Kehl one of the Giants' Newest Linebackers

Total Blue Sports caught up with newly drafted New York Giants linebacker Bryan Kehl to learn of the experience he had with his family during the NFL draft.

Bryan Kehl has been a standout defensive performer for the Cougars of BYU for the past two years. A return missionary from Toronto, Canada Mission, Kehl will be heading back up to the northeastern part of the Americas as a newly drafted member of the world champions New York Giants.

"You know, it was a great weekend on draft day," said an excited Kehl. "My family got together and we made a weekend of it. Our family always gets together anyways, but we just kind of mixed the draft day experience in there.

"We all just sat down and watched the first couple of rounds on Saturday night. We all just enjoyed ourselves doing that. Then Sunday came around and everybody was there for breakfast and hanging out. I think I had just finished a game of chess when the call came out. I had gotten up and walked over to get some food and the next thing I know I was a New York Giant."

Kehl soon received a congratulatory phone call from his agent.

"I don't know if the Giants called my agent and told him, or if he just saw my draft flash across the screen," Kehl said. "He called me after and congratulated me, but I did receive a call from a scout right before my name flashed across the screen who said that they just submitted my name and said he would call me back in a couple of minutes."

The next thing the Kehl family knew, Bryan had become the first of two linebackers picked by the Super Bowl champions.

"Then next thing I knew my name flashed across the screen and everybody went wild," said Kehl with a smile. "They called me back and put me on the phone with Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. I talked to him a little bit and then I talked to a secretary. After that, I talked to a linebackers coach for a few minutes and we went over some stuff.

"Being drafted by the Giants was kind of complementary. They lost two linebackers to free agency. They had one-and-a-half starters, and I say one and a half because their starter Mathias Kiwanuka was hurt, but he'll be back, so it really is a great opportunity for me to go in and get some playing time."

Bryan Kehl had been a part of two back-to-back undefeated MWC championships, with bowl victories over Oregon and UCLA. The linebacker is happy to know that he will be trading one championship program for another.

"You know, it's going to be unreal coming from the Mountain West Conference champs to the world champs," said Kehl with a smile. "You know, this is just an awesome thing and I'm very blessed with these opportunities."

Looking back over his career at BYU, Kehl reflected on his many years of experiences and memories he had while a Cougar.

"There is no chance I would trade BYU for the world," said Kehl. "I was going to be a BYU Cougar from the time I was five, and that didn't change from the time I was in high school, when I started receiving scholarships, ‘til now. There is nothing I would change about it."

So in reflection, what has been his most memorable moment as a BYU Cougar?

"Oh, no question - and this is hands down - before I went to the podium I was lifted up into a sea of Cougar fans after we beat Utah just this past year," said Kehl with a slight laugh. "We went undefeated at home and undefeated in conference for the second year in a row to become the outright Mountain West Conference Champions. That was just as high as it gets for me. It was my last game on that field, a field I grew up going to. I mean, everything you could imagine happened perfectly for me right at that moment, and to share it with the fans was just awesome."

Being an LDS athlete that served a mission, won championships and bowl games against Pac-10 teams, and eventually got drafted by the NFL, Kehl doesn't believe in the notion that LDS athletes that can fit in with Coach Mendenhall's program have to go BCS programs in order to have the greatest of experiences or achieve the greatest of goals.

"What it really comes down to is: if you can play, you can play," Kehl said. "If you look all across the draft … there were guys taken from all sorts of schools, and even IAA schools. The first receiver taken in this year's NFL draft was from Houston, which is a school in the Conference USA and not a BCS school. [Donnie Avery] was the first receiver taken and he was from Houston, so it doesn't matter what school you go to because if you can play, you can play.

"However, if you can play, what it comes down to are the types of experiences you'll have at the college level. If you're an LDS football player like me at BYU, you're not going to get the religious aspects anywhere else. You're just not going to get it. You're not going to have the same type of experiences anywhere else. Now I'm not going to say that BYU is for everyone, because there is a school for everyone, but looking back I'm glad I went to BYU because I was able to achieve everything I ever wanted coming from such a unique place."

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