Friday the 13th Isn't a Bad Day for Badger

On Friday the Cougar coaching staff gave Timpview High School's Chris Badger his first scholarship offer. The 6-foot, 185-pound safety learned that he had received the offer following BYU's Junior Day.

For those that watch Timpview High School football, two things will stand out in the defensive backfield. The first is BYU commit Craig Bills, and the other is soon-to-be junior Chris Badger. Following Junior Day at BYU, Badger learned that he could follow in the footsteps of his high school counterpart Craig Bills and play football at BYU.

"When I found out that I had received a scholarship, it was just unbelievable," said Badger. "It was like a dream come true. I love BYU and when I was there at the Junior Day I just had a great feeling. So right now, I just feel great."

When the Junior Day activities were finished, Badger and his father met with Coach Mendenhall. It was then that they learned he had received an offer to become a part of a unique college program.

"I talked to some of the coaches and even coaches I've never met before, and they said they were excited about me," Badger said. "They all thought I did great today. Then afterwards I talked with Coach Mendenhall and went up to his office with my dad and talked with him for about a half hour. That's when he offered me.

"All the hard work that I've done paid off. Now I have the offer and now I can keep working as hard as I can to try and get better and better. It's just been a great day. I can't really describe it."

Badger has three universities that he is really considering at this time, one of which is BYU, located right in his own backyard.

"I like Stanford, but BYU has always been one of my top choices," Badger said. "I do have other schools that I like. Right now BYU, Stanford and UCLA are the only schools that I'm really considering. BYU offered me and I think I might probably want to go there. BYU is a school that's a good fit for me and I just like everything about it.

"Coach Mendenhall told me that they usually don't offer kids this early. They may have one or two kids that they've offered this early right now. He told me that it was a no-brainer for him and felt that I was a great person. I told him that I love it here and that I feel that I could do well here. I just love it here."

Badger's father, a Stanford graduate, was also excited about his son's offer from BYU.

"[My dad] loved it too," said Badger. "He feels really good about BYU and he talked with Coach Mendenhall, and he likes Coach Mendenhall a lot. He just had a really good feeling about it too and is super excited."

Knowing that recruits are the ones that have to "recruit themselves," in that they must share why they feel they should have the privilege of playing for Coach Mendenhall's program, Badger said his recruiting pitch would sound something like this: "I would just tell Coach Mendenhall that I'm one of the hardest workers on the field. I'm out with my brother almost every day and I'm also a good person. I love the Church and I love the gospel. I think BYU would be a great place for me and I feel that I'm athletic and I'm also football-smart. I know how to make decisions on the field and stay calm. I feel that I would be a good player on the field and good person within this program."

Although Badger is excited about his new Cougar offer and may decide to play at BYU, he was already a Cougar fan for various reasons.

"I've lived in Provo my whole life and I know a bunch of guys that are going to BYU," said Badger. "My brother Troy tells me how great it would be to go to BYU and play in that stadium. BYU is a great program and I just love it."

Badger's appreciation for BYU, however, doesn't mean he's ready to commit to the Cougar program.

"I'm not going to commit too early," said Badger. "I want to talk to my brother Troy because he's really big into my football [career] and he works out with me and does everything for me. I just want to talk with him about it and then pray about it. I don't want to rush it because this is my future."

Although he has interest in Stanford and UCLA, Badger said he knows that BYU is unique in and of itself, and when the times comes for him to make a decision for his future, those unique factors will come into play.

"[The BYU coaches] gave a great presentation today and kind of talked about what BYU is all about," Badger said. "I just had a great feeling about it. The people that you will be playing with are different and more like yourself. When you go to these other schools you just don't know what kind of people you're going to be around. If you go to BYU, you know everyone there is a great person and football player. You don't have to worry about people trying to influence you in the wrong way off the football field. You also know that you're going to have a great team camaraderie because of the atmosphere there."

In a previous interview with Total Blue Sports, Badger mentioned that he had a feeling that the BYU coaching staff would offer him a scholarship. After the Cougar coaches were able to watch Badger run through drills during Junior Day on Friday, they had seen enough to make Friday the 13th the day Badger's words would become fulfilled.

"Yeah, I kind of got a hard time for that," said Badger with a chuckle. "I just had a really good feeling about it. The coaches seemed really positive. I felt like if I had a really good day at Junior Day, then I would have it. I went there and had a great day. I did really well during the one-on-ones and Coach Mendenhall was there watching me and seemed impressed."

BYU's Junior Day fielded a star-studded group of some of the top LDS football prospects from around the country. Outside linebacker Steven Fanua was there, along with Jake Heaps, Talai Livai, Mitch Mathews, Richard Wilson, Craig Bills, Mike Edmunds and others.

"Yeah, there was some great talent there," Badger said. "You look around and you see some great kids there. I just got back from the LSU camp where they had one of the top safeties in the country there, and you look around at these guys here at BYU's camp, and they were just as good.

Although he has only met Coach Mendenhall a few times, those occasions have left an impression on Badger.

"Coach Mendenhall is a great guy and I've only met him briefly last year at the BYU camp and today at Junior Day," Badger said. "Everything about him with what he's done with this program is great. It's not just the winning part of the program, but how they're winning is just great. He's just an all-around great guy."

With many of his teammates choosing to become part of the Cougar program - Kevan Bills, Craig Bills, Tui Crichton, Mike Alisa and Bronson Kaufusi having either signed or already committed to BYU - Badger said he feels this is another reason why BYU would be a great place to play college football. He's already gearing up for a little positive pressure from many of his current teammates on where he should play college football.

"Yeah, pretty much if I go play there [at BYU] I'll already know half the team," joked Badger. "I'm sure all the guys are going to get on me about committing, like Craig [Bills]. It would just be fun because they're all my best friends and I get to play four more years with them."

A top national safety prospect with a smash-mouth mentality, Craig Bills has played a major part in how Badger plays the game. Badger has incorporated much of what he's seen and learned from Bills in terms of aggression and intensity into his own game.

"Yeah, last year I was really fortunate to be able to start, and playing next to Craig, I could see how he was," said Badger. "Craig is a great guy and he helps you out. I got a chance to see him hit and that kind of motivated me and helped me to see where I need to be. I just want to work as hard as I can because I know that I can be really good too."

So what would it be like for Badger to play football alongside Bills at BYU?

"I've thought about that a lot," he said. "Me and Craig are two D-I safeties playing together next year at Timpview. Either way a kid goes, he's going to get hit, and just the thought of us carrying that one at the next level would be great too. It would be great because we've been playing together and we know each other's habits and can play off each other really well."

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