Welcome BYU's Newest LB: Iona Pritchard

Coach Mendenhall and his staff received a verbal commitment Tuesday from Bingham linebacker Iona Pritchard. The senior linebacker marks the third commit this year from the Miner program.

"I got an email this morning around 8:30 or so," said father George Pritchard. "It was from Coach Brandon Doman and it said for me to give him a call, and so I called him right back. When I called him he said, ‘We would love to offer your boy.'"

Being that it was UA week, Iona Pritchard was home and wanted to come down with his father to BYU to talk to the coaching staff in person.

As Iona and his proud father drove down to BYU to speak with Coach Mendenhall, George had some personal time with his son.

"On the way down Iona and I talked about how this is where he wanted to be," George said. "He's always felt this was the place for him since two years ago when he heard Coach Mendenhall speak in person. He fell in love with the environment, and BYU is a place where spirituality and the educational side of things seem to come first. When Coach Mendenhall handed him his offer he made him read each line, and it read ‘spirituality, education and football,' in that order. Those are the things that are most important."

The Cougar coaching staff had watched Iona's film together on Monday. Later that night, Coach Mendenhall reportedly felt that Iona was exactly the type of player he wanted on his team. It has been mentioned previously that Coach Mendenhall seeks inspiration in regards to specific recruits, and George said he believes that with his son Iona, that was the case.

"Coach [Mendenhall] was saying that when they watched the film last night it just came to him," George said. "It came to him, whether by revelation or [whatnot], that Iona needed to come to BYU, [and] that there was no doubt in his mind and he was fully convinced."

George talked about the privilege of playing for BYU, and how his son is ready for the responsibility that comes with that privilege.

"Iona is ready to take upon him new challenges and represent The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to the world through football, knowing that the world will have their eye on him," said George. "He's ready to take on new challenges and they definitely do things differently down there, and that's a good thing for my son because that's what he's all about too."

For the past two years, Iona had his eye fully focused on the prize. He first started playing football as a freshman in high school, where he would be switched to multiple positions as he learned to play the game. He has done what was needed, both by taking the advice of coaches and applying it to the field during football camps, and by being diligent in the classroom.

"Coach Mendenhall said [Iona] was one of the first kids they've seen over a two-year period that was diligent and did everything they had asked of him to do; things like come to the camps, come to the combines, play hard and keep doing this, and he did that," said George. "After seeing his film and whatnot, the unanimous agreement of the other coaches was there. Coach Mendenhall said he wanted this to happen and that he was completely convinced and has all the trust in Iona."

Coach Mendenhall and the Pritchards had a personal meeting, where expectations were presented, and the unique nature of what it means to receive a scholarship from BYU was emphasized.

"Coach Mendenhall spoke to us and said that [Iona] could go and play football anywhere," said George. "He told Iona that he could go to school anywhere, but there is only one place on this planet where you're only going to get all three aspects of spirituality, school and football. They extended the offer and Iona just said, ‘Hey, this was the place where I want to be.'"

Total Blue Sports will follow up with Iona Pritchard about his BYU scholarship offer and his commitment to become BYU's newest Cougar.

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