SoCal Safety Is a Junior to Watch

In Colton, California, a second team all-state, smash mouth LDS football player is receiving early attention from major D-I programs. Daniel Sorensen already has an offer from the SEC and serious interest from the Big XII. The Colton High School safety/tight end prospect would also like to see something come his way from the Mountain West.

It is not uncommon for BYU's coaching staff to recruit siblings and cousins to play football for their Cougar program. One only needs to look at last year's roster to see multiple Domans, Freemans, Tongas, Paongos and Becks. BYU's Band of Brothers motto is more literal than one might think.

For the recruiting class of 2008, there is a good possibility that the family theme will continue. Justin Sorensen is a nationally recruited kicker from Bingham High School in South Jordan, Utah. His cousin is Daniel Sorensen, a top secondary prospect from Colton High School in southern California.

"I'm 6-2, and around 200 pounds," Daniel said. "At the SPARQ combine yesterday, I ran a 4.25 shuttle and my vertical was 31. I think I bench around 250 and I did 14 reps with 185. I've maxed out on my squat. The highest I've ever done was 315, and I don't go any higher than that and usually just do reps.

"I made first team all-citrus belt league as a defensive back, I was the [CBL] league offensive MVP playing tight end, I was all-county for both The Sun and The Press Enterprise news papers. I was named all-CIF for defensive back, and my coaches kind of screwed up because they didn't nominate me for any offensive positions. They didn't know they could so I missed out on getting any awards for that. My buddy got that though. We run a double tight end set and my buddy is the other tight end and was more of a blocking tight end. I was more of a receiving tight end and did more of the route running, so I had better stats than him on paper but he got the nominations."

As a sophomore, Sorensen played Varsity in three sports: football, basketball and baseball. He was named First Team All-Citrus Belt League for offense and defense, and also did the kicking for his team.

As a junior on the offensive side of the ball, Sorensen had seven carries for 21 yards and scored one touchdown, and had 21 receptions for 528 yards and six touchdowns while throwing one pass for 47 yards.

Sorensen's really made a name for himself on the defensive side of the ball. As a junior, he racked up 84 total tackles, seven interceptions, two fumble recoveries and two blocked punts from his safety position.

"They also put me back in to return punts," Sorensen said. "I also got to play kicker for half the year, but the problem is I would get tired late in the third or fourth quarters because I never came off the field. I think the only time I ever came off the field was for kick returns. They moved me around and stuck me in different places to see how it worked."

Although he has played many positions on the football field, his reputation as a hard hitting and talented defender is what caught the early attention of several college programs. One of which has already offered him a full ride scholarship.

"Yeah, it was pretty exciting," Sorensen said about his first scholarship offer. "This happened about a month and a half ago. One of the recruiters called up one of my buddies while we were in the weight room together and he went out and then came back in with a huge ole smile on his face. He then said Ole Miss just offered me a full ride scholarship. He and I were really ecstatic and I was just like, ‘Oh man this is exciting.' I was just really excited about getting an offer from Ole Miss. Then about three or four days later I was in class and the athletic director called out of class and I wend down to the office. I thought I was in trouble and was thinking, ‘What did I do now?' He put me on the phone with the Ole Miss coach as well and we talked a little bit, and we talked about serving a mission a little bit. He ask me if I would be interested in coming out and playing football at Ole Miss? I told him, ‘Yes I would.' He said, ‘Well we would like to offer you a full ride scholarship. How does that sound?' I was speechless and that was really cool."

Sorensen spoke to an Ole Miss coach about his plans to serve a mission, and the Ole Miss coach was fine with his decision.

"I think my head coach had talked to them earlier about me leaving and serving a mission and the Ole Miss coach wanted to hear from me about that," said Sorensen. "I told him that I wanted to serve a two year mission, and he asked me if I would be willing to get a full year of playing time before I leave. I told him yeah I would and he said he thinks they can work with that."

Another major college program that has shown interest in Sorensen is the Cornhuskers of Nebraska.

"I haven't talked with them about that yet, but I've heard they are interested," said Sorensen. "Nebraska talked with my older brother about that, and one of my coaches sent some film out there. They said they are looking at me and another player on my team, and I guess they liked what they saw, but I haven't heard from them yet, and I'm still waiting on that."

Sorensen has not spoken with BYU coaches since he visited with Coach Patrick Higgins during the BYU summer camp last year. Sorensen caught the eye of the Cougars' receivers coach at that camp.

"I haven't really been able to talk to them but was able to go to a three day summer football camp last year," Sorensen said. "It was a non-contact camp and I basically went up there as a DB and ran some drills and did some testing, but I didn't really talk to any of the coaches while I was up there. But one of the coaches came up to me during the camp, I think his name as Higgins. He didn't know who I was during the camp but after he saw me and my name on the paper he was really interested and asked me to send him some film. He asked me why I didn't talk to him while I was at the camp, but I got introduced to Coach Higgins while I was there, and then Coach Higgins was actually down at my house a couple of weeks ago talking to my older brother Bryan. I still didn't get a chance to talk to him officially, but he was talking to my brother wondering what he was doing and stuff."

Daniel's older brothers Brandon and Bryan Sorensen both played together at San Bernardino Valley Junior College. Brandon is a 6-foot-4, 210-pound freshman quarterback who was a first team all-Foothill Conference performer by completing 169 passes in 300 attempts. He threw for 2,231 yards and 17 touchdowns on the season.

Daniel Sorensen's grandfather Stan Gleave played basketball and baseball for BYU during the 1950's. Sorensen grew up a BYU fan and was able to attend BYU's bowl game defeat over the Oregon Ducks.

"I've seen a couple of BYU games," Sorensen said. "I watched them play against UNLV and when they played Oregon in their bowl game. They were impressive and were a fun team to watch. They looked like they were having tons of fun. We went and watched BYU play in their bowl game.

"The whole stadium was packed and they said it was the largest crowd in the history of Nevada in that stadium. It was pretty amazing. I started to really get a feel for BYU and what their football was all about.

"I've been up to BYU, and I've been on campus and got a pretty good feel of what life is like up there. I've have an older sister that graduated from BYU and I would love to be able to go and play there. I'm still going to keep my options open if they do offer me. If they do, that would be great and I would still talk it over with my parents and try to talk it over with my cousin [Justin Sorensen], but I can see myself playing for BYU and being a Cougar."

Already ecstatic about his first offer from Ole Miss, how much more ecstatic would Sorensen be if BYU, with its family and church connections, came up with a scholarship for him?

"Oh man, it would be a totally different thing," Sorensen said. "Ole Miss was my first offer and that's why I was so excited. My older brothers weren't given the opportunity to get a big offer like that, and so they didn't really have a chance to have that fallback plan. To have this early offer from Ole Miss is really exciting for me because now I can see what else is out there. I'll feel really safe if nothing else happens for me because I know that I have that offer from Ole Miss to rely on.

"Ole Miss is a school that is so far away and I don't have any family out there. My parents wouldn't be able to come out and see my games and overall it would just be a totally different world. It would just be totally different and if BYU did offer me I think I would be a lot more excited because it would just be more realistic for me to go there. I would have a lot of local family support and be around similar people like me. I've got so much family on both my mother and my father's side up there in Utah who are huge BYU fans. Then there's Justin [Sorensen] who is just ecstatic about all of this and how BYU is interested in him."

Although he had success at tight end, Sorensen will more than likely be projected as a safety at the next level.

"I thought I played really well at the tight end position," Sorensen said. "Safety is a lot of fun too because I got better at reading the offense and reacting to the plays. At the safety position, it's a lot of responsibility because you're the last man. If a guy breaks through the defensive line and gets past the backers you've got teammates relying on you to make that stop so he doesn't get into the end zone. There's a lot of pressure there to make that tackle, and sometimes you gotta give up the big hit just to make that sure tackle. There are so many opportunities to make the big hit at the safety position. It just comes with the position and its fun to make the big hit and hear the crowd go wild."

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