Pendleton Adjusting Well To Big Time Football

Utah's 5-A Player of the Year out of Bingham High School is showing on the Cougar practice field why BYU coaches offered someone who was at one time a relatively unknown football player at the high school level.

Jordan Pendleton reported to BYU's fall camp looking like an athlete that had already been in the program for about two years. The true freshman player resembles more of an outside linebacker than a safety in Mendenhall's 3-4-4 defense.

"He's a good looking athlete isn't he?," said Pendleton's former high school head coach Dave Peck. "If you picture a perfect body for an athlete that's a defensive back at 6'3", 215-pounds that can fly around, he's it. I think Jordan is going to be as good athletically as any kid in their program."

"I'm just pretty much trying to learn everything right now," said Pendleton. "Everything is so much faster than it was in high school. The biggest challenge for me right now is learning the coverages on the defense. That's been my biggest challenge because there are so many of them, and so many things that goes with each one that it can be tough at times."

Pendleton played an important role in leading 5-A Bingham High School to a state championship as both a receiver and safety. Now relegated to just safety duties, Pendleton feels he was prepared well for Division-I football by the coaches at Bingham High School.

"There's not much difference between what I do now than what I did in high school at this position," said Pendleton. "The one thing that is different is I have a lot more responsibility. Other than that the only real difference is we have a lot more coverages now that we have to learn and so it's harder that way."

"I spent a lot of time down there at BYU in the spring and think he can compete alongside anyone in their program," said Coach Peck. "The only thing he'll need to learn is the defensive scheme and get used to playing at that level, but once he does he should be fine."

"When I was in high school I played receiver and defensive back, so I wasn't just specialized in one position and didn't just focus on that one thing," said Pendleton. "I now have to work on a lot more my technique and my footwork. This is one thing I now have to just focus on. I feel like I've progressed a lot more now than when I first started practicing last Saturday."

Another adjustment Pendleton is making is playing against the caliber of talent at the college level. The size, speed and overall athleticism of those he is currently facing on the field were immediately noticeable.

"Everyone is bigger and faster out here," said Pendleton while chuckling. "All these receivers out here are really good, and so you can't let down your guard for a second or you'll be in trouble really quickly. They're all so much faster than the receivers I played against back in high school. I have to get to the point where things come more [naturally] for me, rather than reading and then reacting to the situation."

Pendleton feels he made the right choice in choosing BYU out of high school. Being away from home for the first time, he is now getting adjusted to college life and football at the D-I level.

"I like it down here and I'm excited I came to BYU," Pendleton said. "I just got to get used to it. I gotta get used to living away from home and being out at practice this much. I have to get used to all the meetings we have all the time and those type of things, but I'm having fun and learning every day. It's been a good experience so far."

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