Ariz. Desert Anything but Barren

While there may be a shortage of water, there is no dearth of football talent in the Grand Canyon state. One of the prospects springing up this year was the leading tackle on his team as a junior. So who does he like? TBS found out in a recent interview.

Austin Nielsen is one of the top linebackers in the Arizona high school ranks. Leading his team in tackles as a junior from a season ago, Nielsen is already getting letters from a lot of schools. Those letters will continue to pour in after he performs in various camps this coming summer. But one school stands out to Nielsen above all others at this point of the recruiting process.

"I want to go to BYU," said Nielsen. "I grew up and BYU fan, my whole family are BYU fans and it's the school I've always dreamed of playing for. My family and my dad especially are big BYU fans. We've driven up to Provo several times just to go to BYU games."

Nielsen plays for Sandra Day O'Conner high school in Glendale, Arizona and is receiving interest from Arizona State, Arizona, BYU, New Mexico State and Army among other schools at this point.

"Those are the schools that have shown me the most interest so far," said Nielsen. "I haven't received any offers for scholarships yet, but I know it's early. Hopefully I can perform well this summer and into next season so I can get a scholarship to play for a Division One football program."

Nielsen is very aware of the importance of performing well at summer camps if he is to receive offers early. Nielsen's summer is sure to be a busy one. He intends to make the rounds at the camps where he will show coaches what he can do while improving his athleticism and overall play.

"I'm definitely going to BYU's camp," said Nielsen. "That's the one I'm for sure going to attend. I'm also going to the ASU camp and I've been invited to the NIKE combine at USC which I'll probably go to as well."

Nielsen is a 6'1, 220 linebacker who garnered all-region honors. He runs a 4.57 forty and has a 37.5" vertical. "I hope to improve my speed this summer while improving my strength as well," he said. "Hopefully I can run under a 4.6 at some of these camps. I'm just real excited to visit BYU and all the other places this summer to work on my game."

Coach Paul Tidwell has contacted Nielsen's high school coach during this dead period of recruiting and is well aware of Nielsen and his abilities. "I know my coaches have talked to Coach Tidwell and the other coaches, I can't wait to talk to and meet the coaches myself," said Nielsen.

Although Nielsen fully admits that BYU is his first choice, he'll continue to weigh his options as the recruiting process goes on. "I wouldn't say for sure that I'd go to BYU if offered", said Nielsen. "I'll just wait to see what options I have and go from there. Of course I'd love to play for BYU. We'll just wait and see how it works out."

Nielsen is LDS and has mission plans. He turns 19 the November after he graduates from high school.


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