"Yeah, Coach Mendenhall was going to be there along with a few other coaches," said Michael Yeck. "Coach Higgins flew down and Coach Weber flew down that I know of. They were going to be there but right as they flew in there was a terrible storm and they weren't able to land."
Hodgkiss, who is also from the Dallas, Texas area, had prepared a fifteen-minute talk for the occasion, but when Coach Mendenhall couldn't make it, adjustments had to be made.
"[Hodgkiss is] from Texas and it was really cool because he had a fifteen-minute lesson prepared and was able to stretch it out for thirty minutes," said Yeck while chuckling. "It was a good talk too and wasn't something that dragged on, despite having to make up the time.
"The fireside was held at our building that I go to so I got there early to help set up chairs. It was a pretty decent turnout but wasn't quite a large as we were expecting because six stakes had been invited. Right before the fireside the weather had taken a turn for the worst. I think many stake presidents felt a little uncomfortable with their youth driving a couple of miles away in a really bad thunder storm. So a bunch of people didn't come but the whole chapel and a little bit of the first overflow was filled. It was a pretty good turn out."
Upon learning that Coach Mendenhall would more than likely miss the fireside due to the weather, the stake president informed the congregation.
"Our stake president got up and told us the situation," Yeck said. "At the time, Coach Mendenhall and the other coaches were stuck in Oklahoma City. He told that they were going to try and get to the fireside as fast as they could. He said they would be late but that they would get there, so because of that he let Hodgkiss get up and speak. It was kind of funny because when he got up he said, ‘Man, I knew Coach Mendenhall would do this to me.' He got up and gave a really nice talk. He hit on three gospel points which were obedience, diligence and humility.
"It was kind of cool because he gave some insights and described some of the drills and how he plays safety. He was like, ‘It get miserable for us sometimes doing these pursuit drills.' He said how they do these drills at the beginning of practice and it makes them tired, but it's taught them how to perform at a higher level while being tired.
Following the talk by Hodgkiss, the stake president announced that the conclusion of the fireside would be cut short due to it being Mother's Day.
"After he spoke our stake president got back up and said, ‘Being that it is Mother's Day, if it had not been so we could probably stretch it out and wait for Coach Mendenhall to arrive,'" Yeck said. "At this time it was close to 8:15 and he just said at this point in time with it being Mother's Day that they weren't going to try and stretch it out any further. So people left and that was when we had an opportunity to get up and talk to Corby, Brother Jacobson [Evan Jacobson, who is the father of BYU wide receiver McKay Jacobson, who is now serving a full time LDS mission to Japan] and Rick Wahlin, who played outside linebacker at BYU.
"Brother Wahlin was going to start at BYU as a sophomore and played in the spring game and had a neck injury. He was told that the space where the vertebra and skull met was too little there to allow him to play football. He was told that he would never play football again. We talked to him for quite awhile. He gave a fireside once where he talked about his situation. He talked about how all he thought about was playing football and when he was told he would never play again he just felt like the whole world was turning against him. He said, ‘Before I was just concentrating on being the best football player I could be. Now I just need to concentrate on being the best father, the best husband and the best person I can be.'"
BYU offensive lineman recruit Manaaki Vaitai was also in attendance and gave the closing prayer.
"Yeah, [Vaitai] was there and gave the closing prayer," Yeck said. "I don't really know him very well. I did meet him and stuff and he is in my stake. I was looking on some website and saw a highlight tape of him on there. I was really impressed with that."
Prior to attending this fireside, Yeck went up to Kansas State for their Junior Day and spring game.
"I think it went well," said Yeck. "It was a pretty well-done program they put up. We went up for Junior Day and then we went up for the spring game and that was a lot of fun."
Yeck has also recently received two new scholarship offers.
"My two new recent offers are the University of New Mexico and the University of Arizona," Yeck said. "I now have offers from Kansas State, Kansas, BYU, Utah, the University of Houston, Arizona, New Mexico and Missouri."
Because the recruiting situation is becoming more and more intense, Yeck has decided not to wait much longer in making a decision.
"I was originally going to wait to give my commitment," said Yeck. "I kind of wanted to wait for awhile. I've been thinking about it and Coach Mendenhall is in town and he hasn't used up his one phone call yet. He's supposed to call me tonight. I'll talk to him and stuff. I was originally going to wait until later but I'm actually going to do it a little earlier now."
So does that mean he may commit to Coach Mendenhall tonight when he speaks with him?
"No, not tonight," said Yeck. "I don't think I'll commit tonight but I probably will soon. It's kind of one of those things I really want to think out. I'm not for sure on this but I may commit within the next few weeks. That would be my guess."
One reason why Yeck does want to make a commitment early is because of all the pressure the recruiting process has placed on him. Yeck now feels he wants to get the process out of the way in order to not worry about it as much come his senior year.
"You kind of start to see the benefits of an early decision," said Yeck. "BYU, Kansas State and Utah are my top three.
"I went to the summer camp at Kansas State and was really impressed with them. They were the first ones to really kind of open my eyes. I never really thought that I was good enough to play football. I just thought I was a mediocre football player and never really thought I would ever get recruited by a D-I college. I went up to Kansas State and they saw some of the good things I had. They saw my size and saw what I could do and they were like, ‘Oh wow, we're pretty interested in you.' They were the first college to offer me. I was pretty impressed with them and I got a chance to really know their coaching staff.
"I was able to take a visit up to Utah the same week BYU had their Junior Day and their spring game. I went up there and got a chance to sit down with the coaches and to take a tour of their facilities. It's a really nice campus that looks out over the Salt Lake Valley. I really enjoyed their campus and their facilities are nice.
"With BYU, growing up it was really the only school I've ever really known. I don't know, it was just kind of a special feeling I got when I was there at BYU. I really got to know the coaches and in speaking with Coach Mendenhall I was really impressed with him and think he's a great guy. Coach Weber, who actually flew down, was at my spring practice today watching me. It was really pretty cool. I think he's a great guy and Coach Higgins, who is actually my recruiter, also came down as was at practice today and he's a great guy too.
"You know, the facilities are great at BYU and the whole atmosphere is great and being at the spring game was great too. I just had a really special feeling about BYU and that's probably why they are my top choice right now."
As time wears on Yeck, feels he is closer to making a decision.
"The picture is becoming clearer to me," said Yeck. "I was talking to my parents and stuff, and one of the things Coach Mendenhall said was, ‘If we fail to recruit the best LDS athletes from around the country, then we've kind of failed at our jobs.' I was kind of talking to my parents about this. I was like, ‘Well, I've been given a great blessing and I kind of owe it to Heavenly Father to fulfill my spiritual needs and grow to become a great person and a great football player, [and] to also go to a place that will allow me to grow closer to the Lord."