Many recruits- both committed and uncommitted- were at BYU enjoying themselves during their official visits on campus last weekend. For Columbine (CO) offensive lineman J.T. Gentry, his visit was filled with interest in learning more about the new BYU coaching staff.
“It was a great visit overall and I think it was great being with all the other recruits that were there,” said Gentry. “I got a chance to be with the new coaching staff. I didn’t really have a big relationship with the old coaching staff when they were recruiting me, and obviously I hadn’t built a relationship with this new coaching staff because they’re so new. I think that is what made it so cool was just being around the new coaches and seeing how cool they are and seeing what great men they are.”
As in previous years, the recruits traded helmets and pads for heavy jackets and gloves and headed out into the mountains for a day in the snow. Riding snowmobiles, the recruits flew around the countryside
“The activities were great and snowmobiling was fun,” Gentry said. “That was a great time being out there with all the recruits and it was a lot of fun.”
Also on the agenda was touring the football facilities and, of course, eating lots of food.
“I loved seeing the campus and the football facilities and stadium. We had some great food at Tucano’s and Bam Bam’s BBQ, so overall it was a great visit,” said Gentry. “I loved the recruits, loved the campus, and loved the coaches.”
Prior to stepping foot on campus, Gentry hadn’t received a scholarship offer from BYU. His official visit was filled with both an expectation and hope that an offer would be extended during his visit.
“I hadn’t actually gotten an offer prior to my visit to BYU,” said Gentry. “I got the offer Sunday morning. I did have an offer from Air Force, and I was strongly considering attending the Air Force Academy. I was expecting an offer from BYU, at least I was hoping BYU was going to offer me this visit, but I was expecting something to happen.”
At the end of the recruits official visits, they were gathered at the Marriott Hotel where Kalani Sitake met with each of them for one final talk. It was during this time that Gentry received his official scholarship offer
“[I received my offer] in the Marriott Hotel lobby and we were eating breakfast,” Gentry said. “Coach Sitake called me and all my family out for a bit. We just talked for a little bit and then Coach Sitake offered me. It was just something that I couldn’t pass up on and I committed at that point.”
Upon receiving his offer from Coach Sitake, Gentry’s dreams of playing for BYU were finally realized.
“I was really happy and ecstatic,” said Gentry.”It’s something that I worked my whole life for, and I just really wanted to be a division one player. To get that opportunity at BYU to do so since I was a kid just made the experience all that much sweeter.
“I don’t know if you know my story, but I was a late bloomer and gained a lot of weight late. I moved to the offensive line when I was a junior and was able to be coached by Chris Kuper, who was a Denver Bronco offensive lineman. He really helped me out and showed me some great fundamentals. I just kind of exploded my junior and senior year, and it was a blessing that this coaching staff had an open spot for me. I just couldn’t be happier.”
The reasons for committing were simple. Gentry not only grew up a BYU fan but what the Provo campus has to offer made the choice a natural one for him to make.
“I think the thing that hit it off for me was seeing the campus and seeing the coaches and realizing that this had been my dream school to play for since I was a kid,” said Gentry. “I think I want to go in to finance and BYU has an outstanding finance degree, and they were talking it up like crazy. Just being able to be a part of that, and Coach Empey’s nasty playing style that I really want to be a part of, was what really made me seeing myself be a part of this program. I just couldn’t turn it down when I got that offer.”