Bronco Mendenhall's defensive system."> Bronco Mendenhall's defensive system.">

Luettgerodt: BYU Will Return to Winning Ways Soon

BYU's biggest recruiting "get" as an projected immediate contributor next season is a non-LDS 6-3, 240-pound linebacker recruit who sat quietly mesmerized through BYU's 3-0 "snow-bowl" against archrival Utah on Nov. 22 – walking away cold and shivering, but extremely impressed with <b>Bronco Mendenhall's</b> defensive system.

Justin Luettgerodt, a first team JC All-American from Foothill Junior College in California, signed a binding Letter of Intent Dec. 17 and will enroll at BYU Jan. 5 and will begin immediate preparations to earn a starting linebacker spot with the Cougars very active front line.

From all indications, he will play like a Brady Poppinga clone, which is a very good thing for Cougar gridiron fans. At Foothill last season, he accounted for 147 tackles with 20 of them for losses.

"I was at the BYU vs. Utah game and saw what BYU did defensively firsthand. It seemed like a perfect fit for my abilities and how I like to play.

"I like being all over the field and making plays; sort of like what Poppinga did last year. Most schools recruited me just as a defensive end and I don't want to do that. I want to play both DE and LB and Mendenhall's scheme allows for that. I think the scheme he runs is perfect for me and my abilities. It's very similar to what I played at Foothill." Luettgerodt was recruited by just about every Pac-10 school with solid offers from Oregon State, Cal, Boise State, Iowa State and Baylor, among other schools.

Hosted by another possible linebacker starter Cameron Jensen during his official visit, Luettgerodt said he went away convinced that BYU was the place for him.

"Everything is just perfect for me down there. I'm not LDS, but that's not a huge issue for me. The facilities are outstanding. The defensive coaches are people I trust to make me the best player I can be and I really liked the players I met. I'm just raring to get going."

Interestingly, football isn't the only reason he felt BYU was "perfect" for him. He has his eyes firmly set on a future after football. "I'm a bit of an entrepreneur of sorts and Provo is a booming city, as is Salt Lake City. I plan on majoring in business and want to get a head start in such a booming economy as Provo. I just want to get some leads and some connections while I'm there, so I can get going."

While Luettgerodt has a redshirt year available, he does not plan on using it. "I'll be there in two weeks and will have spring ball to learn the system, so I don't think a redshirt will be necessary."

Luettgerodt currently weighs 240 pounds, he doesn't think putting on a Poppinga-like 260 pounds will be a problem. "I've never been in a conditioning program like they have at BYU. I'm very confident I can put on as much weight as they think I need."

While Luettgerodt has all the confidence in the world in the Cougars defensive scheme, he's confident that head coach Gary Crowton will bring the offense back to where it needs to be.

"The defense was completely dominant from what I saw last year and I know that I can help make them even better. As for the offense, I know they'll be back. I know they're recruiting a lot of JC receivers to help there and most programs have to go through tough times before they breakout. I feel that is where BYU is at. They're a top-rate program that won't settle for mediocrity and I know that we won't have to when I'm there," Luettgerodt said.

He added for good measure: "We'll be good next year and thereafter. I have all the confidence in the world in the program and what they're doing. I wouldn't have signed with them if I didn't feel that way."

© copyright by

Total Blue Sports Top Stories