It’s not fully understood why the BYU Cougars and Bronco Mendenhall didn’t offer Mack Richards out of Alta High School, but it didn’t take long for new head coach Kalani Sitake to make that decision once an oppportunity presented itself.
"When [Sitake] went to Oregon State, he started building a relationship there, and as things progressed, we thought [Mack] would end up in Corvallis. Coach Sitake and I visited a number of times over the phone," said Mack's father Bill Richards to Trevor Phibbs of the Salt Lake Tribune. "Then there was the BYU coaching vacancy. After the coaching announcement was made official, [Sitake] reached out and said, 'Hey, really love your son; love to have him come play for us here.' They communicated over the last couple of weeks, [and Mack] wholeheartedly said, 'Yes, I want to come play.' That's kind of how everything evolved."
18 months after a prospect signs a National Letter of Intent, a prospect becomes eligible again provided they have not enrolled in school in that time frame with the initial college he or she signed with. Many players that serve LDS missions are available to be recruited again once they return home.
According to Trevor Phibbs' report in the Salt Lake Tribune, Hawaii’s coaching staff didn’t keep in touch with the Richards family while their son was away on his mission, leaving the family with a sense of uncertainty.
Taking a look at the type of receiver BYU will get in Richards makes one wonder why no in-state colleges came hard after the talented all-purpose receiver. He comes in at just over 6-1 and weighed in, prior to serving a LDS mission, at 190-pounds. It is reported that he is in possession of 4.47 second forty speed.
At Alta as a junior year he rushed the ball 25 times for 165 total yards, averaging 6.6 yards per carry, while scoring three touchdowns. As a wide receiver, Richards caught 57 passes for 887 yards averaging 15.56 yards per catch. He also hauled in 11 touchdown receptions.
On special teams Richards was also exceptional. He racked up 248 yards on kick returns while dashing for another 193 on punt returns, where he managed to reach pay dirt four more times.
During his senior year he hauled in 65 catches for 1,089 yards and scored 13 touchdowns. He totaled 653 return yards, scoring twice on kick returns and twice on punt returns. Richards racked up 1,742 total yards in all categories while scoring a total of 17 touchdowns.
Over his career as an Alta Hawk he totaled 2,009 yards receiving and scored 33 touchdowns on 125 receptions. He totaled 3,268 all-purpose yards, including returning three punts and three kicks for touchdowns. Still he went unevaluated by recruiting services. It appears that Hawaii's loss could be a beneficial addition to BYU.