Early BYU Move Pays Off

Brighton High School running back Mike Hague shot out of nowhere to grab the attention of local media and college recruiters both in state and out. As the leading rusher in a talented Utah senior class, the attention Hague has received has come faster than one of his touchdown runs.

You have to hand it to BYU coaches for recognizing Mike Hague's talents so early. When most of the in state attention went to Cottonwood High School stars Alex Cate and Stanley Havili along with James Lark of Pine View, everyone wondered who this safety prospect from Brighton High School was following a verbal commit last May.

"We're certainly very proud of what he's been able to accomplish and it's been kind of overwhelming for him and us as parents as well," said proud father Alan Hague. "It's been very fast and he had a lot of interests from a lot of other schools and BYU seemed to be in front of it. He was very interested in committing to a school inside the state, and I think BYU is a great fit for him based on what type of a kid he is and what he wants to accomplish. He and Brandon Doman and Bronco Mendenhall specifically have seemed to hit it off, and Brandon [Doman] has had great contact with him and had the opportunity to be in touch with him whenever they can. It's been great."

Last year Brighton High School opted to play the 5'11", 215-pound talent exclusively at the safety position. This year his coaches decided to use Hague's 4.55 forty speed as a running back as well. It was a wise decision.

"If he would have played a little bit more [at running back] last year then we would have had a little more hint on what he could do last year, but the coaching staff at Brighton High School chose to use him on defense as a strong safety," Alan Hague said. "They also used him on special teams and whenever they brought him in he ran extremely well but he had a couple of seniors ahead of him as well."

Now with the attention turned to Brighton High School and the multi-talented Hague, the recruiters have come calling. Letters from colleges all over are pilling up everyday at the Hague household.

"I get a lot of letters," said Brighton star Mike Hague. "I probably get about four or five letters in the mail everyday. Oregon sends me a lot and UNLV sends me some. I got one from Notre Dame a couple of months ago. Most of the Mountain West Conference schools, Utah a little bit. I think I committed really early to where I didn't get that much exposure because I was a defensive back last year. I think if I wouldn't have committed so early I would have gotten more offers but I don't really care about that too much."

So far on the season, Hague has put up the kind of numbers that would catch any college recruiter's eye.

"Through 11 games I had 1,844 yards with 26 rushing touchdowns, one punt return, one kick return, one receiving touchdown and one interception return," Hague said. "Defensively I currently have four picks and around 45 tackles or something like that. Last year I had 65 tackles but I played more defense last year as well.

The only interception Hague recorded for a touchdown came courtesy of LSU commit and Cottonwood quarterback Alex Cate. Hague picked the ball off close to the sidelines, broke a few tackles and ran the ball back for a touchdown on a leg that wasn't at 100%. When he got to the end zone, he collapsed to the turf after his leg stiffened up.

With at least one more playoff game to come, Hague could reach the 2,000-yard mark by the time his season is over.

"Last year I was Second Team All-State but hopefully this year I'll get something. I want to get Mr. Football for Utah,"' said Hague. "That's what I want to be and of course a state champion."

Hague has the offer he wants. His heart is fully set on BYU and his blood runs blue. However, at one point that was not the case. This state rushing leader was once a big time Utah fan and followed the Ute program very closely. Things could have been very different if it were not for a few key factors.

"I was fairly neutral on which school I wanted to go to," Hague said. "Actually, my whole life I had been a Utah fan. My family was more neutral but my best friend and his family were Utah fans and they helped turn me into a Utah fan.

"When I got into the recruiting process and got to know both coaches, Coach Whittingham, he's an awesome guy and stuff, but getting to know BYU's coaches I just felt I fit a little better into the BYU system.

"Coach Mendenhall is a one of a kind, I think, and just their whole staff is just put together well down there. Coach Doman was the first to contact me from BYU and as soon as we started talking, we hit it off and it kind of just went up hill from there. Committing to BYU was a very easy decision for me to make."

Another key factor is BYU recruited Hague early and showed great interest in him from the start when the focuses of in state talent lay elsewhere. His relationship with the BYU staff is further proof that not only has BYU done a fantastic job in locating talent under the radar early, but also in selling Mendenhall's vision of what BYU stands for. Plain and simple, this vision turned a Ute into a Cougar.

Is Hague excited to be taking handoffs in BYU's potent, high-scoring offense?

"Oh yeah, I am," Hague said. "People tell me that my style of running is pretty much like Curtis Brown. I'm hoping one day I can be like Curtis. I've got pretty good side-to-side moves and I think that is required to be successful within BYU's offense. They run a lot of delayed handoffs and stuff like that and I think I can catch balls out of the backfield. Curtis Brown is catching a lot of balls out of the backfield and has to make moves after he catches the ball. I think I can do that for the most part.

"I thought [BYU] looked good from the very start. I went to the TCU game and that was awesome even though the defense struggled, but watching their offense that was exciting and I'm excited to be apart of it. I haven't been disappointed at all in BYU. They've brought it together well and are moving forward."

Another reason Hague's interest peaks with BYU comes by way of Pine View High School. He and BYU quarterback commit James Lark have become very close friends over the past season.

"One thing about James [Lark] we broke down each other's film actually last year at BYU, I like the way he's a pocket passer but then he's a scrambler as well," Hague said. "He has great speed when he leaves the pocket and he has a great ability to throw on the run. He's a poised quarterback that doesn't make any bad reads. It seems like not just on the highlight films because I've seen a full game of him in person, too."

"They have become good friends," said Alan Hague. "James is a wonderful young man, and they got to know each other a little bit up at the Ute Shoot. They talk to each other quite often and compare notes on what they're doing on their various teams as they pursue some state championship goals."

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