Part 1: The Bockwoldt family saga

In the winter of 1973, then head coach Lavell Edwards traveled up I-15 for an in-home visit to a top high school football recruit from northern Utah.

The player Coach Edwards was after, Rod Bockwoldt, was a highly-touted quarterback and defensive back from Layton High School. Bockwoldt was impressed with Coach Edwards and considered going to BYU, but he ultimately opted to sign with Weber State.

"Coach Edwards already had Gary Sheide at BYU so he didn't need another quarterback, but he recruited me as a DB. I really wanted to play quarterback in college, so I decided to sign with Weber," the senior Bockwoldt recalled.

"I don't regret my decision to sign with Weber. We actually played BYU my sophomore year and we played against a lot of big schools back then. The difference between Weber and the other schools in the state wasn't so big back then."

Bockwoldt made the most of his opportunity as a college quarterback. A four-year starter at Weber, he set numerous passing records in the process. After wrapping up his college career at Weber in 1977, Rod was selected in the 8th round of the NFL draft by the Los Angeles Rams, playing two seasons with the Rams and the Dallas Cowboys.

Fast forward to 1999. Twenty-six years after his first recruiting trip to the Bockwoldts, then head coach Edwards again made the trek to northern Utah and found himself sitting in Rod Bockwoldt's living room.

Having missed out on the elder Bockwoldt, Edwards was hoping to convince Rod's son, Colby, a speedy linebacker from Layton's Northridge High School, to come to Provo and play for the Cougars. Edwards successfully ended that recruiting season with a Bockwoldt in the house.

Football: A Bockwoldt family tradition

Football has always played a big role in Bockwoldt family life. Rod recalled his NFL days:

"It was really tough to make an NFL roster. When I was with the Cowboys, Roger Staubach and Danny White were the top quarterbacks. I played some quarterback, running back, defensive back and I even held on PAT's. Only three rookie free agents made the roster that year."

After wrapping up his NFL career, Rod became a football coach. A very good one. He began coaching at the junior high level and then made the move to high school in 1983 when he was hired as the head coach at Weber High. In just his third year at Weber, Bockwoldt led the Warriors to the Utah State 4A football championship.

As son Colby got older and began playing more football, his father decided to give up being a head coach so he could follow his son's career more closely. Rod Bockwoldt is now athletic director at Roy High School and also helps out as an assistant football coach for the Royals.

"Being a head coach required a lot of time and I wanted to be able to watch Colby," he said.

When asked to describe Colby's development as a football player, his father explained, "We knew the athletic ability was there. We really stressed academics more than athletics. School was always easy for Colby, but he was also very dedicated."

Indeed, Colby carried a 4.0 GPA at Northridge High.

Colby's junior year in high school was a turning point in his athletic career.

"Colby didn't have a pure running stride, so we got him in track as a junior to teach him how to run," his father said.

Colby didn't just perfect his running stride. He became so fast he earned a spot on the Northridge 4 X 100 relay team that won the 5A state championship.

"I think they ran a 42.28, which I believe was the second fastest time in the state back then. Colby ran the opening leg his junior year and was sometimes running against guys like the Fonnesbeck kid, who also plays at BYU. Most of the guys he ran against weren't very big, so Colby definitely stood out at 6' 2" and about 210 pounds," Rod added.

He said Colby consistently posted times between 10.9 and 11.0 in the 100 meters in high school.

The additional speed Colby gained from running track also led to greater success on the football field. College coaches quickly noticed and came calling.

BYU was one of a long list of college suitors that included Nebraska, Stanford, Colorado, Arizona, Oregon, California, Washington State and Utah.

The recruiting process

Recalling the recruiting process, Rod noted the coaches who recruited his son were interested in much more than just his football talent.

"All of the major programs looked at academics, test scores and character references. The BYU coaches also talked to his teachers."

Asked why Colby chose to sign with BYU, the first two words out of Rod's mouth were "Lavell Edwards."

"Lavell Edwards, the legend that he was, sitting in our living room... that made a real impression."

The fact that BYU was a nationally recognized program was also a positive factor to both Colby and his parents.

While the Bockwoldts are not LDS, they liked the unique environment BYU had to offer.

"When you send a child to college, you want them in a nice, safe environment. The fact it was close to home was also a plus," added Rod.

Both Rod and his wife, Debbie, accompanied their son on his official recruiting trip to BYU. At the end of the trip, they sat down with Coach Edwards in his office. Lavell told the Bockwoldts, "you've got a real fine boy there. He has great character and I'm going to offer him a full ride scholarship to play football at BYU." The Bockwoldts were elated.

In addition to Coach Edwards, assistant coaches Ken Schmidt and Robbie Bosco were also involved in the recruiting process with Colby. When Colby gave the BYU coaches his verbal commitment, coach Schmidt, who coached the linebackers, responded, "My recruiting is over. I got the guy I wanted."

NEXT INSTALLMENT: Colby Bockwoldt's transition to life at BYU

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