Highland High School (ID) defensive lineman Wayne Kirby committed to BYU on June 26th, 2015, just about a month after his father passed away in late May. He recently received a much anticipated offer from the University of Utah and that offer has caused Kirby to renege on his non-binding, verbal commitment to BYU. Kirby explained that the offer from Utah was a “game changer” for him.
“It’s a huge offer for me,” Kirby explained. “They’re a Top 5 school this year. They are always sending guys to the NFL and they’re always a good, powerful team. It’s a huge offer and a big decision for me to make.
“I de-committed from BYU a couple days before I got offered from Utah just with the knowledge of what was going to happen down at Utah,” Kirby continued. “It is a game changer. In a way, I hurt for BYU because of the friendships and relationships I developed with the coaches [there]. This just is a point in my life where I have to be kind of selfish and figure out what’s best for me.”
While Kirby hasn’t officially committed to the University of Utah yet, he favors the Utes because after considering what Utah offered, he says feels most comfortable there.
“I really started thinking about Utah and it just fits me better as a person, as a student, and as a football player,” Said Kirby. “In every way I feel they’re a better fit for me.”
Kirby received his offer via a telephone conversation with Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham and his brother, Utah Director of Player Personnel Fred Whittingham, after visiting Utah this past weekend for their game against the Cal Golden Bears.
“The offer (from Utah) came from Coach Whittingham,” Wayne explained. “I was supposed the meet with him after the (Cal-Berkeley) game but I left just before they came looking for me after the game. They were busy with all the media stuff with (ESPN’s) College Gameday being there. I caught up with him on the phone and had a good chat with him and his brother (Fred Whittingham).”
“[Coach Whittingham] told me he likes my athleticism. He said they don’t see a lot of 300-pounders that move like I do. He also told me they liked my style of play.”
Kirby really enjoyed his time up on the hill.
“The visit was sweet, “Exclaimed Kirby “The fans are nuts. That’s one thing I liked about it. I also like that about BYU. The fans are so passionate about their teams and so hyped about game day and it’s awesome to be in that environment. If you’re not pumped up before you get there, you’ll definitely get pumped up when you get there.”
From the conversation, Kirby’s decision to de-commit from BYU had a lot to do with BYU’s Honor Code.
“The (BYU) honor code was a little too much for me,” Kirby elaborated. “I want to be able to grow up on my own, make my own decisions, and pay for my mistakes. I don’t want someone to live my life for me. If I make a mistake in my personal life, I don’t want my football team punishing me for it. I don’t think that’s right. I think it should be your own life and you pay for the mistakes and learn from them, and not have someone else take those opportunities from you.”
Kirby contacted BYU offensive Coordinator Robert Anae last week to inform him of his decision to de-commit.
“I talked to Coach Anae when I de-committed and that was tough,” Wayne lamented. “I’ve become really good friends with him. It was really hard but I can’t let emotions get in the way of this decision because it’s such an important one for my life.”
Robert Anae was a big reason for Kirby’s initial interest in, and subsequent commitment to, BYU. Anae and BYU offensive line coach Garett Tujague remain in hot pursuit of Kirby.
“They were actually trying to get me to call them [last Friday], but I couldn’t call them back because I was in class,” Kirby explained. “I had to get ready for my game right after school so I haven’t had a chance to catch up with them yet.
“Coach Tujague is sweet,” Wayne continued. “Those two coaches (Anae and Tujague) took me under their wing and it’s hard to do this to them. I really feel bad because of the bonds and friendships I’ve developed with them.”
Utah defensive coordinator John Pease was the first Utah coach to reach out to Kirby. Since then, former BYU linebacker, and current Utah linebackers coach, Justin Ena has been heading up Kirby’s recruitment.
“I talked to Coach Pease at the All Poly Camp,” Said Kirby. “He said he was impressed with my play. Justin Ena has been recruiting me really hard. We’ve talked on the phone multiple times.
“(Utah coaches) told my high school coaches over the summer that they wanted to offer. Coach Ena hinted at it over the phone a lot. They said they wanted to meet in person but it didn’t happen with all the media stuff going on with game day there, but that’s OK. We got in touch over the phone and an offer is an offer.”
When asked, Wayne explained his pecking order right now and when he thinks he’ll commit.
“Utah is in the driver’s seat right now and BYU is trailing behind,” Kirby explained. “I am also open to other schools re-entering the picture as well. Any other big school, like a UCLA, would make me consider them as well.
“I want to wait till signing day but I don’t want to hold these schools up because of other kids who they are waiting on [offering]. It could be until signing day before I decide but I am trying to make it faster than that.”
Finally, Kirby summed up the current situation simply and succinctly.
“I’m definitely still considering the Cougars. Where I am at right now, it’s looking like Utah because they’re a better fit for me.”