Oregon Athlete to Walk on at BYU

During the past two years, many talented walk-ons have made significant, meaningful contributions to head coach Bronco Mendenhall's BYU football team. With more skilled walk-ons dotting the Cougar roster this spring, the volunteer presence appears to be here to stay. A multi-talented young man from Lebanon, Oregon who has a rich BYU heritage looks forward to joining those walk-on ranks.

"I'm 6-3 and 195 pounds," said Seth Probert. "I've only been timed in the forty around three times and I've been timed at around a 4.7 forty. I believe I run faster than that but I can't officially say that right now. I do run a 4.18 shuttle though, and I bench 230. My squat is 350, and I clean 240."

Probert, who also plays basketball for his high school team, received playing time at various positions on both offense and defense. His primary spot, however, was at quarterback were he put to good use both his quickness and his passing skills. He hopes to play a different offensive position for the Cougars, however.

"At BYU, I want to play wide receiver," said Probert. "I only had two plays at wide receiver where I caught the ball, but I scored two touchdowns for 130 yards. I mostly played quarterback and linebacker.

"As a quarterback I had 1,700 yards rushing, and I had 18 touchdowns running the ball. Passing the ball, I had 1,559 yards, and I don't know my exact number off passing touchdowns, but I think it was 14. So I had around 34 combined touchdowns including the two that I caught as well."

With numbers like that, it seems that Probert would have had more recruiting attention, but it may have been a case of too little too late.

"I think a lot of my recruiting problems are based on my junior year," said Probert. "I know that BYU is now really heavily recruiting juniors, and my team and I specifically didn't have the best season, so I wasn't really the really big prospect coming out during my junior season. Then all those guys committed for BYU as juniors so that didn't help me too much, but I had a really good senior year. I guess it was just a little too late by then.

"I was honorable mention all-league my sophomore year as a quarterback. Then I was first team all-league as a defensive back my junior year and again honorable mention as a quarterback. My senior year is when I got first team all-league as a linebacker and third team all-league as a quarterback, and then I got second team all-state as a linebacker and second team all-state as a quarterback."

Probert was also selected to the Less Schwab All-Star Bowl game that pits the best in-state talent in a north vs. south game.

"It was like the pro-bowl for the state of Oregon," said Probert. "I was selected to play in the Less Swab All-Star game that matches up the best from the north against the south."

For his on-field accomplishments, Probert received a lot of recruiting attention during his senior year despite a slow start his junior season.

"I received a lot of letter, a lot of letters," Probert said. "I got so many letters I can't even count them all. I'm guessing I got letters from around 70 different schools, but probably 20 of them were from D-I schools.

"I got a lot of letters from Oregon, Cal, Stanford. The coaches from Stanford, Oregon, and Oregon State all came out to visit me, and they all sent me letters and said they wanted me to come down and visit. I wasn't able to go down because of my financial situation. Oregon actually sent me a letter about two or three months ago saying they could not offer me a scholarship. They said they ran out of room and gave them all away, but the interesting thing is they didn't even invite me to walk on like many of the other schools did. Both Oregon State and Portland State invited me to walk on, and those were the two schools that I had kept in contact with the most."

Probert has always dreamed of following the tradition of his forefathers. His grandfather and great-grandfather both played football for BYU, so to have the chance to be a Cougar and play under shadow of Y Mountain like his grandparents had done before him was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

"Well, playing at BYU has always been a dream for me ever since I was a little toddler," Probert said. "Playing at BYU has been a family tradition. My great grandfather Leo Probert got a scholarship to play there, and my grandfather Marion Probert got a scholarship to play there and they retired his number 81 jersey at BYU. My grandfather Marion played both ways at BYU. He played both tight end and defensive end while there."

Number 81 is one of the few jerseys now proudly hanging within confines of LaVell Edwards Stadium. Marion Probert died in a tragic accident not many years after he finished his football career at BYU.

"He sadly passed away at the age of 35 from a plane crash," said Seth of his grandfather. "But I'm sure up in heaven he loves the fact that I'm going to play for BYU."

Last Thursday, Probert was on BYU's campus to check out the campus and facilities and to speak with BYU coaches.

"I came up just this last Thursday," Probert said. "I came up and talked with one of my grandpa's really close friends. He was there to greet me and we talked for around 15 minutes. He just loves BYU's football program and he loved my grandpa and was willing to do anything for him, so since I'm his grandson that was one of his hopes that I could one day be as good as he was. He was there to greet me at the door and we talked for a little bit, and then he led me to Coach Paul Tidwell, and we talked about BYU for a little bit. Coach Lamb was there, and he's a funny guy, and he basically gave us a tour of the student athlete building. We walked through the coaches' rooms, the meeting rooms, the offense and defensive meeting rooms. I really liked the defensive meeting room. They really emphasized effort there.

"Then he took us down to the weight room and then to the locker room, which was pretty cool because all the guys were in the locker room. After that we went into the physical therapist room and talked there for around 25 minutes about what it is I'll be doing."

Although Probert was used by his high school coaches at various positions on both the offense and defensive side of the balls, the coaches are waiting to see how he fills out physically to decide on a future position.

"BYU and Coach Lamb didn't really know where my body will be when I'm done growing," said Probert. "I've heard either linebacker or tight end, but I really don't know. Playing receiver would be amazing but I really don't know how my body will fill out while I'm on my mission. Both of my brothers gained 60 pounds while on their missions, so I could follow in their footsteps and gain that much and be a really good tight end because I have really good hands. It doesn't really matter to me though. I just want to play at BYU, so it doesn't really matter. I'll do what ever I have to do.

"All of the coaches from all the other schools recruited me as a linebacker. Only one school, Portland State, recruited me as a quarterback. One small school recruited me as a running back also."

Probert has already been cleared by the NCAA to play D-I sports. His plans are to go to BYU in the fall and take limited classes in order to greyshirt. That way, he will return from his LDS mission with five years to play four.

"I think I'm going to greyshirt my first semester," Probert said. "I think that's what I'm going to do my first semester this coming fall. I talked to all the coaches, and Coach Lamb was the one that actually preferred this idea for me. That way it gives me five years to play four years of college football after my mission as a walk-on. I really think I can earn [a scholarship] when I get back."

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