BYU In The Hunt For Top Cali QB

BYU joins the hunt with 16 other schools for the services of arguably the top-rated California quarterback, and possibly one of the top pigskin slingers in the nation.

It's not often you hear of a high school junior quarterback with 17 scholarship offers, but that exactly what Scripps Ranch High School quarterback Tate Forcier has. The 6-foot-1-inch, 190-pound quarterback from Southern California has already become a hot prospect.

"I have 17 offers," said Forcier. "I have offers from LSU, Michigan, Auburn, Penn State, Baylor, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Maryland, Stanford, Iowa, Virginia, South Florida, BYU, Wisconsin, Oregon, Arizona and Northwestern."

Forcier is a quarterback that has the abilities to not only pass the ball but to run with it as well. As a junior, he rushed for 733 yards and six touchdowns on 66 rushes. He also threw the ball for 2,387 yards and 21 touchdowns with only five interceptions.

"I was All-County, All-State," Forcier said. "I got All-League. I got invited to the Army All-American Bowl, which is cool.

Despite the many options, Forcier doesn't have a top school at this point in time. The California quarterback wants to take a methodical approach in order to evaluate what would be the best option for him at the next level.

"I'm keeping my options open," said Forcier. "I don't want to list any top schools right now until I take some spring and summer visits. I just want to work the process and not choose a top school right now until I better understand what my options are and lay out all the cards on the table."

One reason that Forcier is taking a level approach to the recruiting process is due to two older brothers that have already gone through the process. His oldest brother Jason Forcier signed a scholarship to play for Michigan but later transferred to Stanford. His other brother Chris Forcier is a redshirt quarterback at UCLA.

"They've given me a lot of advice and it really helps," Forcier said. "It's just one of the advantages that I have that a lot of kids don't have."

"My brother Jason is actually competing for the starting job at Stanford and came from Michigan. He was the backup his redshirt freshman year at Michigan behind [Chad] Henne, but he decided to transfer to Stanford his sophomore year. There is a rule that you have to sit out a year once you transfer, so he's going to be a redshirt junior next year at Stanford.

"Chris, who is my middle brother, is at UCLA. He's also going to be competing for the starting job this year. Chris redshirted this year and is actually a true freshman. They weren't going to play him this year so he did what was best and redshirted."

Having so many offers and schools to choose from, Forcier will have a lot of personal studying to do in order to become more familiar with the schools that have taken an interest in him. But what does he know about BYU, a team with the nation's current longest winning streak and a passing offense that has been ranked among the top offenses nationally for the past two years?

"I spoke to Coach Doman who is the quarterbacks coach at BYU," said Forcier. "One thing he did tell me is that BYU is a special place and that it's a lot different than a lot of other schools. With BYU, it's about business and getting your work done. It's about having fun later, but right now it's about getting your work done now. That was something he stated and wanted to get across to me.

"He said they've had several great quarterbacks like Steve Young [and] Steve Sarkisian, who is now with USC. It's cool, because Steve Young actually fits my style quite a bit. You know, he's not the tallest guy or the fastest guy, but he was someone that just went out there and got the job done. It's good when schools remind you that they had guys that remind you of you."

So what does Forcier think of Coach Doman?

"If I don't make it out to their school in the spring - because like I said I have so many offers - I know [BYU's coaches are] going to try and make it out here for my spring ball," said Forcier. "I've never met Coach Doman in person, but he seems like a pretty cool guy over the phone. He's always energetic and he's always fired up all the time. I know a lot of coaches are like that, but how many coaches are like that at 9:30 at night? I had talked to him pretty late at night and it was pretty cool because he took the time to talk to me, and I appreciated it."

Forcier, who is not LDS, understands that football players of character from many different faiths have gone on to play at BYU. When asked about whether the fact that BYU is a private LDS university discouraged him at all, Forcier said that wasn't the case.

"No, [Coach Doman] said you don't have to be Mormon," said Forcier. "There are a lot of kids that go to BYU from California, and that's an interest. It definitely makes you feel comfortable when you have kids going to the same school that are from your area."

One such California kid from Forcier's neck of the woods is current Cougar Vic So'oto, whom he personally knows.

"[So'oto] said it's just different and that some people go to BYU because they want to be different and they don't want to be like the other schools," said Forcier. "My brother Chris played out at Carlsbad his sophomore year, so he played with Vic during his senior year.

"When we see [the So'oto family] we're always happy to see them because we haven't seen them in awhile. My dad and Vic's dad got along really well because we were two football families, and football families usually always get along well, so that's how we know Vic and his brother [Wally So'oto], who is still down at Carlsbad. He said he loves it out there. Vic said he loves it out there and that they have a great coaching staff and [he] loves playing football for them. Vic is really cool and I used to work out with him. Vic is just a great player and I know he's going to do some great things out there at BYU. The whole program is up and rising."

At this point in time, Forcier knows there is more to learn about BYU.

"I haven't heard too much about the honor code," Forcier said. "But, I'm sure in time I will. That's just the different thing about BYU."

One aspect Forcier is going to look at is how comfortable he feels at the different colleges, regardless of size or reputation.

"I'm going to go where I feel is best," said Forcier. "It doesn't matter if they're a big school like LSU or a smaller school. I mean, look how well BYU did this year. They've cranked their program up and they beat UCLA in the Las Vegas Bowl. It just shows that their program is up and coming. I don't want any school to think that just because they're not [LSU or Michigan] … they don't have a chance. I'm going to go where I feel is best, and if BYU is the place, then BYU is the place. It's going to be a process and it's definitely something you don't want to rush."

When deciding on a school, Forcier is going to look at a few things that will help him decide where he wishes to go. The first and foremost is academics, which bodes well for the Cougars. BYU's football program led the nation in overall GPA.

"You want to go to a school where, if you don't make it to the next level, you have the academic side to help solve that problem," said Forcier. "So definitely academics have to be one of the most important things."

Second, Forcier wants to look at the status of the football program and its coaches.

"They have to have a pretty good football program," said Forcier. "They don't have to have the best, but I want it to be a program that, if they haven't been up at the top, they're up and coming. As part of the recruiting process, I have to do my research to see who they picked up in recruiting and see what new coaches they've got. I want to feel that bond with the coaches, because they're going to be the guys that I'm going to go through my whole entire career with, and you're going to have to like them. I definitely want to feel comfortable with the coaches."

Forcier also plans to take into account the athletes in the program.

"I also want to feel comfortable around the players," he said. "Some of it is just the smaller things to look for. My brothers told me to look for the smaller things. I want to see how the players are and see how they like it. Just small things like that."

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