Tribute To Jason Long: A Cougar At Heart

Jason Long was an incredible athlete for Lone Peak High School who wanted nothing more than to play for the Cougars of BYU. Even though he was sent home early during his mission due to cancer, he still dreamed of beating his illness for the purpose of playing at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

Having had the privilege of interviewing many top quality athletes across the country and over the years, there aren't too many conversations you can specifically recall many years later, but with Long it was hard to forget.

Long was a well spoken young man. With him being fun loving by nature and always excited to do interviews, it's easy to recall conversations we had and the voice that was always happy to receive your calls. Long was someone easy to cheer for. Having watched him match up against BYU recruit Luke Ashworth in the state championship game in Rice-Eccles Stadium, and having also watched him from the sidelines of Lone Peak High School, I hoped he would one day receive that coveted scholarship from BYU that he was always hoping for.

It wasn't long before Long was doing what every Division I hopeful does. He attended a Nike camp in Oregon in an effort to gain greater recognition for his athletic abilities, and faired very well. He recorded a 4.54 forty, a 4.18 shuttle, and a 31.5 vertical. During the camp, he established himself as one of the top defensive backs within his group that day.

As a junior, Long recorded seven pass deflections, four interceptions and 60 tackles. Offensively, he caught about 20 passes for more than 400 yards and averaged 20.4 yards per catch. He had a 3.49 core GPA and a 3.53 cumulative GPA. In the weight room he squatted 335 pounds and scored a 56.7 on his SPARQ rating.

Long's accomplishments didn't stop there. He served on a regional youth advisory council, and was a lifelong scout and a senior patrol leader in the Boy Scouts of America, team captain of Lone Peak High School's football team, track team captain, three-sport athlete as a sophomore (football, basketball and baseball), and the 1998 WBBA Little League World Series Co-MVP. He also lettered in football and track as a junior, qualified for state in the 4x100 meter relay, and was the backup goalie for the Lone Peak 17-and-under soccer team for indoor AAU league play.

It wasn't long before he began receiving interest from Mountain West Conference schools, as well as Utah State Pac-10 school Arizona State. Despite the added interest, that one scholarship he coveted most continued to elude him.

"I'm a big BYU fan," Long once said during a Total Blue Sports interview. "Utah State and other schools have shown interest, but I didn't show interest back because BYU is at the top of my list. I'm going to work out with the team this summer doing seven-on-sevens, and hopefully they will offer me a scholarship. If not, I will go on my mission in September and when I come back hopefully they will have a scholarship."

Following his graduation from Lone Peak, Long heeded the call to serve a full-time LDS mission to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. However, his service to the Lord would be cut short due to an illness that would prove to be his toughest challenge in life.

Long was diagnosed with Leukemia in August of 2006 while serving his mission. He was soon sent home for treatment and to be with his family. While he struggled through the natural difficulties of fighting cancer and the physically debilitating treatments that followed, one would never have known the suffering he was enduring by the tone of his voice.

Even if it had been a while since his last phone interview, it didn't take long to remember who it was you were speaking to because of his energy, positive nature and enthusiasm. He spoke positively about beating his illness to fulfill his dream of one day suiting up in Cougar blue.

On September 19, 2007, Long was again called by the Lord to complete the mission he was called home early from. Jason passed away from his illness quietly with his family by his bedside. He fought his illness right up the very end, thinking he would beat his affliction and would walk-on at BYU so he could run out of the tunnel as a Cougar on game day, and although he never had the opportunity in this life to do so, don't think for a moment he won't accomplish his goal.

So when the Cougars of BYU run out of that tunnel to take the field against the Fighting Falcons of Air Force this weekend, I'll not only be cheering for the Cougars, I'll also be cheering for Jason Long.

The Obituary of Jason Robert Long

The obituary below will appear in this Sunday's newspapers on behalf of Jason Long. We wish to express our love and support for the Long family during this hard and difficult time.

September 13, 1986 – September 19, 2007

Jason Robert Long (J-Lo) of Lindon, Utah, previously of Alpine, Utah passed away due to complications from Leukemia treatment. He passed into the Spirit World quietly surrounded by family.

Jason was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Leukemia in August of 2006 while serving an LDS mission in Harrisburg Pennsylvania. He returned home to receive quality treatment through the Huntsman Cancer Hospital.

Jason was a 2005 graduate of Lone Peak High School where he was the captain of the football team and track team and was an all-state defensive back. Upon his return from his mission (and recovery from cancer) he was slated to play football at BYU.

Jason loved people and animals. He was highly regarded by those whom he associated with. During his remission he coached football at Lone Peak, did volunteer work for ARUP and took BYU internet courses.

In his final words he wanted to express his gratitude to all those who assisted in his care or prayed for him.

He is survived by his mother and father Sheri and Kevin Long, brothers Jeremy, Joshua, Jordan, and Adam; sisters Anna, Alena, Jeanelle, and Joleah; Sister-in-law Crystal, Fiancé and high school sweetheart Paige Palmer and best friend Elder Ryan Comer; nephew Jayden, neice Kjersti, Grandparents George and Norma Long and Bonnie and Jerry Holman; Aunt Sandra Holman, uncle and aunts Jim and Linda Bossenecker, Jerry and Jill Long, and eight cousins. His uncle Michael Robert Long preceded him in death.

Services will be held Monday, September 24, 2007 at 11:00 AM in the Lindon Stake Center, 1050 E. 100 N., Lindon, Utah. The family will receive friends from 9:45 – 10:45 am. Internment will follow at the Alpine City Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers please make financial donations to the Huntsman Cancer Institute and/or donate blood to ARUP.

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