"Well, today I woke up at around 6:30 and spoke on the phone with Coach (Guy) Holliday, and he was with the whole offensive staff and they were all very excited," said Kurtz. "I went over to my computer and printed out the NLI (National Letter of Intent) and signed it. My mom was taking pictures of my signing my letter of intent. I went over to FedEx and sent it in. I'm now a Cougar."
It's quite praiseworthy when one considers the road Nick Kurtz traveled to be where he is now at. It's a road that started by going from having nothing but a desire and great work ethic to finishing the recruiting race by signing with BYU.
"It's really kind of mind-blowing actually," Kurtz said. "I mean, at one point I had almost given up on football. I wouldn't have been where I am right now if I hadn't had made the decision I was going to give it another try. After these last three hard years everything really seemed to pay off."
A year after deciding to go back to school, the journey took him to Grossmont Community College. At 6 foot-6 inches, 205 pounds and possessing 4.5 speed, Kurtz literally took apart junior college defenses with his rare blend of size and speed.
"We were winning by so much our starting receiving corps would sit out after the first half," Kurtz said. "I didn't really keep up with all the stats and get caught up in all that, but I missed four games in the season due to an ankle sprain I had. So, I missed a few games but I still feel I was productive and able to help my team."
While it's been reported Kurtz played in 18 games during his two seasons at Grossmont, in reality he missed four games due to an injured ankle, playing in just 14 games. Despite his ankle sprain, and playing in the first half to three quarters of most games, he still managed to collect 1,301 yards receiving and 18 touchdowns over the past two seasons. The accolades that Kurtz has accumulated are thanks to his play on the field.
"In high school I had no accolades or awards or anything," Kurtz said. "At the JC level in my first year I was first team all-state. My second year I missed four conference games but they still voted me to the all-conference team. I only played in two conference games but was still voted as an all-conference player. That's pretty admirable."
Then the USC Trojans came marching in with a scholarship offer in tow. Kurtz's commitment to BYU was tested to its core.
"There was a time when I was starting to consider other schools because I started getting other offers after I had committed," Kurtz said. "I went over and took some other visits to some other big time programs but none of them made me feel like I did when I was at BYU."
When Kurtz first committed, BYU had beaten out the Oregon Ducks for his services. That was a big hurdle Geoff Martzen and the Cougar coaching staff had to pass and they did with success. However, later on down the road USC had offered Kurtz after he had committed to BYU. This mountainous obstacle was a little harder to overcome. Although committed to BYU, Kurtz paid USC a visit when the Trojans faced UCLA at home.
"I don't really know how to explain it," said Kurtz. "It's really just a feeling you get when you're up at BYU as opposed to the feeling you get when you're at any other university in the nation. I can't really explain it. It's just a university and program full of really good people. Everything the coaching staff and guys like Geoff [Martzen] tells me is very genuine and real as opposed to some of the other schools."
So what brought him back to BYU? For Kurtz, it was simple.
"Well, it was just as easy as me following my heart and wanting to stay with my original decision," Kurtz said. "There were a lot of other great programs that I could have gone to, but overall BYU was the best fit for me."
He simply followed his heart. But it was those working behind the scenes like the BYU coaches and Geoff Martzen who made sure that Kurtz felt wanted and loved.
"Coach Holliday, Geoff Martzen, and Coach (Garret) Tujague really stayed on me and kept winning me over," said Kurtz. "They just stayed on me really on a daily basis and kept winning me over, and they also kept winning my parents over as well."
As he journeyed, whenever Kurt came to a fork in the road there was one voice that always helped him to see clearly through the distractions. That voice was BYU Director of Player Personnel, Geoff Martzen.
"Yeah, I have to say that Geoff Martzen is probably one of the biggest factors behind my commitment," said an excited Kurtz. "He was the one that initially drew my interest into BYU's program. He's the one that first sparked my interest and helped me to know the ins and outs of BYU's program." Kurtz continued "From there I met Coach Mendenhall, Coach Tujague, Coach Holliday, Coach Atuaia, and all the offensive staff. I even met and got to know Nick Howell on the defensive staff. I went on my visits and just fell in love with BYU. I just fell in love with everything BYU had to offer, but all that started because of Geoff Martzen who played a big part in why I'm now going to BYU."
BYU coaches and BYU fans alike have Geoff Martzen to thank for keeping this top notch wide receiver recruit's heart strings firmly attached to BYU.
"Well, Geoff is very, very persistent and he's very, very personal with his recruiting," said Kurtz. "That's what makes him really good at what he does. He's just a great guy and does a great job of educating you while getting you excited to come to BYU. He played a big part in all of this. Geoff and those guys have been recruiting me for so long and have been persistent with me for so long throughout this whole process. I'm sure now they're dancing in their offices right now."
It wasn't that long ago that Bronco Mendenhall and a few of his assistant coaches visited Kurtz for an in-home visit with him and his parents. This was one of the heart-winning times that helped Kurtz to know BYU is truly the right place.
"You know, Coach Howell came a week before Coach Mendenhall came and visited," said Kurtz. "My mom cooked up some dinner for everyone and we had a good time with him. It was just a great visit and we had a good time with him. Then once again it was just a personal connection that I felt with him. It was like I was speaking with family as opposed to speaking with coaches when the coaching staff was there. I have a very close connection with all the guys over there."
Coach Howell's visit was an introductory visit that set up a much bigger one the following week.
"Then the big man Coach Mendenhall came and visited with Coach Anae and Coach Holliday," Kurtz said with a chuckle. "I'm sure you can only imagine how special that was to have the man (Coach Mendenhall) himself in my house."
As the Kurtz family sat in their living room visiting with Bronco Mendenhall, the excitement in their home rose to another level.
"You see him on the field and he doesn't seem to show any emotion no matter what's going on," said Kurtz. "Then he comes over to my house and he's just the complete opposite. He's just a very family oriented guy and just really got along with my family and it was a lot of fun. We all just built up a great connection and it was just another great experience."
So now that the long and arduous journey is now over, Kurtz has finally come home today. He's signed his BYU letter of intent and ready to dazzle fans around the world as BYU's newest star wide receiver. It's a title he's excited to earn through hard work in practice and his exploits on the field.
"I'm clearly very excited and I'm proud to tell people that I'm a Cougar," Kurtz said. "I've got the BYU sticker posted on my car for people when they see me. I want to tell people that I want to earn their respect. I feel I've been given too much respect early on. I know there are a lot of talented guys on the team that are very talented like Mitch Mathews and Taysom Hill and so on. In order for me to be up there with them, I need to earn that right first. I feel like I have too much shine on me right now. I need to get back to being who I am just go out there and earn it (the praise). That's what I want to do. I want to go out there and make plays first and earn everyone's respect."
Welcome to the BYU family, Nick Kurtz.