Junior college corner visits BYU

With six defensive backs graduating after the 2012 season, the Cougar coaches are diligently searching for talent to come in and fill the roster. The Cougars have identified and evaluated one junior college cornerback that recently made a visit to BYU's campus.

Originally from Edison High School located in Huntington Beach, California, Davion Orphey's talents are now on full display at Santa Ana College, where he doubled last season as a two-way player.

"I play cornerback and some running back," said the 6-foot-1-inch, 190-pound Orphey, who is not LDS. "I played running back most of our season last year because we didn't have a running back. I played running back for eight games. Originally, the coaches had me playing cornerback because I like to play physical and play bump and run. I like to tackle and get after the ball and make plays, and in the last two games I just played corner."

Orphey is projected to play defense at the Division I level.

"Yeah, cornerback is what I'm going to play throughout college," Orphey said. "I mean, if I'm asked to play running back I'm not going to say no. I'll do whatever I'm asked to do, but the goal is to play cornerback at the next level."

Orphey has offers from Boise State, BYU, New Mexico, Utah, Utah State and Mississippi State.

He had good things to say about BYU's coaches after visiting the campus last week.

"Coach Nick Howell is the one that is recruiting me," Orphey said. "I love that guy and have a great relationship with him. I spent my whole three days with him, and the three days that I was up there with him I felt like I was already playing for him. I have a good relationship with him.

"I also have a good relationship with Coach Kaufusi. Coach Kaufusi is actually the one that first recruited me, then told Coach Howell about me. Coach Howell then flew down to Santa Ana to watch me practice and set everything up."

Orphey was also very complimentary of Kaufusi.

"Oh, that guy, man, he's such a great guy," Orphey said. "That's a nice guy, man. I mean, they're all great guys, you know, and I would love to play ball for them. I like them all."

His visit to BYU last week was his first campus visit.

"That was my first visit because it's early. They said they identified early and have their mind set on what they wanted, and so they wanted me to come up there early."

Meanwhile, Orphey is thinking about making some other visits.

"Sometime in November, like during the season when I can get to a game during the season, I might go up to Boise State or Utah State," said Orphey.

As for his time at BYU, Orphey really enjoyed the visit.

"It was fun actually and different," Orphey said. "It's a school where you have to actually go visit and see for yourself rather than go by what other people tell you about it. I mean, right after I got off the plane they took me down to the stadium. I stepped foot in the stadium and got the chills. I wanted to play right then and there."

In fact Orphey enjoyed his visit to BYU so much that he didn't want it to end.

"I didn't want to come home after the first day, you know?" Orphey said. "I gained a really good relationship with some of the players and just felt really welcomed there. I had a good time up there."

As Orphey said, he felt very welcomed while up in Provo.

"What really stood out to me was how friendly the people are and that's something different," said Orphey. "The people treat you differently down there. They treat you like a God out there. If you play football out there, everything is set up for you where you won't have any troubles. It's a good feeling man."

He also really enjoyed touring BYU's Hall of Legends seeing all the memorabilia on display.

"When I went down there and walked through some of their facilities, man, it was great," Orphey said. "I was amazed. I grew up a 49er fan and I saw the Steve Young jersey and took a picture of it. I saw the national championship trophy, Heisman trophies, and my eyes just blew up."

While non-football experiences often get highlighted by recruits that visited BYU, Orphey noted how much football is a part of the environment in Provo and surrounding communities.

"The other thing is you wouldn't think that BYU would be a football school, but then you get there and everything is about football," Orphey said. "I felt like I was in Texas because Provo is a football town. You go there and you wouldn't think it was all about football, but rather just a Mormon community. When you get down it's all about football and everyone can't wait till August. That was a nice experience and they really love their football out there."

As one who generally shies away from head coaches, Orphey was impressed with Bronco Mendenhall.

"Coach Mendenhall talked to me before he offered me, and we talked about what my life's goals were," Orphey said. "They have a few corners leaving, so when it's time for me to graduate from junior college, everyone will be gone except one cornerback: Jordan Johnson.

"You know, I try to stay away from head coaches, but Coach Mendenhall is a real nice guy and funny. He's really funny and is really straight up with you. He's really smart with the way he talks and all that, but I had three meetings with him and before every meeting I was nervous. I liked being with Coach Mendenhall and he made me feel comfortable. He didn't put me on the spot like a lot of other coaches do. He was more relaxed about things and told me that I have time to think about it.

"Coach Mendenhall told me straight up, ‘We want you here and that's why we wanted you to come up for an early visit.' He wanted me to see for myself and said I could come right in and start. Most coaches will tell you that, but I actually feel like I could go there and get early playing time. That's played a big part."

Before leaving Mendenhall's office, Orphey received some unique advice from the Cougar head coach.

"He told me to pray about it, because our family is very spiritual, so he told me to pray about it to know where I should go," said Orphey. "It's nice because it shows that it's not only about football. It's about putting God first for them and I support that, you know. It's about family and then education, and then football just falls in.

"It's a lot different in how they recruit you and see you. As far as other coaches, they'll say things to you like, ‘We've got the nicest-looking girls here, and you can have this or you can have that, and don't ever bring up God.' It was just so nice to have a different perspective because God, family and faith is important to them. I'm all for it and that's important to me. I've been through a lot and want to keep my head on straight and prepare myself for the next level. I don't want to be distracted and there's a lot of things that can do that at the college level, but I have a good relationship with all the coaches out there and I'm all for what they have to say."

Sophomore cornerback Jordan Johnson was Orphey's host during the trip.

"[Johnson] would be on one side and I would be on the other side," said Orphey. "They have some young guys and I feel like I could play right now. I don't really care who the other corner is, I feel like I can play right now. We talked about a lot of things and it was good to talk to someone who isn't LDS and can kind of help you to know what it's like there. It was good, man."

Johnson wasn't the only Cougar that Orphey hit it off really well with.

"I first spent time with Preston Hadley and he's a great guy," Orphey said. "I really like him a lot and he's a good guy. Then I spent some time with Jordan Johnson and he's like a brother. I felt like he was one of my brothers to me and we hit it off right off the bat. It was nice and he told me that he could have gone to Connecticut or Pitt and other schools but he chose BYU. He said he chose BYU because of the environment and the focus on football. That's similar to me and that's exactly what I want to do. I'm glad he was my host and letting me know what is really going on as a non-LDS player."

Orphey rated his BYU visit very highly.

"Man, I would rate my experience out there around a nine or 10," he said. "I loved it. I still have one more year left to play, but I want to go to a place where I feel comfortable at and where I feel welcome. I want to go to a place where I feel welcome, where the people are great and where I can feel comfortable and play football. BYU did that for me and, like I said, I loved it up there. It was really nice."

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