When it comes to children being the recipient of their parent's athletic genes, big 6-foot-8-inch, 260-pound offensive tackle Michael Yeck would definitely fall into that category. The big Texan has received offers from Houston, Kansas, Kansas State, Missouri, Utah and BYU. He has received interest from other universities such as Texas Tech, Texas A&M and Oklahoma, and could receive offers from any one of those colleges at any time now.
Last weekend, the Yeck family few into the state of Utah to visit the campuses of both BYU and the UofU. After a brief visit to the UofU, the Yeck family attended a fireside held by BYU Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall.
"It was great and I was really impressed with the fireside," Yeck said. "The names of those that spoke escape me, but one was an offensive lineman and the other was a linebacker. It was really cool. You know, I was really impressed and I liked it a lot. I think it's great that Coach Mendenhall has his players doing that, and I think it's a good thing. My whole family was there except for one sister that stayed behind in Texas.
"I think my family was really impressed with the whole thing too. My dad thought Bronco's fireside was totally excellent. He felt that it really puts the perspective on what Coach Mendenhall is trying to do there at BYU. He really enjoyed it."
The fireside set the tone for the trip early for the Yeck family. On the following day, the family got a chance to visit BYU's campus, talk to coaches and see the facilities during Junior Day.
"On Junior Day we all gathered into a room and Coach Mendenhall talked to us," Yeck said. "That was another thing that kind of stood out to me and that I really liked. You know, BYU isn't for everyone and on Junior Day's at other schools the coaches always tell you that you'll fit in here at this school no matter what. Coach Mendenhall didn't do that. He came right out and said, ‘You might not fit in here at BYU. If you come here to this school you're going to be held accountable for what you do. BYU might not be for you.' I was very impressed by that. His openness and honesty was nice to hear.
"At the same time it's a whole different level of commitment that you as an athlete have to have in order to be there. Coach Mendenhall said it was one thing to just be committed to football, but to be committed to football and spiritual development is what separates them from others. That's pretty impressive."
Along with the impressive fireside and Coach Mendenhall, Yeck was also impressed with the facilities BYU had to offer to help athletes develop their physical talents.
"You know, one of the things that I know is I'm going to be spending a lot of time in the weight room obviously," said Yeck. "BYU had just this great weight room. It was pretty big and I know that the size doesn't really matter, but it was still big and they had really nice equipment to help you develop the physical side. They have these huge glass windows that look out over towards the mountains and it was a really nice view. It was a really nice weight room and I really liked that, and then their locker room was definitely one of the nicest I've ever seen. It was very nice."
After attending the fireside and being on campus to listen to the coaches and to see the facilities, Yeck feels he would fit in rather well at BYU.
"I kind of got that impression that I would fit in great there at BYU," said Yeck. "You know, being Mormon and having grown up that way all my life and going to school where kids are Mormon too I think would be great. I personally feel that I would fit in great there."
While on campus, Yeck was also shown how BYU helps high school athlete's transition into student athletes at the college level. The rigors of playing sports and developing one's self into a D-1 caliber athlete requires a lot of devotion and puts a lot on the shoulders of the athlete. Yeck feels BYU's program is set up to help the student athletes become successful in both departments.
"They took us to the athletic learning center," Yeck said. "They were like, ‘These are our computer labs.' They then introduced us to the guy that would basically be taking care of us. When you're a freshman for your first semester at least, they kind of like give you a personal mentor to help plan your schedule and help work with your strengths in what you want to major in and stuff like that. When you're there you have tutors available to help you. BYU is a pretty impressive school and it's pretty hard to get in there, and I know I would struggle to get in there if I didn't have the football side of things to help me out.
"I think their academics are very well in order. It's really neat because they want to help us transfer from being a high school student athlete to a college level student athlete, and they have set this up so that way we're not overwhelmed. You go to college to play football and get an education, but BYU wants to make sure that you're getting an education while you're playing football."
Having visited many college programs, including the likes of Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Kansas State and the UofU, Yeck feels that if he committed to BYU he would have no regrets.
"I really did like and enjoyed my visit to BYU," said Yeck. "In talking with my parents I can definitely say that if I chose BYU I would definitely not have any regrets about doing so. I would love going there and would never look back and say, ‘What if?' However, I might have those regrets going to another school. This is something I'm going to think about when I make my final decision."
In regards to making a decision on which campus he would like to spend the next four of five years of his life, Yeck is going to take the advice of UofU Head Coach Kyle Whittingham during this summer.
"When I was talking with Coach Whittingham he gave us some really sound advice," said Yeck. "He said, ‘It would be nice for you to commit before your senior season. That way you can focus on playing football and can focus on your senior season without having the recruiting process slow you down.' I think I'm a little closer to making a decision, and actually I'm on the road right now to Kansas State's Junior Day. I don't know if I'll make my decision directly after my visit to Kansas State, but I'll probably wait until summer. I think this summer would be a prime time for me to really sit down and think about all of my options and then make my decision."