Cougars Mining the Miners

Under the direction of head football coach Dave Peck, Bingham High School rolled through the regular season and then the state playoffs. The Miners defeated Alta High School in the finals to become 2006 Utah 5A state football champions. BYU received verbal commitments from two of Bingham's star seniors, and the Cougars have the possibility of adding more Miner commits in the near future.

Although Bingham High School is losing a lot of talent from the 2006 state championship team due to graduation, the cupboards are not close to bare. Bingham head coach Dave Peck and his staff are reloading with several of the top D-I prospects in the state for the 2007 season.

"In talking to some of the college coaches, they're telling me that the Utah kids are getting better and better all the time," said Coach Peck. "I know BYU and Utah had more instate recruits than they've ever had in the last year or two. To me it only makes sense and there are some good kids here, and you're going to get more support and people coming to the games."

BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall and his Cougar staff are in close contact with the Bingham program according to Coach Peck.

"In talking with BYU, they said we have six kids that they are really going to look at this next year, and they may make early offers to three or four of them," said Coach Peck. "It's pretty exciting. Utah kind of came in late on some of these kids. They heard that BYU had offered them and then they would come in and talk to them. It was kind of the same thing with Holt. BYU offered him and then the next day Utah offered him. I do think that BYU, at least with our kids, knows more about our kids and about our program than any other college out there."

The college program most familiar with Bingham football after BYU is all the way over on the west coast.

"I guess Oregon would be the next one," said Coach Peck. "Crowton has been to Bingham four times in the last six months."

Oregon has extended an early offer to offensive lineman Derek Tuimauga as well as ESPN All-American tight end Austin Holt. BYU was the first to offer Holt a scholarship offer followed by Utah the next day.

"Oregon has offered Derek," Coach Peck said. "They offered him about a month ago. They've already offered Austin, and they're looking a little bit at our kicker and possibly even a couple of our other kids. They've already made offers to both Derek Tuimauga and Austin Holt, though. Holt has already been offered by Stanford, Oregon, Utah and BYU."

Coach Peck reported that BYU show interest in the 6-foot-3, 350-pound Tuimauga last year, but the Cougar staff was a bit concerned about his weight. Tuimauga has made strides in dropping his weight last season.

"He's 6-3, 325 as of this morning," Coach Peck said. "His first two years I bet he played at around 350 and maybe a little more. He's dropped some weight and he thinks he's down to about 5.3 in the forty. He benches like 380, squats over 500 and is the strongest kid we have in the weight room, and he just turned 16 in September. He started his first game for us when he was just 13 years old."

Coach Peck expects BYU to offer a scholarship to Tuimauga soon.

Another senior prospect that BYU and other colleges coaches are looking at is 6-foot-2, 200-pound kicker Justin Sorensen. The Miner place kicker gained a reputation for putting the ball through the uprights on kickoffs.

"I'll tell you what, our kicker has the best leg I've ever been around," said Coach Peck. "I'm almost certain [BYU] is going to offer him too.

"Up there at Utah he put a couple through the uprights and would hit the net. I mean, it's not like they just barely went through the uprights; he would hit the net. He did that a number of times."

On the season Sorensen kicked 62 extra points and 11 field goals to become the second-leading scorer on Bingham's state championship football team's second leading scorer.

Another prospect BYU is heavily considering per Coach Peck is 6-foot-1, 220-pound linebacker and fullback Iona Pritchard. As part time fullback, Pritchard averaged 5.79 yards per carry and had 81 yards on 14 carries during his junior year. On defense, Pritchard had 2 sacks, 21 tackles and 51 assists as an outside linebacker.

"He runs well and is a strong kid who does well in the weight room," said Coach Peck of Pritchard. He's a good kid, and I think he's about a 3.7 or a 3.8 grade point average. He's just an all around good kid that is getting better and better all the time.

"His dad was our DB coach this year and he played in the Canadian Football League for awhile. Iona only started playing football his ninth grade year and he came to Bingham and was really raw but each year he's gotten better and better. He was an outside backer for us this year and played a little bit of fullback. I'm going to move him in the middle this next year."

Currently, Pritchard has an early offer from UNLV.

"I know BYU is really considering an early offer," said Coach Peck. "I don't know if it will happen or not, but Robert Anae and Iona's dad George Pritchard are pretty good friends."

Also on the offensive side of the ball, BYU and other D-I colleges are keeping a close eye on is 5-10, 190-pound running back Sam Langi.

"The other guy that I think people are looking at a little bit is Sam Langi," Coach Peck said. "Sam is probably around 5-10 and 190 pounds. I don't think [BYU] will give him an early offer, but I know BYU is looking at him. He went to their summer camp this year and they thought he was the top running back there. This year we had two seniors in Doug Fiefia and Tyson Hill that were both good, but I'll bet you for every three times [Langi] touched the ball it was a touchdown. He really did a good job for us and next year he'll be our premier back. Oregon and some of the other schools all know about him but the one that definitely said they are watching him and are interested in him is BYU."

As far as the seniors who have already committed to play for BYU, both Star Lotulelei and Jordan Pendleton have received awards and all-star invites.

"Right now we have Star Lotulelei, I believe, in Florida playing in the East vs. West high school all-star game," said Coach Peck. "Some guy out of New York called me towards the end of the season and said that Star had been selected to play in this all-star game with all expenses paid and everything. He's back there right now.

"I just got an email that Jordan Pendleton was selected to the MaxPreps All-American team. That was pretty neat that he was selected on that. There hasn't been as much recruiting of Jordan as what I would have thought. He's been the best athlete in his age group for a long time."

Both Lotulelei and Pendleton received Utah 5A first team all-state honors.

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