Engstrom makes final decision

Last weekend, Utah first-team all-state running back Bryan Engstrom traveled down to Southern Utah University on an official visit. It was a trip that determined whether he would become an SUU Thunderbird or a BYU Cougar.

The plan for Bryan Engstrom was to go see what Southern Utah University had to offer, and then weigh that option against a preferred walk-on offer by BYU.

"I went down there and wanted to go for a visit, and when I was there they gave me a partial scholarship," Engstrom said. "I decided to turn it down and walk-on at BYU. I'm really excited"

Engstrom plans to enroll at BYU over the summer and be a part of Coach Mendenhall's new Summer Bridge program, which helps new football players adjust to college life.

He will spend one year in the football program, and then serve a mission.

The night before he decided to accept BYU's walk-on offer, Engstrom spoke to the coaching staff.

"I wanted to make sure they were going to have a spot for me, so I spoke to Coach Doman a lot before that night."

Engstrom had a limited amount of time to mull over his decision.

"After SUU offered me, they wanted me to make a decision right then and there. I asked them for a little bit more time, and they told me that they had to have my answer before the next day, which was signing day. I had to make a quick decision so I called Coach Doman. They said they would have a spot for me, so that's why I decided to not go to SUU and go to BYU."

Now that the decision is behind him, Engstrom is looking forward to the future.

"I'm excited, so excited to be going to BYU," Engstrom said. "The reason why I'm excited is because BYU is more than just football and I'll be able to be a part of what BYU has to offer."

In Engstrom's mind, he's sacrificing a little to gain a lot.

"I felt like earning a full-ride scholarship at BYU – and I had a really good time down at SUU and I love Coach Ena; he's one of the coaches down at SUU that I felt like I could really talk to – was a much better opportunity for me than a partial scholarship to SUU.

"Trying to earn a full-ride scholarship at BYU, without having a full-ride scholarship, was the same to me as trying to earn a full-ride scholarship to SUU without having a full-ride scholarship. I felt it was best for me to go to BYU even though SUU gave me a little more at first.

"One thing I appreciated about BYU is, as a walk-on, they recruited me as though I wasn't one. They sent me handwritten letters my way more than anyone else did, talked to me more and recruited me as though I wasn't a walk-on athlete."

A powerhouse program that seemingly competes for a state championship year in and year out, Alta High School has sort of become this year's Bingham High School with all the athletes that have decided to become Cougars.

"Yeah, I'm going to be going to BYU with Steven Richards, Rhett [Sandlin] and another walk-on from my school who is a really good athlete," said Engstrom.

That other walk-on is 6-foot-4-inch, 220-pound Ryan Jensen.

Jensen, Engstrom said, is "another first-team all-state player who plays defensive end and is also coming to BYU. Ryan is one of my really, really good friends and the fact that he's going to BYU was part of my decision too.

"We just went snow camping this past week, so I'm going to be doing the exact same thing as he'll be doing. We're also majoring in the exact same subject and going down to BYU the exact same time.

"It's going to be nice having my close friend go through the exact same thing as I am. So, there's going to be a few of us from Alta at BYU."

After Engstrom informed the Cougar coaches that he was going to go to BYU, he also gave his Alta teammates a call.

"That was a lot of fun," said Engstrom. "I called up and mostly spoke to Rhett [Sandlin]. A lot of the players that went down to SUU with me told other people that they offered me. A lot of people, before I told them, thought I was going to SUU. Rhett came up to me and said, ‘I can't believe they didn't offer you more.' I then let him know that I was going to BYU. He was really excited.

"Then with Steve [Richards], and he's positive about everything, he was really excited when I told him about my decision to go to BYU. It was fun to talk to Steve about my decision to come to BYU."

Engstrom's goal is to now go down to BYU and show the coaches that he is worthy of a full-ride scholarship.

"That's all I can really ask for," Engstrom said. "I mean, if I go down to BYU and don't become worthy of a scholarship, that's my fault. All I can hope for is a chance and that's what I pray for. If I do get a BYU scholarship, then I'm worthy of it and will be very satisfied."

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