Aguirre to be a Cougar

Lee Aguirre committed to BYU coaches Wednesday, but kept his decision close under wraps until Thursday when he officially announced it during a press conference at his high school. Aguirre's reasons for deciding on BYU have much more to do with things other than football, although the football reasons were reason enough for the midyear junior college transfer.

"I decided on BYU after my trip, talked it over a bit and I couldn't be more happy about my decision," said Lee Aguirre right after announcing his commitment Thursday afternoon. "I love the opportunities I'll have in playing football for a great program, but it was really everything else that BYU has to offer which I liked most."

On the heels of his commitment, Aguirre recited the BYU football team's five goals verbatim as if he'd been a part of the program for years. Upon reciting the precepts of faith, family, academics, friends and football in order, one could readily realize how these precepts struck and indeed stuck with Aguirre upon hearing them.

"College isn't all about football," said Aguirre. "When I was looking around it was mostly about football until I made my visit to BYU, and the visit really opened my eyes. Yeah, football is big, but it's not the most important thing. I'm totally committed to BYU's goals, what BYU is, and I'm going to become a better person because of it."

Aguirre is a 5-foot-10-inch, 185-pound junior college transfer who will be making his way to BYU come January 5. Once here he'll immediately compete for the field cornerback position on defense. Aguirre is not LDS, but said he feels right at home in a predominant LDS culture that holds the same standards that he does.

"Faith is important to me and with faith being the number one thing about the program, I couldn't be more happy about that," said Aguirre. "Coach Mendenhall is a great man and there was really little doubt in my mind after I sat down and really talked to him that BYU was the place I needed to go."

Sitting down and really talking to Coach Mendenhall and the other Cougar coaches was something that really won Aguirre over during his visit to BYU.

"Hawaii coaches really didn't sit down with me and really talk to me as much as BYU coaches did," said Aguirre, who was deciding between BYU and Hawaii. "I sat down with Coach Hill, who will be my position coach, and he was more than willing to answer all of my questions as fully as he could, and he really took the time to explain what would be expected of me and how he does things on defense."

Of course, Aguirre is a football player and having the opportunity to play right away played a big factor in his decision.

"Coaches assured me that I'd play right away," said Aguirre. "I obviously want to play and I'll have the chance to not only play right away, but start right away, so yeah, that's a big thing to be sure."

Aguirre will be bringing tough and aggressive play to the cornerback. He recorded 17 interceptions in his two seasons playing for Fullerton, and also provided some solid run support from his stocky frame. Aguirre plays with a bit of a chip on his shoulder, which has and will continue to serve him well.

"I go into every game feeling disrespected and that helps me, I think," said Aguirre. "All my life I've been underrated and I just want to show every time I'm out there that I deserve respect. Teams threw a lot at me during junior college and I made them pay by picking off 17 passes, and that won't change when I get to BYU. I'm even going to work harder when I get there."

Aguirre felt at home while on his BYU visit, and credits the players he was around and hung out with for that.

"They're all real close, you could see that," said Aguirre about BYU's players. "But they were more than willing to let me in, you know? I got along best with Brandon Howard and C.J. Santiago, but I remember seeing Bernard Afutiti, who I knew a bit when he played for Mount San Antonio, and it was great just seeing him there. He talked to me a lot about the program and he was just like everyone else in making me feel at home."

While at BYU Aguirre's main goals will be in direct line with those of the football team, but for the goal most apparent to fans, the goal of playing good football, Aguirre is confident that Cougar fans will like what they see.

"They can expect a guy that makes plays and will work hard to make plays," said Aguirre when asked what BYU fans can expect. "They can expect a guy who represents BYU and what they stand for well, and they can expect someone who will work as hard as he can to reach his goals. BYU has everything I want in a school and I really feel that it's a great honor to be part of the BYU program."

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