King receives BYU offer

During this past weekend, recruits from all across the country flew out for an official visit to BYU. One was Christian Valley High School (San Jose, CA) prospect Theodore King, who received an eye-opening and educational experience while touring and visiting the Provo campus. And before he left, he received something he never expected: a full-ride BYU scholarship from Coach Mendenhall.

The coaches of BYU found out about Theodore King by random chance.

"My father has a co-worker who was being baptized as a Mormon," said King, "and so he and his family were going to be baptized and asked us if we would like to come to the ceremony.

"Well, someone else ... that was affiliated with the Church somehow saw me and got my information and passed it along to BYU. That's when BYU started contacting me, so that's kind of how it all began."

Attending the baptismal ceremony was a new experience for the 6-foot-3-inch, 235-pound King.

"It was really good and it was a really big eye-opener for me because that was the first time I was introduced to Mormonism, I believe it's called," said King. "It was good and [our] family's friends are part of the Church now, so it was very good and everything is going better with their lives."

As for football, King plays on both sides of the ball for his high school.

"The positions I play for my school at Valley Christian are left tackle on offense, and on defense I play left tackle and defensive end," he said. "We don't have that many big players at my school, so that's why I'm playing o-line. At the next level, I'm looking to play defensive tackle or d-end. Personally, I'm hoping to play d-end because I've been working on my pass rush, so if they need a pass rush specialist or some guy to get in there and create some havoc, I'm that guy."

It wasn't long after the baptism that King began being recruited by Coach Howell, and after all the evaluation and film study by the Cougar coaching staff, King was invited out to attend the official recruiting trip this past weekend.

"It was different for me at first," King said. "I had been out to Utah over the summer for my first visit. This time when I went down there I saw all the snow. That was a bit different than in California, so if I went down there I would have to get used to that, but, yeah, it's so beautiful up there in Utah. The school is beautiful and all the facilities are up to date and top of the line. The school is just overall great and BYU is a top-of-the-line school."

King was picked up Friday morning by Coach Howell at the airport, and has developed a great relationship with the Cougar assistant coach.

"Coach Nick Howell is the one that is recruiting me," King said. "He's a cool guy and a Mormon. Not all coaches are Mormon down there but I know he is. He tells it like it is, which I like. He doesn't lie to you or try and sugarcoat things. I know some coaches lie or tell you things that you want to hear. BYU is a little different and they don't put up a front, so they tell you how it is so when you go there you don't know anything different and know what to expect."

King and the other recruits got to participate in an indoor surfing activity at the Provo Beach Resort.

"Yeah, I never thought I would go surfing in Utah," said King with a laugh. "That was a lot of fun, but we did that, and it was kind of hard at first but we got the hang of it. I believe they even videotaped it, so hopefully I can find that and put it up on my Facebook page."

So how did King, who is from San Jose, do on a surfboard?

"I did pretty good and looked like a natural surfer," King claimed. "I looked like I was from California even though I had never been surfing."

What surprised King was when he saw BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall jump in and show the recruits how to ride a wave.

"Yeah, he jumped in with his son … and it was pretty funny actually," said King. "His son was a little bit afraid at first but we taught him how to do it. Then Coach Mendenhall jumped in there and was doing it like a pro. He was really good and we all had a really good laugh. I heard he's a top-of-the-line fisherman and a surfer, so he likes the water."

Hosting King was tight end Austin Holt, and King said he is "such a great guy."

"He gave me all this good information about BYU and told me not to worry about what I hear about the honor code. He told me that if I'm doing what is right I'll never even hear about the honor code. It basically comes down to living by the standards, and if you do that then you'll never have any issues."

King was able to learn firsthand what it's like to be around BYU's environment.

"I think the media and everyone probably changes the perception of the school a little bit because of the honor code," King said. "When you go there and see things for yourself you find out that there is much more to it than just an honor code. They have a lot of great guys there and some great football players. I really like the environment there and if you do what is right and what's expected of you, then you'll be fine."

King got along great with the various people he met during his trip.

"One of the highlights for me was just being around all the players and doing all the activities during the day," King said. "It was just a lot of fun being around all these great guys. We had this huge dinner, and then after the dinner all the recruits and the original players on the team hung out. I think that for me was one of the highlights for me because that's when I saw all the good side of BYU.

"Sure they all talked about the honor code, but what was cool was how all of us had so much fun without partying, drinking and smoking and stuff we're not supposed to be doing. I think that's what intrigued me the most. The guys at BYU are having fun but they're doing it the right way, and that's what I learned."

While gaining a firsthand experience of the environment of BYU and what it truly is like there might have been one of the better moments for King, it wasn't the best moment. The top highlight for him was towards the end of the trip.

"It was on the last day when we had that giant dinner at this really nice steak restaurant," King said. "It was a place called Ruby River where they have their team meals at. We went there and got to see what it was like before a game. I was with my mother and that's when we got pulled aside by Coach Mendenhall in the dinner area. It was funny because I had a piece of steak in my mouth when I got pulled aside. He gave me this paper saying that I was offered and kind of broke it down for me. He told me why they offered me and what they liked about me.

"That was the best part about my recruiting trip right there! To be offered by a major university like BYU has to be the highlight of my trip. I didn't want to show off all the excitement too much while we were there, but inside I was jumping all around."

Not only was King excited about his offer, but his mother was as well.

"My mother was really excited too and at first was kind of like me," recalled King. "She really likes the school but at first she thought everyone was going to be like robots, but after her experience there where she did most of the activities with mej, she really liked it a lot too. She got to see all of us doing the indoor surfing and stuff, and me hanging out with all the players and stuff like that. She also saw a PowerPoint presentation about how BYU is compared to all the other universities both on and off the field."

King is now thinking over his BYU scholarship offer.

"Coach Mendenhall told me something that stood out to me," recalled King. "He said, ‘Just because I'm offering you here and now didn't mean you had to commit to me here and now.' I kind of thought they might offer me once I got there but I wasn't sure.

"My plan was to kind of wait ‘til maybe February 1st on signing day to make my final decision, so I'm going to wait to see what other schools might offer me. Coach Mendenhall even told me that other schools might offer me now that BYU has offered me, so he wanted me to make sure that this is where I wanted to be before I made a final decision."

As for right now, King is seriously considering BYU.

"It's looking like BYU is probably where I'll end up going to," King said. "That is unless some giant school pops in from out of nowhere. I might consider it, but right now I'm thinking BYU. I'm thinking I'll probably make the final decision on signing day on February 1st. That experience when I got that offer by BYU topped all my Christmas presents."

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