Spurned by Utah, Dudzinski plans to walk on at BYU

Former Utah All-State offensive lineman <b>Mike Dudzinski</b> returned home last week from an LDS mission to find a Utah football scholarship promised and reconfirmed just months ago was pulled by new Utah head coach Urban Meyer. He now plans to walk on at BYU.

Dudzinski was recruited by BYU, Utah, Weber State, Utah State and Texas Tech out of high school.

He took official visits to Utah, BYU and turned down an offer to visit Texas Tech, where offensive line coach Robert Anae made a concerted push for him.

Dudzinski grew up a Utah fan and although his trip to BYU went well, then-BYU coach LaVell Edwards told him to "follow his heart." He committed and signed an LOI with Utah.

An imposing figure at 6' 7", 300 pounds, Dudzinski was a first Team All-State and All region selection at West Jordan High School. He redshirted in 2000 and left for his mission in March of 2001 with a promise of a scholarship when he returned.

Shortly after Meyer was hired at Utah, Rosemarie and Jim Dudzinski were contacted by Utah defensive coordinator Kyle Whittingham to make sure their son was still planning to attend the University. Whittingham told them his scholarship would be awaiting his return.

However, when they began processing his pre-enrollment paperwork to ensure Dudzinski could begin classes immediately upon his return, the NCAA red-flagged his application and said he was not eligible to play this year.

According to the NCAA, there was an apparent grade discrepancy with one of Dudzinski's 9th grade Math classes . Ironically, BYU experienced a similar situation with one of its own offensive lineman Scott Young, except that Young's case involved a 9th grade English class. Young's case was reversed on appeal in BYU's favor.

When Dudzinski returned last week from his mission, he spokes with the Utah head coach who shocked him with news his scholarship was no longer available.

Dudzinski's mother said Meyer said with the changes to the Ute's offense, Mike was no longer in Utah's plans, contrary to what they were told several months ago by Whittingham, and his scholarship was no longer available.

Furious and fuming, Mike and his parents immediately contacted BYU recruiting coordinator Mike Empey to inquire if there would be a spot available for him if he chose to walk on this fall at BYU.

They met with BYU's compliance officer, Jim Kimmel, and reviewed the NCAA opinion. Kimmel told them Mike Dudzinski had a legitimate case for an appeal.

The family has since contacted Holme Roberts & Owen, the same law firm who handled Scott Young's NCAA appeal, who confirmed they would represent Dudzinski if he pursues the appeal. If successful, Dudzinski said he plans to walk on for the Cougars this fall. If the appeal fails, he said he will likely go to Dixie JC and transfer to BYU following his graduation.

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