"I committed earlier today around 9:00 (AM)," said Vanderbilt. "I went to an early morning workout and they had let me know that Coach Mendenhall wanted to talk to me before I left Provo to go back home. I was hanging out with the team in the weight room watching them lift. At around 8:45 my friend took me up to Coach Mendenhall's office, so I was waiting outside the office because they were having a coach's meeting."
Vanderbilt and his family convened outside Bronco Mendenhall's office. He shook the hands of every coach and then entered Mendenhall's office with his mother and younger brother.
My mom and my little brother came up, and when they were done with their coach's meeting they came out they were telling me [good bye]," recalled Vanderbilt. "That would be the last time they would see me until my official visit. I went into Coach Mendenhall's office and he was going over the honor code with me and everything he was expecting of me and what the school expects. He was going over the expectations that they have of me from an education, football, and conduct standpoint."
Coach Mendenhall asked Vanderbilt a very straightforward question.
"Then he asked me if I was ready?" Vanderbilt said. "I said, ‘Yeah.' Then he said, ‘I expect that when you commit that other schools are going to come after you. I don't want you to commit then end up committing to another school.' I told him, ‘My decision isn't going to change.' That's when he brought out a piece of paper, which was a little summary of what they expected of me. It basically said that I received an athletic scholarship to attend BYU."
Receiving a full ride scholarship offer from Coach Mendenhall filled Vanderbilt like a rush of adrenaline. Khari had mentioned in previous interviews that if he was offered by BYU he would commit on the spot. Upon learning he was being offered he stayed true to his word.
"The first thing that went to my mind was, "I finally received my first offer,'" said Vanderbilt. "I'm a man of my word and I remember I told [Totalbluesports.com] a few weeks ago that if I got an offer from BYU I would commit that day. I was telling everybody that, so when I got my offer that's what I did. He asked me if I wanted to accept the athletic scholarship. I said, ‘Yeah.' He then asked me when I wanted to accept it. I committed to him right [now]. The first thing that went through my mind when I got the offer was, ‘I'm ready to commit.' At first Coach Mendenhall was surprised and said, ‘You're ready?' I was like, ‘Yeah, this is the offer that I want.' He was really happy and I was happy that I followed through."
The offer came on the last day of Vanderbilt's unofficial visit to BYU. For him the commitment to become a BYU Cougar was an easy one to make, especially after the type of visit he had in Provo, Utah.
"I took my unofficial visit and today was my last day up there," Vanderbilt said. "I like it a lot. The atmosphere is great, the people are great, the players, the coaching staff is really cool, and it's a group that I can see myself building a chemistry with. The overall facilities, campus, and environment is just beautiful. The campus sits right there next to the mountains and it's pretty amazing. I loved it out there.
"They took me on tour of the [BYU] broadcasting building, and they showed me the test building. They took me to this hall where it showed the history of the school and the church. It was really nice. The people that were giving me my tour were really cool and explained everything to me. It was a lot more than what I expected. It was beautiful. I was expecting Utah to be like San Jose but it wasn't. It was a lot nicer."
It's not just the nice facilities and outstanding football amenities that captured Vanderbilt's heart. His commitment to the program came as a result of something much deeper than just being on a beautiful campus with great facilities. It was due to a head coach and program that places an emphasis on the value of the player and his future.
"Coach Mendenhall is really straight-forward and gets to the point," said Vanderbilt. "He really cares for his players and wants to prepare them for their lives and their future. He's a man of character and wants to build character in his players. He wants to not only build men of character but also prepare them for the season. He has a lot on his hands getting his players to become better football players, but no only just that but better people. Most coaches don't really care about that last part. They just want you to become a better football player to help them win and that's it. Coach Mendenhall wants you to look past football because he knows football isn't going to last forever. Here it's more than just football but about the future and being prepared to face it by developing every aspect of your life to meet the challenges the future may mold for you."
While receiving a scholarship offer from BYU, and subsequently committing to Coach Mendenhall, was the highlight of his visit there was one other experience Vanderbilt had that ranks among the top. It occurred while visiting the BYU Bookstore where he met a little boy who was so excited to know he was standing in the presence of a BYU recruit.
"The highlight to me was first receiving the offer from Coach Mendenhall, but other than that I would say it was an incident that happened in the BYU Bookstore," said Vanderbilt. "I was taken there by my friend Preston [Hadley] and he was taking me around. When we were in the bookstore a couple of little kids found out I was a recruit.
"I told them that I was going to be playing safety [during] the 2015 season. They came running up to me with their parents all excited and asked me where I was from. They were really happy and one of the little kids told me that he wanted me to play for them and that if I did I would be his favorite player. We took pictures together. I think that experience was one of the highlights of my day just because I could how much BYU football means to the little kids and everyone up here. I could see how important it was and much of an impact it was to them."
Khari Vanderbilt took a moment to express his gratitude to Coach Mendenhall, Geoff Martzen and the BYU football staff for the opportunity to represent the program.
"I want to tell the coaches at BYU thanks for the opportunity they've given me to play at the next level," said Vanderbilt. "I want to let them know that just because I got the offer doesn't meant that I'm not done working as hard as I was to get the offer. I'm going to continue to work [even] harder now that I've got the opportunity to play for BYU. I'm going to work twice as hard and want to thank them for the opportunity to play to play for them."
Vanderbilt also wanted to express to BYU fans that his work has only begun. He also wants to let them know that like that little boy in the BYU Bookstore, he's ready to say hi and do all that he can to make their day a happy one.
"I would like to say to BYU fans that they got a really good commit and player who's going to work hard and do the best he can to represent them," Vanderbilt said. "I'm a really approachable and down to earth person, so if they hit me up on twitter or Facebook I'll reply. I'll [attempt to] reply to everybody. I'm a really good guy and player. I'm not going to change my decision to play for BYU so no one has to worry about that."
TotalBlueSports.com will stay in touch with Vanderbilt this summer and update you on when he sets an official visit to BYU this fall.