BYU tops list for all-state defender

It's unfortunate that there are only a limited amount of scholarships that can be given out each and every recruiting class, as many recruits are worthy of one. The scholarship crunch is even more of an issue at BYU when the missionary element is factored in, forcing some highly qualified prospects with no choice but to be a walk-on.

And that's exactly what has happened with Alta High School recruit Ryan Jensen. Jensen's athleticism and accomplishments probably place him in the category of someone worthy of a scholarship, but he will more than likely end up walking-on at BYU for the class of 2013.

"Well, I play defensive end up here at Alta," Jensen said. "I played a little more like on the outside in a two-point and a three-point stance, kind of more of a speed rush end.

"Coach Doman is my recruiter and he's going to be at Alta [Tuesday]. I should find out a little more, but basically I was told that BYU is out of scholarships, but they have a spot for me on the team. They want me to walk-on and that's basically where I'm at with them. Coach Doman has told me he likes where I'm at and they want me to walk-on. He's a stud and a great guy."

At 6 feet 4 inches and 220 pounds, Jensen has the frame to add weight and more than likely will play the Will linebacker position if he decides to go to BYU. He said he's hoping to get a little bigger.

Jensen also said he's fine with playing linebacker.

"I really like that idea because I think it would fit me much better than playing at the d-end position," Jensen said. "I think the outside linebacker position fits me much better because then I'll be able to use more of my natural abilities."

Football wasn't the only sport that he competed in at Alta.

"I also ran track and so that's why I feel that playing the Will linebacker will fit me better," Jensen said. "I think I have the speed to play the position because I run track here at Alta also. I run the 110 hurdles and the 300 hurdles. I got fifth in state last year but I was the only junior that placed among the seniors. It's looking pretty promising this year to possibly take state in the 110 hurdles."

Jensen claims a rather impressive forty and shuttle time.

"My forty time is a 4.6 flat," Jensen said. "Then my shuttle time is a 4.1 flat. I've got some good speed so hopefully I can use that to my advantage at the next level."

Growing up in Utah, Jensen has always cheered for the Cougars of BYU.

"Playing at BYU has always been a dream of mine," he said. "I would be willing to walk-on and try and earn a scholarship if that's what it takes. I've always been a BYU fan, always."

Jensen has also visited BYU multiple times.

"I've been to their camp and I've been to their Junior Day, and so I've talked to a lot of the BYU coaches," he said. "Coach Doman said that I can go up and meet all the coaches pretty soon."

Playing out of position as a defensive end, Jensen's performance in the trenches is very noteworthy. His stats actually reflect those of a linebacker more than those of a defensive end in the trenches.

"I had 98 tackles and seven sacks on the season," Jensen said. "I also had one interception as well."

For his on-field performance as a football player, Jensen was named a Utah 5A first-team all-state selection as one of the top defenders in the state.

"I was also named for my region as a defensive MVP, and I was also selected as a team captain and team defensive MVP. We play in the top division, so it's a pretty big accomplishment and I was happy to get that."

And the honors don't stop there. Jensen was recently nominated for the Utah High School Hall of Fame, which takes in account academics, athletics and extracurricular activities. He hasn't found out yet whether he will be accepted, but he has an impressive list of accomplishments in those three key areas.

"I have pretty good grades and have a 3.9 GPA, so academically I've done really well in high school.

"Then in football I did really well this past season by being named a first-team all-state performer.

"I also did really well with extracurricular activities. I've led a lot of community service groups and I'm an Eagle Scout. They basically want the well-rounded players. It's based on 40 percent football, 40 percent academic and 20 percent extracurricular activities."

One might think that with all the accomplishments Jensen has achieved, college recruiters would be knocking down his door for his services.

"I haven't had as many colleges come looking at me as I had expected," Jensen said. "I've been offered scholarships by Dixie and SUU. I had been talking to the U of U a little bit, but that's about it."

Although Jensen has a few offers from smaller in-state schools, he is looking to go elsewhere.

"Yeah, I don't think I'm going to take those offers," he said. "I want to go to college for academic reasons, and I want to get a good education as well as play football. I would like to go to a bigger school where I can get a bigger degree like at BYU or another Division I school that has a good academic program. I just think it would be a better fit for me to walk-on at BYU.

"I'm pretty sure that's what I want to do. Maybe if I get a better offer like a scholarship up at Utah or Utah State, then I would probably take that. Right now it's looking a lot like walking-on at BYU."

Jensen said he isn't totally positive about what he wants to study in college.

"I'm kind of thinking right now along the lines of business. I know BYU has a great business school."

Jensen is going to apply for some scholarships in order to help ease the financial burden while he tries to earn a full-ride scholarship as a walk-on.

"I've done a little bit of looking into the situation," Jensen said. "I'm going to apply for a leadership scholarship because I was a team captain. There are a couple of academic scholarships out there that I need to start applying for. BYU has great academics and they have a great team as well. I definitely like what BYU stands for and what the football team represents."

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