Jorgensen Rejects Late Advances

If leading the state in sacks as a junior was not enough to get interest from college recruiters, maybe adding an individual state track and field championship to the resume will help. On the other hand, schools may be deterred by Austen Jorgensen's commit to BYU. One school recently decided to try the strength of linebacker's resolve.

For the second year in a row, BYU coaches are showing an uncanny knack for identifying talented recruits before their prime. Last year, BYU's coaching staff raised a few eyebrows by making several early scholarship offers to relatively unknown players including Braden Hansen, and Mike Hague. When the offers were extended last April and May, these athletes were still unproven commodities. A year later, it looks like the risk paid off. Hague ended up beating out USC-bound Stanley Havili for top running back honors at the 5A level and Hansen was one of the best offensive linemen in the state.

BYU's coaching staff is at it again, although they started earlier and issued more offers than last year. Their efforts yielded greater results too. Coach Mendenhall and his staff received three commitments in eleven days in February. One of those commitments comes from a relatively unknown 6-foot-3, 220 pound linebacker from North Sanpete High School named Austen Jorgensen.

After leading that state of Utah last season with 14 sacks, Jorgensen is quickly making a name for himself in track and field competition too..

"In track we went up to BYU for state," said Jorgensen. "I took state for the second time in the javelin and threw my personal best which was the best in the state from 1A to 5A this year and last year. I threw 195-5. I threw 188-4 last year which was the best but now its 195-5.

"I took fourth in the long jump in state and came in first for region. In region I jumped 21-3 and in state I jumped 21-1/2. The kid from Snow Canyon [High School] took state by jumping 22-4."

Because the number of experienced javelin coaches are limited, Jorgensen's accomplishments come from his own natural abilities.

"I don't really train a lot," chuckled Jorgensen. "I go to the meets and that's pretty much my training."

When Jorgensen committed to BYU, he was 6-3 and 210 pounds. Now, just three months later, he added ten pounds and close to an inch. He recently maxed out in the weight room and blew away his school squat record.

"I'm close to 6'4" right now and 220 pounds," Jorgensen said. "I just squatted 550 and power cleaned 290. I did 285 in the bench. I need to work on my bench more and that's something I'm going to get up."

Many D-I athletes never put up 550 pounds, so it is particularly impressive for a high junior to be lifting that much weight. Jorgensen also runs a 4.65 forty and a 4.4 shuttle.

"My mom [Julie Jorgensen] keeps me up on the protein shakes," said Jorgensen with a laugh. "My dad does too, and he pushes me to improve. I've been working out with my team recently. We just do some passing leagues and just things like weight training and stuff. We lift weights Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at six in the morning."

If Jorgensen continues to grow, coaches may reconsider where they want him to play, but for the moment, he projects as a linebacker.

"From what I know right now I'm just strictly an inside linebacker," said Jorgensen. "I hope to graduate from high school at 240."

Jorgensen will attend many camps in June where he will refine and showcase his athletic abilities.

"I've got camps all over the place," Jorgensen said. "I pretty much don't have a June. I'm going down the Texas camp with my quarterback, and we're going to work out on some receiving routes and work on quarterback and receiving. Then I'm going to BYU's Junior Day on June 2nd and there I believe I test for them.

"Then I believe we have Utah's passing league as a team. Then we have our team's football camp and then from there I'll go to BYU's passing league as a team. Then I'll go to BYU's individual football camp towards the end of June. I was accepted to Stanford's Nike Camp but being that I'm already committed to BYU, there really didn't seem like a point in going."

Jorgensen committed to BYU so early that few other schools had evaluated him. To this point BYU remains his only offer, but that does not mean that other schools are not interested in him. BYU's in-state rival directed attention Jorgensen's way in recent months.

Savvy college football fans in the state of Utah likely heard mention of Utah Head Coach Kyle Whittingham's comments about beating BYU in nine out of ten head-to-head recruiting battles. The comments delighted Utah fans and frustrated BYU fans who felt the numbers did not add up. Tabulation questions aside, there is certain to be a much higher level of scrutiny surrounding which prospect is being recruited by which school for the class of 2007. According to Jorgensen, he is solidly the BYU column.

"Utah's been trying to recruit me now pretty heavily," said Jorgensen. "They called my house not to long ago, but I didn't return their call because I've already committed to BYU. The next day, Coach Anderson came down to my high school when we were working out in the morning and asked my coach to have me call him back.

"[Coach Anderson] talked to me and he kept saying to me that he doesn't want me to regret my decision down the road by not looking at Utah. I couldn't really get a word in. He was kind of like a salesman he talked so fast. He would ask a question and I would try to reply but I could never get an answer in."

Word filtered to the Jorgensen family that folks in the Ute camp were skeptical of several of BYU's early moves, including the scholarship offer to an small town linebacker.

"[Coach Anderson] already knew that I had committed to BYU when he came down to talk to my coach," said Jorgensen. "I had heard that they said BYU was stupid for offering me, but then they turn around a couple of months later and call and try to visit with my coach, and have me call them and say I can come up to visit Utah's campus. After what they've already said it doesn't make me want to go to Utah or to visit.

"When I first committed to BYU, they sent a letter to me that said I would be a flag bearer for Brigham Young University. It said from here on out you will represent what BYU is all about, and for me that's a big part of why I've committed to BYU. It means a lot to me."

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