Why All the Football Verbals Recently?

It's been a very good week for the Cougars as many questions have been answered to shore up line problems. But do you find it curious four high school players and one returned missionary who signed with a fellow MWC school committed now? Actually, there's a very good explanation for it...

Time. That's the answer. For all the high school players in the country, the football season is officially over and they have time on their hands. Time to think, time to weigh college offers and time to make decisions.

That's why, instead of the one to dozen verbals we saw during the season, we're now seeing upwards of a hundred of more each week nationally even though we're a good six weeks from signing day.

For BYU, the time to think has been good for its cause as high school standouts Brian Soi, Dallas Reynolds, Dan Van Sweden and Jason Speredon all committed to the Cougar coaches as did Phil Niu, a tight end who signed with Colorado State but after returning from a church mission says he'll transfer to BYU.

So why the good fortune all of a sudden? Granted that every recruit will have different reasons, the one general feeling is BYU is making progress, getting new coaches, new attitudes and new facilities.

In college football, you're either seen as going up or going down. BYU, despite a poor season on the field, has shown it wants to improve and has made steps (whether they end up being good or bad is yet to be seen)to give the impression of going in a different direction.

I'm often asked what effect a season has on a prospect and, surprisingly, the answer is almost always very little. The recruit tells himself, "Once I get there it will be different." Obviously if a player is down to a UCLA or USC, the domination of one in a rivalry game may be a factor, but usually other factors are more important including playing time, comfortability with coaches, development of players at that school, location (close to home) and likability of players at the college.

Those were all factors listed by those who committed in the last days. It's something that a school for the most part can't control, but when it's positive can make all the difference in the world.

The buzz on the street about BYU is the school has new blood in the coaching staff and a lot of the criticisms of the past, such as seniors playing over more deserving players, are seen as in the past.

Add to that the new facilities only months away and recruits are fired up about the state of BYU football.

Again, a college program is seen simply as heading up (Oregon over the past few years) or down (Nebraska in the last year). BYU finds itself to be fortunate to be seen on the rise with LDS players. To get talented non-LDS bluechippers, the play on the field will have to improve.

But generally, it's a very optimistic time to be a Cougar fan. Merry Christmass, everyone!

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