Companions Now and in the Future

LDS athletes who sign with D-I schools and then choose to serve missions often receive recruiting letters from other schools 18 months into their missions when the NCAA's no-contact period expires. For two future BYU football players currently serving in the Dominican Republic, any such recruiting efforts would be made in vain.

Sam Doman and Dennis Pitta chose to shelve their helmet and pads two years and serve as missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They made this decision with not knowing where or who they would serve. In a twist of fate, these two players, who had never met before, ended up working together as companions on a small Caribbean island.

In each LDS mission, two of the missionaries will be assigned as assistants to the president (APs). Their job is to help the mission president oversee and train the other missionaries in the mission. When Elder Doman was made an assistant to the president a few months ago, the other assistant was very close to going home. When the new assistant was named, it was none other than the 6-foot-4, 220-pound standout freshman receiver Pitta. Both are now serving together as assistant to the president or "AP's" in the Dominican Republic Mission.

"Sam is thrilled that he and Pitta are now companions," said family friend Ed Snow. "Sam has had an interesting mission. He has been robbed at knife-point many times. There are a lot of problems with theft in the Dominican Republic. Missionaries' apartments are broken into on a regular basis. With all the violence and theft, maybe the mission president feels a little more secure with two, 6-foot-4, 225-pound assistants at his side. I know I would."

Prior to his mission, Sam Doman skipped the recruiting process with the hope that he would receive a scholarship from BYU. Washington, Oregon, Oregon State and others expressed storng interest in the Canby High School signal caller, but Doman chose to serve a mission in the hope that someday he would receive a scholarship offer from BYU. That hope would soon be realized.

Not long after being named as BYU's new head coach, Bronco Mendenhall hired Sam's cousin Brandon Doman as the Cougars' quarterbacks coach. Coach Mendenhall hears a little bit about Sam and went to Coach Doman for more information. Coaches Mendenhall and Doman discussed Sam and decided to offer him a scholarship. While serving his mission, Sam received an email from his father Dee Doman indicating that BYU was going to offer him a football scholarship upon his return. The young missionary was thrilled.

As a senior at Canby High School, Doman threw for 1,100 yards and ran for another 600 while also growing from 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds to 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds. He is making good use of the been working hard to get himself into shape now that his time as a full time missionary is coming to a close.

"Sam is working hard to get into great shape," said Snow. "His Mom isn't sure, but she thinks he's up to around 225 pounds and about 6-4 ½. She can't recall the name of the special workout he does. She thinks it's called something like Combat. Sam calls it the Reggie Bush workout."

From Moorpark High School in Moorpark, California, Pitta's road to BYU was a bit different than Doman's. Pitta came to BYU as a walk-on. He greyshirted in 2003 then had a breakout freshman year in 2004 when he recorded 17 receptions for 176 yards and two touchdowns.

Pitta left to the Dominican Republic on January 5, 2005 and will join his former companion as a teammate upon his return next January. Doman will compete for the quarterback's position and Pitta will join an already talented tight. Only time will tell if the months spent as missionary companions will help their quarterback-receiver timing on the football field.

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