Washington defensive lineman to walk on

With the 2012 recruiting class wrapped up and tucked away, the Cougar coaches are bringing in those that may have been worthy of a BYU scholarship but didn't receive one. The next in line to receive a preferred walk-on opportunity at BYU is a 6-foot-2-inch, 250-pound fullback/ defensive lineman who is also a wrestler.

His name is Tyson Brook and he plays football for Connell High School in the state of Washington.

"I'll be attending BYU for sure," said Brook. "I'll be there on the first day of school and will be a preferred walk-on. I'm already on the team, so now the goal is to earn a scholarship. I gave a BYU coach a call and he said that I will be there the first day of school and will be a preferred walk-on."

Brook had scholarship opportunities at other colleges, but decided to forego the guaranteed tuition in an attempt to earn a scholarship at BYU.

"You know, it's BYU," Brook said. "I've grown up a member of the LDS Church, and you always hear a lot about BYU. You always hear about what BYU stands for, and you always hear about what it's like being there in that community.

"I've got scholarships from Montana Western, Central Washington has offered, and all the other schools that want to offer me, I told them what I was going to do. So, they're not going to bother."

Brook is friends with Cougar recruit Matt Hadley, his high school teammate. That connection ended up paving the way for Brook to attend BYU.

"Coach Poppinga was over at Matt's house for a home visit, and Matt wasn't feeling good that day and didn't go to school.

"[Hadley] texted me and said, ‘Hey man, can you bring my brother home from basketball?' He was like, ‘Oh yeah, and the BYU coaches are going to be here, so stop on in and talk to them.'"

Brook picked up the younger Hadley and took him home.

"I went in and had dinner with Coach Poppinga," Brook said. "He gave me his email address and I emailed him. When he got back to Utah, he had the whole BYU staff watch my film."

Apparently, Coach Mendenhall liked what he saw.

"Coach Mendenhall saw it and loved it," said Brook. "He said, ‘I want him down here.' It's kind of crazy how things work."

Brook feels it will suit him well in the long run to sacrifice a scholarship elsewhere for the opportunity to attend BYU.

"You know, for me it is better," Brook said. "It's not just about football at BYU. At the end of the day it's a lot more than just about football, and that's why I love BYU. BYU is a prestigious school when it comes to education. Then you add great football on top of that, mixed with the beliefs of my church. BYU will always be fine with me serving a mission, whereas the other schools would be shaky on that."

As funny as it may seem now, there was a time when BYU wasn't even on Brook's mind.

"I'll be honest with you, BYU wasn't my number one school going into my freshman year. BYU never really crossed my mind. I wanted to play college ball but didn't really care where."

Going into his sophomore year, Brook attended a BYU summer camp.

"I went down to a summer camp and won a defensive award while I was there. The coaches were pretty impressed, and then I went down there the next year going into my junior year. The day before I rolled my ankle and that really affected me and was pretty sad. Then my senior year BYU was talking to me a little bit."

Now, Brook definitely looks at BYU much differently.

"I absolutely bleed blue," he said. "BYU is the place for me and that's why I'm willing to give up so much now for the chance to earn more later. When I go to BYU, I'm going there to win. It kills me every time I lose and I'm an aggressive competitor. I'm going to BYU and I bleed blue and I want to win."

At 6 feet 2 inches, 250 pounds, Brook is one of the top wrestlers in the state of Washington.

"I've only lost two meets this year," said Brook. "We have regionals this week. I'm ranked first in 1A and the kid that I lost to is ranked number one across the board in the state of Washington. He's going to Oregon State as a defensive lineman."

Brooks will bring his strength and wrestling mentality to BYU's defense line.

"As of right now I'll probably go d-line," he said. "I'll probably try out for nose guard."

However, there is a chance Brook could change his mind and try his hand as a fullback.

"You know, I play fullback also," said Brook. "I may try out at the d-line when I first go to BYU, but when I come back off my mission I might try playing fullback. When I come back, their fullback [Iona Pritchard] will be graduating, so we'll see where it leads to."

Brook fared well as a high school fullback.

"I blocked for Matt [Hadley] at the fullback position," said Brook. "This was my first year playing fullback and we won a state championship. I scored eight rushing touchdowns and caught two more passing touchdowns from the fullback position, so we'll see what the coaches want to do and go from there. Regardless, I'm excited about heading on down and playing at BYU."

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