The Cougar coaching is again adhering to the early bird gets the worm approach to recruiting. At least two, and likely several more juniors have offers from BYU. One of the subjects of the early recruiting attention is 5-foot-10, 170-pound junior running back/cornerback Garrett Nicholson of West High School in Salt Lake City, Utah.
"Right now I'm getting letters from Arizona State, Cal, BYU and Utah," Nicholson said. "It's mostly just local stuff. My only offer right now is from BYU, so they've got my eye on them and they're playing really well this season. I've always wanted to go to Cal so I'm going to take a serious look at them too.
Nicholson has been the West high's play maker on both sides of the ball. He helped lead the Panthers to their first state playoff appearance in seven years.
"Offensively I play running back and defensively I play defensive back at corner," Nicholson said. "I don't really have a preference I just like to play football."
"He's an unbelievable offensive player," said West High School Head Coach Schrieter. "He's done what ever we've asked him to. We would probably start him at corner more but we have a senior Nick Merrill who is a stud starting for us, but next year he will probably go both ways for us. He is also a really good kick returner for us as well.
"His vision has really come on this year. His speed is already there, and there is no doubt about that, but his vision is getting better. He knows when to cut it outside or inside. He should be one of our team leaders next year.
"He's being recruited by all the instate schools. He went to BYU's camp last summer and had a good camp. Arizona State has sent him some letters and Utah naturally. He's gotten some letters from Stanford but I think BYU is really after him hard. At least that is what my feelings are."
One thing Nicholson likes about BYU and Utah is their proximity to home.
"I like Utah a lot also because it's really close to home," Nicholson said. "I can't get homesick and I'll be able to focus on football and be close to my family, so Utah is a really nice place.
"With BYU I like their location and their campus. I like their coaching staff and when I went to their football camp, it was a blast. The coaching staff treated me really nicely and I had a really good time there.
"Their campus is in a really good location, and it's beautiful, and everything is new and nice with their facilities. It's not far from home and their facilities are all brand new and in great shape, which is a plus for their program. BYU has great academic programs too."
With his first offer in hand, Nicholson is happy and excited that a prominent instate university has extended a full ride scholarship. He is not LDS so he would be able to come and contribute for four consecutive years.
"Yeah he did get an offer," said Garrett's father Trey Nicholson. "I'm very proud. I know this process has just begun for him, and I know Bronco will take care of him and make sure he goes to class. I know the good environment and the structure will be there and that he'll get the best out of him.
"It's comforting as a father to know that when you send your child away for four years that he's going to be treated fairly, and I know that if he were to go to BYU and play he would have earned it. If he didn't play I know that there was something going on and he didn't earn that right to play.
"He would be expected to go to class, and BYU is a great academic institution. Bronco has that program coming up, and that's all you could ever ask for as a father. This offer is a great deal for him and we'll see what happens. Hopefully we'll get some more offers and then have to make a decision, but this is a great start for him and is his dream."
Nicholson's father Trey has had a longstanding relationship with Coach Mendenhall that extends all the way back to when the two played together at Snow Community College. Trey Nicholson views Coach Mendenhall as a good friend and was happy that his former teammate got the head coaching job at BYU.
"Coach Mendenhall is a really, really good guy," said Garrett. "He's friends with my dad and my mom. They all went to Snow College together. He's a really good guy, and I had a really good time down there on BYU's campus. It was a blast and I love the coaches down there."
"You know, back then when we went to school together you could see what he would do as a coach," said Trey. "I was rooting for him when he got the BYU job and I knew back then that he would turn that program around just because I knew what kind of work ethic he had. The same type of person he is now is the how he was as an athlete. He prepared himself as an athlete just like he has prepared himself and his team to perform on the field.
"I learned a lot from him. You sit back and try to get from people an example, and you see good people and try to take their good qualities and incorporate them within your life. He's always been straight forward and he doesn't ask anybody to do anything he isn't capable of doing. I'm really happy he is doing well down there. It's good to know him."
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