Cougars land Lake

There are only a few scholarships to give for the 2015 class, but BYU already has one talented prospect locked and loaded. Two weeks ago, Coach Mendenhall received a verbal commitment from a talented up-and-coming cornerback prospect who plays multiple positions on both sides of the ball for Northridge High School in Layton, Utah.

Coach Mendenhall verbally offered 5-foot-11-inch, 175-pound Dayan Lake of Northridge High School while he and his family were on campus about two weeks ago.

"I kind of feels like Christmas came early for me because I'm only a sophomore and have two years of high school left to play," said Lake. "Usually offers come in when you're a junior. I'm a sophomore so it's kind of a shocker."

"We are so thrilled," said his mother Jenny. "We couldn't be happier. We're really excited and we think BYU is exactly what Dayan is looking for. He has some good things to offer them and they've got some good things to offer him. It's already been like a blessing for us. We can already see the difference in how it's brought our family together and enjoy and get excited about. It's just been really good for our family and we couldn't be more happier."

The Lake family was invited to campus to watch the Cougars practice about two weeks ago. While on campus, the family was invited into Coach Mendenhall's office for what they thought was a little talk. It turned out to be something much more than expected.

"[Mendenhall] asked me if I would choose Oregon or Alabama over BYU if he were to offer me," Lake said. "I said, ‘No, I've always liked BYU.' He then talked to me about serving a mission and I said, ‘Yeah, that's something I look forward to doing.' He then pulled out a piece of paper with my name on it and said, ‘Congratulations, we're offering you a scholarship.'

"He handed it to me and had me read it. He stopped me through some of it and told me what it means and how BYU isn't like any other college out there. I just started reading it and he asked me to explain what every sentence I read meant. He then signed the paper himself and said that because I was a sophomore that I couldn't sign it at that time, but when I'm a junior he told me to come back and he would have it waiting for me."

"It was just a wonderful experience," said Jenny. "I had to wipe away the tears and was so excited for Dayan. It was just a special experience for all of us."

Lake didn't hesitate to give a verbal commitment.

"I just told him that I wanted to commit," said Lake. "I just told him right then and there that I wanted to play for him. My mom gave me a big hug and everything. Even when the paper first came out, and she didn't really know what it was, she started crying because she was so happy."

With only about seven scholarships to give for the class of 2015, BYU got its second commit with the talented cornerback prospect.

"It just means a lot to me because I'm Mormon, and some schools might not wait for me because I want to serve a mission. I've always liked BYU and I'm close to their coaches and they're just different than other coaches. BYU is just a different place and it just feels different when you're there. I went to some other camps and stuff and it just wasn't the same as BYU.

"Now that I've committed it isn't over. It doesn't mean that I can just relax now. It means that I have to keep doing well in school, keep going to church and attend all of my meetings. It means I have to continue doing the things that make me worthy of a BYU scholarship."

Because of the level of talent that Lake possesses, many have questioned his decision to give Coach Mendenhall an early commitment.

"Other people around my school always say, ‘Why did you pick BYU when you could have gone to Cal' or something like that," said Lake. "I just tell them that BYU is a whole different place. BYU is just a whole different place. Like, when I went to summer camps there I was happy just being there. When I went to other camps at other colleges it just wasn't the same. It's just not like at BYU where the coaches are better and it just feels different.

"Even the players at BYU are different and treat you differently. Like, one player came up to me and my dad and told my dad that he served his mission to Liberia where my dad is from and where I was born. He talked to me and my dad and was friendly. It's just different there than anywhere else."

The road to a BYU scholarship started when Lake was freshman.

"My freshman year, when I started playing for Northridge, they wanted me at safety," said Lake. "Then I did okay there. Then we didn't have a corner and so they tried me out there. I started doing really good there, and I got a couple of picks against some of our region teams. My coaches then had me start there for the rest of the season.

"Then my sophomore year I got more chances and my coaches started trusting me more. They put me at corner, kick returns and at safety sometimes. I mostly played corner but I played more than just one position during my sophomore year."

The Northridge High School coaches trusted Lake so much – and it also didn't hurt that he has a bevy of talent – that his skills weren't just relegated to the defensive side of the football.

"I played running back but we had Davie Adams," said Lake. "Our coach wanted both of us to start so he put me at slot receiver and we just traded off at running back, tailback and slot receiver. It was a lot of fun. I also did kick returns and broke the record for the most yards for kick returns this year as a sophomore."

At BYU, Lake will be coached by secondary coach Nick Howell. He looks forward to playing in BYU's defensive secondary in the distant future.

"Oh, I love Coach Howell and he just a great guy and just understands kids and how to work with them," said Lake. "He's just so energetic with the kids and just knows how to coach. He's just a great guy who has so much fun coaching and I'm excited to have him as my future coach at BYU."

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