Future Cougars Face Off In Scrimmage

Utah 5-A State Champions Bingham High School faced off in a scrimmage series against Utah 4-A State Champions Timpview High School last week. The two teams field some of the top talent in the state of Utah, and some of those players have pledged a verbal commitment to Coach Mendenhall and his staff.

Bingham High School has one of the top football programs within the state of Utah. Head Coach Dave Peck and his assistant coaches have developed some quality talent on their roster. Last year, safety and wide receiver Jordan Pendleton was named Utah's 5-A Most Valuable Player and best overall athlete, and signed his letter of intent last February.

This year, Bingham High School currently has one of the top kickers and tight ends in the country in Justin Sorensen and Austin Holt, respectively. Both have also committed to Brigham Young University.

On the Timpview side of the field, the Thunderbirds Head Coach Louis Wong and his assistant coaches have also developed players for the college level. BYU has signed three players from last year's Timpview State Championship team: defensive tackle Eathyn Manumaleuna and offensive linemen Houston Reynolds and Famika Anae.

This year the Cougar coaching staff has received early verbal commits from outside linebacker Michael Alisa and brothers Craig and Kevin Bills (playing safety and linebacker, respectively), and has extended offers to linemen Xavier Suafilo and Tui Crichton, who both play on both sides of the ball.

This past meeting between Bingham and Timpview featured some intriguing match-ups between some of the top talents in the state of Utah, and quite possibly in the west. Nationally renowned tight end Austin Holt faced off against Timpview's sophomore safety sensation Craig Bills in a session of scrimmage series that left both athletes happy that they will be future teammates.

"It was great competition," said Bills. "We were all just battling and fired up because we were playing against Austin Holt and he's going to be going to BYU too. We just wanted to show what we had to, so we just battled back and forth and it was a good scrimmage. Me and Austin went up against each other a few times."

Bills, a hard-hitting and tough safety known for laying the helmet on wide receivers over the middle, wanted to see how he stacked up against one of the top tight ends in the country.

"[Holt is] really good, but I wasn't really intimidated by him because he's the No. 2 tight end in the country," Bills said. "It just made me want to hit him harder. He's one of the best at his position and I hope that I can be the best in the country at my position. I just wanted to show that I wasn't a fluke either.

"Austin's got great hands and they used him a lot during the scrimmage, but even though he can run good routes and catch the ball really well, he is also a really good blocker. He didn't seem like he was one of those kids that is into himself even though he is a good player.

"He seems like a really good kid and he's not just a receiving type of a tight end, but is also a good blocker as well. I can see him being one of those great tight ends at BYU. I don't know how much he weighs right now, but I can see him getting bigger and stronger at BYU, and it seems to be that he has the body type to fill out and be one of those top tight ends at BYU."

Although he wasn't able to participate in the scrimmage due to a minor injury, Mike Alisa also felt Holt was a great player and was even surprised to see him playing a little defense.

"I didn't get a chance to talk to [Holt] all that much but he seemed to be one of Bingham's top go-to guys," said Alisa. "He went out as a receiver a lot and when they did pass the ball it was to him. They lined him up as a d-linemen as well, and that really surprised me. I knew he was a good offensive player but I didn't expect to see him play on the defensive line. I figured it was because he's a good athlete which is why they did that."

So after facing Holt during their scrimmage, does Bills think Holt is worthy of being ranked as one of the best tight ends in the nation?

"Yeah, I do," Bills said. "I was very impressed with him. We've got some good talent up here in Utah. I know everyone is always talking about the talent down in California, but I know we could compete against those kids."

Although Bills is a class younger than Holt, he is excited to know he'll have a chance to play with him at BYU.

"Yeah, I am excited," Bills said. "It will be a lot of fun. After our teams scrimmaged we shook hands and I just said, ‘Nice job Austin and you did good.' I just told him that I want to see him at BYU and good luck next year. He's a nice kid and we just congratulated each other after the scrimmage. I think both of our teams are going to be good this year, and I think both Bingham and Timpview will compete for a state championship again."

Many BYU fans already know a little bit about future Cougars Austin Holt, Craig and Kevin Bills, and Michael Alisa through previous articles. However, one prospect that BYU fans don't know much about it 6-foot-3-inch, 285-pound sophomore offensive and defensive lineman Tui Crichton, who has received a scholarship offer from BYU.

"Well, I've talked with [Crichton] and Xavier [Suafilo] about BYU," Bills said. "I was talking to [Crichton] at the camp and he told me about the feeling he gets at BYU. He loves BYU and he told me that whenever he talks about it he says, ‘I just get a good feeling whenever I talk about BYU.' I told him that's how I felt and that's why I made my decision to commit to BYU. I told him that I would love to play with him and to just be sure that when he makes a decision that it's what he really wants to do. I'm hoping he'll commit to BYU, and it sounds like he's big on BYU."

"Yeah, me, Craig, and Kevin are always telling Tui, ‘Come on Tui, what are you waiting for?'" said Alisa. "We talk to him about BYU and are always saying things like that to him. I just think he wants to see what his options will be."

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