BYU Offers Southern Utah Linebacker

BYU has a long and distinguished pedigree of successful inside linebackers the most recent being that of Uani ‘Unga ranked among the tops in the nation in tackles in 2013. In an effort to continue the prowess in the middle of BYU's 3-4 defense, Bronco Mendenhall has offered a scholarship to a two-way athlete from Hurricane High School.

BYU is looking for future talent to solidify the middle of Bronco Mendenhall's stellar 3-4 defense. The BYU coaching staff believes they have found a young man who's capable of carrying on the outstanding legacy of BYU middle linebackers. His name is Jeremiah Ieremia.

"I'm about 6-2 and I weigh around 225-pounds," said Ieremia. "Coach [Chris] Homer played me at a few positions last year. I played middle [linebacker], outside [linebacker], and a little defensive line. I played a little bit of everywhere."

Hurricane High School (UT) Head Coach Chris Homer believes Ieremia fits the bill as a collegiate football prospect.

"The first thing that pops out at you at first is he definitely passes the eyeball test," said Coach Homer. "He looks like he can play middle linebacker in the NFL right now and he just turned 17 years old as a junior. He's somewhere between 6-2 and 6-3 and fluctuates between 225 and 235. He's just put together really well and looks the part. He looks like a "Mike" linebacker."

A two-way player, Ieremia is one of the primary players for Hurricane Tigers. Not only has Ieremia been a force within the Hurricane defensive scheme but he also doubles as a running back, just now learning the nuances of being a ball-carrier.

"We actually moved him half way through the season from outside linebacker to inside linebacker," said Coach Homer. "That's when his tackles went up dramatically because before teams were running away from him. I think he ended up with 80 to 90 tackles and [he also] blocked two kicks and three punts. The blocks are one of the things that kind of stand out because it shows his explosiveness."

Coach Homer explained the role that Ieremia plays for his squad.

"He plays middle linebacker for us and on offense in the Wing-T he's our main guy. He runs behind the quarterback as our featured back. He does carry the load but we do try and keep him fresh for defense, but when there's a fourth and one there's no doubt we're bringing him in for that."

Ieremia added to the statistics Coach Homer already laid out.

"I also had two sacks and two defensive touchdowns," Ieremia said. "I also had a blocked punt and an interception for a touchdown."

As one just now getting his feet wet as a ball carrier, Coach Homer believes Ieremia could receive some recruiting attention as a large back at the FBS level. He expects big things from his soon-to-be senior next season.

"I think he ended up rushing for 600 or 700 yards and scored 11 or 12 touchdowns. There was a learning curve there and this year again moving up to the varsity level. I think he's going to get more notice as a running back because, like I said, he's just a man among boys. He just learned last year how to run and avoid tackles and to get his shoulder pad level down. He's a big, tough kid who is just learning how to run more effective."

"I think I had around 30 or 40 carries each game," said Ieremia. "I had a good game against Pine View High School and had almost 200 yards and around three touchdowns. I had a few games that were highlights for me."

From a football standpoint it seems natural that BYU, as well as Oregon State, would offer such a prospect. Utah State is now close to throwing their hat into the Ieremia sweepstakes as well.

"He has an offer from BYU and Oregon State offered him here just recently," Coach Homer said. "He's being looked at by Utah, Utah State and he got a couple calls from USC. Utah State was taking a close look at him and they could be close to extending him an offer here soon."

The offer from BYU and Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall was a special experience for Ieremia and his family as they sat in Coach Mendenhall's office.

"It was a great experience," said Ieremia. "Coach Mendenhall wanted us to come up, so my mom, dad, little brother, and I went up because he wanted to speak with us. He brought up a couple of stories and tied them into BYU football, so right there I was just shocked how BYU football worked. So, when he offered me it was a great experience."

"I know he didn't commit to Coach Mendenhall and he's going to let the recruiting process play out," said Coach Homer. "He was very excited with what happened with Coach Mendenhall and his parents where there. I know he had a great experience with Coach Mendenhall and he's really excited about it."

One memorable experience Ieremia had with Coach Mendenhall which gave the young linebacker some insight into the nature of the university came from a story Mendenhall shared to help him understand the greater purpose behind the program.

"Coach Mendenhall brought up the story of the family of Lehi in the book of Nephi and how they followed the Liahona," said Ieremia. "The Liahona only worked by them having faith. They had to be strong and obedient in doing the right things to receive guidance from the Liahona. He told the story of the Liahona and how at BYU they try to be faithful and be obedient to find success. He did a really good job of [tying] that together with BYU football."

The experience that Ieremia had in Coach Mendenhall's office excited him because it allowed him to see more clearly the opportunities that lay ahead of him.

"I'm a strong LDS kid and I try to do the right things," said Ieremia. "Hearing about the standards of BYU and what the program stands for is very humbling to me, knowing I now have an offer to play there. They're a great football team and I know they expect a lot out of their football players. That's how I am and I try to carry myself in a way where I'm a good example and a good kid. Being a recruit, that's a big thing for me. BYU expects that of their players. I'm going to keep BYU as one of my top choices because they hold you to that high standard."

Coach Homer concurs with Jeremiahs self-assessment and feels that BYU is recruiting the right prospect for their program.

"I don't think BYU is going to take a lot of chances on a kid they don't believe that would be a good fit," Coach Homer said. "BYU looks for those kids that can fit in as well as be a great football player. They think, and so do I, that Jeremiah is that guy."

Ieremia has been out to visit BYU three times now, including the visit during which he was offered. During his last visit to BYU he was privileged to attend BYU's Spring Scrimmage that was held at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

"I was out there for BYU's spring game," Ieremia said. "I got a chance to see the linebackers warm up and I liked that a lot. I got a chance to see Coach Tidwell interact with the players and how the players interact with each other. I liked that a lot."

Ieremia was impressed with LaVell Edwards Stadium and it's facilties.

"The stadium was really nice and really big. It was nice. I liked the field and the grass. It was real grass. It is a beautiful stadium and I love it there."

When it comes to what Ieremia is looking for in a university, his list is short but sweet. It really comes down to three qualifications.

"I would have to say the education is definitely important to me," said Ieremia. "I also want to be a part of a program that works together as a team. I want to be on a program where the coaches interact with their players. That's a big thing for me in what school I make my final decision on. I want to see how the coaches interact with the players and how the school presents itself. BYU is a highly respected school for highly respected kids and I like that. I like the standards and a school of faith while playing football at the same time. I'm looking for something like that: the education, the coaches, the football program, and the spirit of the school. That's what's important to me."

BYU seems to have quite a few of those qualifications naturally present within the fabric of the university itself. Ieremia spoke to Coach Mendenhall about those topics.

"I talked to Coach Mendenhall about these things," said Ieremia. "What he wants out of me is a great person and a great football player. That's what I want. I want to graduate with a degree, but not only that I want to be known as that good person. Knowing that BYU can help me become that good person is going to help a lot in my recruiting. If I know that a university is not only going to make me a good football player but a good person, that's what I like."

While Ieremia currently has two scholarship offers on the table, with more expected to come, he'll take his time and approach the recruiting process prayerfully when the time comes to make a final decision.

"I really want to enjoy the process right now and see what's on the table as far as options," said Ieremia. "As far as making a decision I'm just going to have to talk to my family and pray about it. I'm going to wait a little bit before I make a decision."

Before he steps onto the collegiate playing field, Ieremia will hang up the cleats and set aside his football helmet for two years to serve an LDS mission.

"Right now I know I'm going to serve a two-year and nothing is going to change my mind," Ieremia said. "That's something I want to do and feel is important to me, so, yes, I'm going to serve my mission first."

Coach Homer elaborated on why Ieremia is set on serving his mission.

"His family should get a lot of credit; his mom and dad are great people who support their kids," said Coach Homer. "They're a good LDS family and they have a daughter serving a mission right now.

Coach Homer summed up his thoughts on Jeremiah as both a player and person by stating this he believes his young protégé is just getting started.

"Jeremiah is one of those kids that's been fun to watch here in our program. You always wonder how they're going to grow and develop and be those guys that can lead. It's been fun to watch Jeremiah grown and change. He's had the goal of being a division one football player and now the sky's the limit for him. He just recently got an offer from Oregon State so the offers are now coming in. All the BYU guys just love him, and I told him he needs to do what's best for him. He'll have to make that decision."

TotalBlueSports.com will continue to monitor the recruiting process for Jeremiah Ieremia and report on any developments.


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