Cornerback Recruits Enjoy their Visits

It is no secret that one of BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall's chief recruiting priorities is to find and sign immediate help for the CB ranks. TBS spoke with four hopeful JC midyear prospects who made their way to Provo over the weekend on official recruiting visits.

"It was great," said Snow Junior College cornerback Tico Pringle. "It was my first time really taking a close look at BYU and I really liked what I saw, who I met and what the coaches had to say."

Pringle was joined by Damion Porter from Long Beach Community College, Michael McCoy from San Bernardino Junior College and Will Rivers from the College of the Desert. Coach Mendenhall has made it known that the Cougar staff looks to sign three midyear junior college cornerbacks and any of these four may get to ink their names on a letter of intent to play for BYU this December 21st.

"I just want a chance," said Rivers. "They didn't offer me or any of the other guys while we were there, but I hope that offer comes since I think I'm a good fit for the team and could help them win some games next year. We'll find out later this week and I'll likely commit if offered. We'll just have to see how it goes."

One of the unique factors that BYU coaches consider in a recruit is how the prospect will adapt to BYU socially, academically and morally. Athletic skill is only half the battle because Coach Mendenhall aims to keep every recruit he signs until graduation.

"They had us meet everybody," aid Rivers. "We went to the academic center and talked to counselors and they really let us know what BYU was like so we wouldn't have any questions in regards to whether we felt we could make it there or not."

So does Rivers think he can make it and thrive in BYU's unique culture? "Absolutely," he affirmed. "I can adapt to what they do and expect of students there for sure. BYU is a very calm and peaceful place and I like that about the campus. It's a place where I really feel I could accomplish my goals."

Of course, signing a letter of intent is not all about academics and the social life; recruits commit with the intent of making an immediate contribution to their new school. This is especially true for junior college transfers. The feeling is mutual for BYU coaches, who need instant help in the secondary. Pringle feels that he can step right in and be the difference-maker the Cougars want.

"I know I can play," said Pringle, "I just want my chance. Playing for BYU is something I'd like to have the opportunity to do. I love how they play defense and I trust Coach Mendenhall and Mitchell fully as coaches."

While meeting with Coach Mendenhall, Pringle was immediately struck by how straightforward the head coach was. "He didn't pull any punches," said Pringle of Mendenahll. "I really got the chance to see his serious side and I like that about him. He's a no-nonsense type of coach and that's the kind of coach I want to play for."

"Coach Mendenhall and the other coaches, especially coach Higgins, told me that to expect on my visit and what it would be like and they outlined it pretty good," said Rivers. "It was my first time to Provo and BYU, but I felt that I had come to know the place already from what they told me, so nothing was a huge surprise."

Rivers was also impressed by how close the teammates were with one another and is anxious to have the opportunity to join the "family-like" atmosphere. "I'm a people person, I love getting to know people, so it's great that all the players at BYU seem to be so close and family-like," said Rivers. "That's what I like and what I'm good at. I'm a real mellow, easy-going guy, so I feel like I could fit right in there."

For both Pringle and Rivers, snowmobiling was the highlight of their trips. "It was my first time every doing that and I really enjoyed it a lot," said Rivers. "We went up really high in the mountains and saw some elk, which was really cool."

Both Pringle and Rivers were told by coaches that they will find out about getting offered by the end of the week. The two prospects are very anxious to see if that offer will come. "Hopefully it will," said Pringle. "After visiting there I'm convinced more than ever that it's the place for me and that it's the place where I could really help the team."

"BYU isn't like anywhere I've ever been, but I didn't feel uncomfortable there at all," added Rivers. "Like I said, I thought it was a place where I could really do well before my trip and the trip just confirmed what I already felt. Hopefully I get my chance to play and attend school at BYU."

Porter is a 6'1", 190-pound cornerback recruit from Long Beach City College. Porter played free safety this past year for Long Beach where he was named a consensus first team all-conference and honorable mention All-American. Porter has 4.5 speed and is being looked at to play cornerback for BYU.

"I played cornerback in high school, so I'm sure I could just go back and play it again, no problem there," said Porter.

Porter was impressed on his visit to BYU with the facilities and the coaching staff. "Their facilities are first-rate a long with everything else there," said Porter. "I also really liked the coaching staff. Coach Mendenhall is just very straightforward and tells you exactly what he thinks, and I like that."

Porter is currently being recruited by Washington State, which he hopes to visit this next weekend, TCU and Nevada-Reno. Porter has not been offered by BYU or any of those schools, but is hopeful to have his chance to jump to the next level.

"I liked BYU a lot on my visit," said Porter. "It's a unique place for sure and very cold, but I really liked the people and the atmosphere there. Everyone was so friendly. We'll just have to see what happens."

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