Dream becomes reality for Lee

For the second day in a row, the Cougar coaching staff has received a verbal commitment. However, this time the staff received a commitment from a much-needed cornerback from the junior college ranks. Sam Lee, an LDS return missionary, was offered by BYU on Thursday and then committed on Friday, turning a dream into reality.

BYU is in need of a few junior college cornerbacks. With one already in the fold in Trenton Trammell, the Cougar coaching staff picked up another on Friday in 6-foot, 180-pound hard-hitting Sam Lee.

"I was offered by BYU yesterday and I committed to BYU today," said Lee on Friday. "Today was my last day of my trip, and before I left I met with Coach [Mendehall] and he asked me what I thought about the school. I told him that I loved it and it was a good feel when I was there. Coach told me, ‘We would love to have you on the team, and this is a big decision for you and one that will affect the rest of your life.' He just said, ‘Think about it and talk to your family about it and let me know what you're going to do.'"

This morning Lee spoke to Coach Mendenhall and gave him the answer he was hoping for.

"I slept on it and prayed about it last night," Lee said. "This morning I woke up and talked with Coach Mendenhall. He said, ‘How do you feel about being a BYU Cougar?' I told him I felt good and told him that I wanted to be a Cougar. He was really excited and I committed to him. I'm going to be a BYU Cougar. It feels good and all the hard work that I put in over the past couple of years has paid off. It just feels good."

"He committed to BYU and it was always his dream to go to BYU," said offensive lineman and College of the Canyons teammate Lloyd Tunstill, who also has a trip set up to visit BYU. "I mean, months ago we talked about it."

Lee will graduate in spring and then plans on being out at BYU in the summer.

"Yeah, I'm a sophomore and still have a redshirt and two more years left," said Lee. "I'm just going to try and get on the field and it doesn't matter what side I play. I just want to get on the field and play at BYU."

"He's a hard worker and quick to the ball," said Tunstill. "He plays hard to the ball and he can cover and really hit. He's fast, extremely fast, and works hard in the weight room. He's really good and can run."

Playing college football has been a focus for Lee for a long time.

"I love the game of football and that's what I love to do. Ever since high school, I've always wanted to have that opportunity to play at the next level," Lee said. "After my mission that opportunity became reality. I played with that chip on my shoulder because I didn't have that opportunity after high school."

Lee grew up in Maryland and played his prep ball at Gwynn High School. Following high school, he served a mission.

"I served my mission in Atlanta, Georgia North, so everything is like 12 miles north of Atlanta," said Lee. "The people are great out there and they love the Lord. The Church is going great out there and they love the Lord, definitely. It's the Bible Belt out there, and so I was out there trying to help people build their faith in the Lord."

Some BYU fans might wonder whether Lee baptized any large families with any potential future Cougars football players.

"I don't know," Lee said with a laugh in his voice. "I guess we'll see in a couple of years. I guess we'll see! The Church is going good out there though."

Lee committed to BYU prior to leaving the campus in large part because of what he saw and experienced during his visit.

"The reason why I really chose BYU is because it's my church college, and I can be a representative of my faith on the field." said Lee. "We're taught in the Church that you're supposed to be a walking example, and whatever we do, people are going to see who you are. So, the way I see it is we can be that example by how we play on the national stage. What better way to show that example and be that representative of the Church than by playing football for your church college? I really got a good taste of that when I got on BYU's campus.

"When I first got out there, I really saw the example of the Church everywhere. Everyone was smiling and it was a happy atmosphere there. The Spirit isn't just involved in the church aspect, it's involved in the classroom and in the football program as well. That's what really got me. I just think it's awesome! I get a chance to represent a people on the football field."

"Man, he loved it from the start," said Tunstill. "We've talked about the school months ago and he's LDS. He likes the way that they run things and thinks BYU would be a good fit for him. He told me that he wanted to pray about it and see if it felt right. He told me that it did, so he committed to BYU."

As for Tunstill, he was supposed to come out to BYU on Friday for an official visit. However, the visit has been pushed back.

"I want to get my schoolwork done first before I do anything," Tunstill said. "I'm talking to a lot of schools, but before I make any major moves I want to get my schoolwork done and prepare to move these transcripts out. I'll be heading out to BYU in January, and so I'm excited to head out there.

"You know, I'm really excited just from talking with Sam. It sounds like a great school and a great place and I can't wait to see it for myself. I'm really proud of him that he got that offer and that he committed."

"Yeah, Lloyd postponed his trip out to BYU, but he told me that he is definitely going to come out," said Lee.

Tunstill is hoping that the Cougar coaches will give him an offer of his own when he visits BYU.

"Yeah, I really hope so," he said. "I think they will, and I really like the staff and the school. From what they told me, there is a need on the offensive line. I think it's great that Sam is heading out there, so that's a good thing too."

"When I told him that I committed, Lloyd was excited because we've had these talks before," said Lee. "We used to sit by the pool and talk about what our plans were, and I told him that I eventually wanted to see what BYU was like and have that opportunity to play for BYU. When BYU started coming out and looking at me, he told me, ‘Wow man, your dream is about to become a reality.' Then BYU invited me to come out on a trip. I thought, ‘Wow, I might be a Coug!' Then yesterday when they offered me it was, ‘Wow, I'm going to be a Coug!' All I can say is God is great to me."

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