BYU defensive coordinator Bronco Mendenhall stood downfield watching, critiquing and shouting out instructions to defensive backs. Often, he pulled campers aside to explain mistakes and how to improve. Based on the eager looks on their faces, it was easy to imagine these young prospects might have been wishing they were actually playing for Mendenhall at BYU.
Wide receiver coach Todd Bradford was engrossed in teaching campers proper technique and encouraging those who dropped balls. Bradford moved, mingled and constantly interacted with the wide receiver groupings. If he was a political appointee, he'd be a perfect fit for a current president's "No child left behind" program.
BYU's recruiting coordinator and tight end coach, Mike Empey, did not miss a day in two weeks in the hot sun. He was teaching tight end prospects everything from catching what looked like 70-mile-per-hour football fastballs being shot out from the JUGS machine to creating friendly, interactive group competition that concluded with high fives, cheers or friendly jostling among various campers.
Cougar head coach Gary Crowton was frequently visible driving around in a golf cart warmly greeting familiar faces, encouraging athletes and took occasion a few times to coach the quarterbacks on their passing skills and footwork.
From Crowton on down, the enthusiasm and interest among campers appeared infectious. The Cougar coaches seemed to have as much fun as the athletes who paid for the experience.
Reno Mahe, the Philadelphia Eagles served as a volunteer coach helping out a younger group of wide receivers. His wife, Sunny, a former All-American volleyball player at BYU, was enjoying the sight several days ago on the sidelines watching her husband and attending to their newborn baby.
Also volunteering was former Cougar and Arizona Cardinals tight end Tevita Ofahengaue. Sporting a straw hat and a constant smile, Ofahengaue was working with a crop of younger campers before he stacked up a group of foam pads for a brief break in the shade.
Ofahengaue's nephew and Kahuku High wide receiver star and BYU prospect Spencer Hafoka was running routes and made a fine, leaping grab over a defensive back during 7-on-7 scrimmages. Spencer jokingly flexed his skinny arms towards teammates to the laughter of onlookers who cheered his acrobatic reception.
Timpview High star athlete Luke Ashworth was there yesterday running drills for coaches. Ashworth looks like he has added muscle and is more defined than he was a year ago. Ashworth told TotalBlueSports.com he has received a formal scholarship offer from BYU.
Ashworth's running back teammate from Timpview, Harvey Unga, was there today playing alongside Hafoka. Family sources indicated Unga, who is 6-1, 190 pounds, is being evaluated by BYU coaches as a possible defensive prospect. Unga, a varsity running back since his sophomore year, has deceptive speed and will apparently be moved to the defensive side of the ball in his senior season this fall.
A pleasant surprise at the camp was quarterback/ cornerback Nick Webb from East High School in Salt Lake City. Although he plays quarterback during today's 7-on-7s and also in high school, Webb, at 6-1 and 180 pounds, will likely be slated for safety as a college prospect. McKay Jacobsen, another camp standout previously profiled in a TBS camp report, has returned home to Dallas, Texas.
CAMP NOTES: Heavily recruited linebacker Kaluka Maiava from Baldwin High School in Hawaii had a "great time" attending the BYU camp for one day, according to his aunt, Sweet Crichton, whom he stayed with during his brief Provo visit.
Crichton said Maiava enjoyed his stay in Provo and opted to extend his visit to attend BYU's camp. She said he enjoyed the campus and was very impressed with the football facilities. Maiava, who is not LDS, has been offered by close to 10 major colleges including BYU. He is back home in Maui after a few weeks of attending football camps at Pac-10 schools, Boise State and BYU.
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