achieve that. He's helped me a lot."

His discussions with Lark, coupled with his experience during his unofficial visit to BYU, set a standard for how he will go forward with evaluating other college options

"Like I told you in the past, my decision isn't based on the prestige of the athletic part of the school. I'm not strictly going based on athletics, even though BYU has some great history and that certainly helps.

"This is something that I expect I'll be doing over the next four-to-six years. I have no idea what will happen after that, but more importantly I want to get a quality education, and more than that, I want to be a better person. BYU isn't the only school, but it's the school I truly believe can get me to the point where I want to be."

While Arslanian has a scholarship offer from BYU in hand, he is also waiting to hear from Stanford.

"They got me an early application," he said. "It was actually from their track program that has been doing most of the pushing. It's kind of interesting that I'm not just getting recruited by one sport but two, but for the most part Stanford's track program has been the one pushing to me the early application.

"So, I got that and filled it out in late October and got that sent in. As of now we're just waiting back on them to hear if I've been accepted or not. If I am accepted, then I have a pretty big decision to make. If not, then I'm pretty sure that's the answer I've been looking for."

The question now is when he will know whether he's been accepted.

"They told me that by the end of the month I should expect it," said Arslanian.

If he goes to Stanford he would more than likely run track, while at BYU he would play football. Stanford had renowned academics, while BYU provides a unique spiritual environment. It's a tough decision for Arslanian, who is taking the approach very prayerfully.

"I love both sports, and knowing that I can either go to Stanford or BYU, I can't go wrong," Arslanian said. "At the same time I can't imagine my life without one or the other. My relationship with track has developed and there is a lot of background with that. If that's what it's supposed to be, then that's what I'll do. If not, then I'll do the other.

"It's probably one of the best, hardest and most difficult decisions that I'm ever going to make, at least at this point in my life. It's one of those things where, yeah, it can be stressful, but it's a good problem to have."

Arslanian said he feels he should have a better understanding of what he will choose to do in about a month or so.

Pine View side note

Another BYU recruit from Pine View High School – who is considered one of the top deep snappers in the country – Kolton Donovan suffered a broken leg during the beginning of the season. However, he has since recovered and is also waiting to see if he qualifies for Stanford, which recently entered the recruiting picture.

Donovan has an offer from BYU, but that offer won't take effect until after he returns home from serving a two-year LDS mission.

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