A Heisman, Doak Walker, Outland, and just about every other type of award, plus the highly touted passing history, the QB history of Young, McMahon, Wilson, etc., not to mention the magical '84 National Title. It's been an awesome last three decades and the imprint of LaVell's legacy will be sellable to players for years.
Know this: every recruit thinks he has NFL potential and is looking for tools to get him there. Something impressive, such as the soon-to-be-finished athletic center, causes prospects' eyes to open as wide as quarters. Nutrition, conditioning program, new offices… it's all material and all good to an impressionable 18-year-old.
3) New Coaches
I've always strongly felt that the threat of coaching changes is not good; it means uncertainty. The actual change of coaches is good; it means taking a new, hopefully positive direction. Who knows if Bronco will succeed or not, but for now, he hasn't lost a game and it's easy to sell off that and his past accomplishments.
BYU is getting very difficult to get into. This is one you sell the parents on. I once asked a Texas RC who he feared in recruiting wars… Notre Dame, Michigan, Miami? Nope, he said, Stanford, because you have to outrecruit Mom against the Cardinal. I think BYU is vastly under-appreciated and under-respected when it comes to academics. Programs such as accounting, business, law and nursing (and others I'm sure I don't know about) are getting to be national forces.
Honestly, would a Ben Olson go to BYU if it wasn't for the LDS Church? No way. It's not called the "Lord's University" for nothing. In recruiting, it can also be a nice deterrent against other colleges when they find out a player is Mormon. When a player says he's going on a mission, it's also usually the kiss of death to programs like Nebraska.
Teenagers want to play in major conferences, like the SEC, ACC, Big East, etc. because there's inherently more respect going against the best. The Mountain West is not a major conference respected nationwide and programs like Wyoming getting waxed by the Tennessees of the world doesn't exactly help BYU's profile any. Most college fans couldn't name three schools in the MWC.
2) Bowl Affiliation
You have to be in a major conference to play in a major bowl game, a BCS bowl. Try these two approaches on for size: "Hi, we're Oregon… we have a chance to be in the Rose, Fiesta, Orange or Sugar Bowl," or "Hi, we're BYU… how does the Liberty, Las Vegas or Seattle Bowl grab you?" Ouch.
3) Honor Code
It's this simple: try telling a non-LDS athlete he can't have sex or alcohol in college. Next…
If anything, Utahns smother minorities, particularly African-Americans, with love in Happy Valley. That's not the problem, it's that if you're black, you stand out which can make many uncomfortable, but worse, there is no sub-culture for you to be part of to feel comfortable. Ever wonder why Florida State does so well? There's an African-American womens college nearby. Now you know.
5) Uncertainty about Crowton
He won the first year, lost the second year… will the real Crowton please stand up? Fortunately, players look at one year as an aberration. Two years of losing and it will be a concern.
1) Marriage Rate
Good if you're LDS and want to be part of the culture. Unnerving if you're a young teenager who's not into family guys.
Yes, BYU/Provo/Utah is odd to outsiders. It can be cool or it can be square. Depends on how you like the wholesome, whitebread lifestyle.
Great for keeping (most) instate LDS players around. Also attractive to those who love the beauty of the mountains. Not great for those who like the big city life.
A well-documented theme: players come back older and more mature, yes, but physically sometimes they don't come back at all.
5) Age of Players
Wisdom and maturity vs. old geezers who can't relate. It's a coin toss.