Williams Field High School (Gilbert, AZ) wide receiver Mark McMillian Jr. currently has eight colleges heavily recruiting him including Michigan. He's been on a few unofficial visits to colleges in recent weeks. Having stepped foot on BYU's campus thinking it would be just another average visit, McMillian described his visit to BYU in one word.
"Amazing!" McMillian said. "The atmosphere, the crowd, and the stadium was just amazing! BYU is an amazing place."
McMillian watched as BYU running back Jamaal Williams broke BYU's all-time rushing record during the Cougars win over Mississippi State. Taking in the stadium atmosphere, McMillian got more than he bargained for.
"It was incredible!" said McMillian. "I don't think I've ever been to a game like that or seen a game that loud before. I was sitting right behind their bench and it was so loud!"
McMillian was surprised that many of the students in the Roar of Cougars (ROC) student section knew his name.
"A lot of the fans and students knew who I was," McMillian said. "A lot of them actually knew my name and were talking to me during the game. Everyone was screaming loud and you couldn't hear the person next to you. Everyone was nice and the campus is great."
One might think BYU's contest with Mississippi State, in which BYU won in thrilling double overtime fashion, would have been the highlight of his on campus experience. However, that wasn't the case.
"The highlight for me was the welcome by all the coaches and not just the wide receiver's coach or alumni," said McMillian. "I got introduced to all coaches: the head coach, the offensive coordinator, DB coach, all the recruits, all the recruiting coordinators. They treated me really well over there at BYU. The coaching staff is awesome over there."
Following the game at LaVell Edwards Stadium, McMillian took a tour of the campus and was able to see the many outstanding facilities BYU has to offer their student athletes.
"Yes, I walked around the campus the night after the game," said McMillian. "I was able to take facility tour as well as meet more of the coaches. I would say BYU is easily has some of the top facilities that I've seen in the nation. BYU has some amazing facilities.
"I would rate my experience at BYU definitely a 10," McMillian said. "That was easily one of the best visits I've ever taken. All the coaches talked to me and there were no egos. There was no looking down on anybody or anything like that. Everyone was really nice and they cared about you and made you feel like family. Everyone had open arms. The coaches are straight up with you and tell it like it is. I really like that."
McMillian wasn't expecting his BYU visit to be as eye-opening as it was.
"I've talked to other recruits ever since I left BYU when I was on my unofficial," he said. "We talk all the time now. BYU has definitely increased their chances with me. When I went to BYU I was just going there expecting just a good game and that was pretty much it. It was just me and my dad.
"When I finally got there we were treated like family by everybody. I love the belief in God and family-first philosophy of BYU. The coaches were all great, the people there were all great, and the atmosphere was different at BYU. They treat their players well there, and the best players will play at BYU. That makes a big difference."
His father Mark McMillian Sr., who was nicknamed "Mighty Mouse" after being drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1992, asked his son a few questions concerning BYU.
"My pops has an unusual saying that he always asks me," McMillian said. "He'll ask me, 'Can you see yourself playing here?' and 'Why can you see yourself playing here?' I told him because of the way I was treated and all the questions he asked I answered correctly. He just really liked the time that I had at BYU. Usually on unofficial visits I'll just go there and have a good time, but when I went to BYU I felt like I belonged there."
The Cougars have shot up the list as one of McMillian's top colleges.
"BYU is definitely one of the schools I'm looking at," said McMillian. "I've been to a couple of places and I've ruled out a few, but there's not a lot of places like BYU. I got a gauge of where I could honestly see myself being at, but BYU is definitely one of the schools."
The other colleges that have made the list with BYU are an impressive group.