Keoshian to be a Cougar

BYU received a verbal commit from Collin Keoshian from Santa Clarita High School in Southern California. Receiving a commitment from a non-LDS athlete in May is very much an uncommon occurrence for BYU. However, it was the many things Keoshian holds in common with BYU and the LDS faith that led to his early commit. TBS caught up with Keoshian to learn more about him and his commitment to BYU.

Collin Keoshian is a 6-foot-2-inch, 235-pound linebacker/running back prospect from Santa Clarita High School, which lies just north of Los Angeles. Santa Clarita isn't exactly a fertile recruiting ground by and large, as most of its athletes escape the view of big college recruiters.

Santa Clarita High School is a small, private Christian school with a current enrollment of just 162 students. Given its relatively tiny enrollment, the football team is only able to compete in eight-man football, which doesn't exactly showcase much if any Division I talent most years.

Keoshian, however, is hardly your typical athlete, showing a set of skills and overall ability that quickly caught the eye of at least one college program and eventually led to a full scholarship offer.

"I don't think it's really sunk in yet about what a great opportunity I have to play for and to attend such a school like BYU," said Keoshian. "I love this place. I love everything about BYU and to have this opportunity is just an incredible thing."

Keoshian's goals don't just end at BYU, as he's very intent on becoming the first player from an eight-man high school football program to make it in the NFL.

"That's my main goal," said Keoshian regarding his NFL aspirations. "I think I'm talented enough and I really want to prove that even though I'm from a very small school that I can make it and even star in the NFL. This is the first step in completing that goal."

Of course, starting out in Division I football is a necessary stepping stone toward his main goal of playing in the NFL. For Keoshian, BYU presents that opportunity to ready himself for the NFL while receiving a top education from a school with high Christian standards.

Keoshian was first courted by BYU about a month and a half ago. After evaluation was done on him regarding not only his athletic ability but his ability to adapt and indeed thrive within BYU's unique culture, Keoshian was met with an offer just prior to the unofficial visit to BYU's campus he made with his father.

"I pretty much knew right when I got my offer in the mail that I was going to commit," said Keoshian. "Everything I heard about BYU and felt about BYU made me think that it was the perfect place for me."

While BYU is considered the perfect place for many early LDS commits, Keoshian's early May commit is unique in that he isn't LDS. So why would BYU be the type of place where a non-LDS athlete would feel so comfortable committing to long before the recruiting process starts up in earnest?

"While our doctrinal beliefs vary, our standards are exactly the same," said Keoshian, who comes from a strong Christian upbringing. "BYU is exactly the type of place where I can be surrounded by people who live and believe in the same Christian standards that I believe in, which makes us somewhat similar. Attending a school with such high standards is something that is very important to me."

Upon arriving at BYU Keoshian felt at home and was immediately drawn to the clean atmosphere incumbent on BYU's campus and surrounding community, as was his father Craig.

"It was great," said Craig. "It was just beautiful, clean and everyone just treated us in the best way and really made us feel like a part of the school and community. It was our first time in Utah, but we felt right at home with people with common standards and a common strong belief in God and Christian values that we do as a family. The coaches even set up a meeting with who will be Collin's pastor here, and we very much appreciated that."

As is the case with most recruits, Keoshian was presented with BYU's five stated goals, which are faith, family, education, friends and football. These priorities were exactly the sort of things Keoshian was looking for in a school and in a football program.

"I love how BYU does things," said Keoshian. "I love their stated goals and how they look at life and what is most important. It's exactly the type of program that I want to be a part of."

Keoshian first arrived in Provo on Friday and was immediately shown around campus by Cougar assistant coach Barry Lamb, who could very well end up being his assistant coach while at BYU.

"Coach Lamb is great," said Keoshian. "He really gave us a close look at BYU and explained everything well. He's a great guy and someone who I'd love to have coach me at the linebacker position."

Although Keoshian played many positions in high school, he's likely to end up playing either outside or inside linebacker while at BYU.

"I sort of prefer outside linebacker because you get to play in space more," said Keoshian. "I feel that I'm very good at covering guys in the open field, but I'm okay with playing inside linebacker as well, just wherever they need me most."

Keoshian is well aware that BYU graduates just about all of its linebackers on the two-deep roster after this coming season and sees an opportunity to play right away, which is certainly attractive to him.

"My short-term goal is to play and start right away," said Keoshian. "I'm working very hard to do that and hopefully I can be ready to contribute right away to the team at either outside or inside linebacker or any other position they want me at."

For the time being, Keoshian is working on his strength to go along with his stated 4.5 speed in the forty. Currently he weighs in between 230-235 pounds, but should he continue to hit the weight room, he may be weighing a bit more when he reports to BYU.

"I'll probably be about 245 pounds by the time I get to BYU," related Keoshian. "I'm happy with my speed, but I really want to get stronger. Right now I can bench 315, but I want to be able to compete as best as I can starting out, so I really think that adding muscle will help me with that."

During his visit Keoshian spent a lot of time with Cougar head coach Bronco Mendenhall and has the utmost respect for him not only as a coach but as a person.

"He's a perfect coach for me in my mind," said Keoshian. "I was able to walk and talk with him a bit before meeting him in his office. He's a person that is not only a great coach, but a great person who really knows what is most important in life."

"As a father you want your children to be in a positive and clean environment that stresses the important things in life, which are clean living and living God's commandments," added Craig. "In meeting with Coach Mendenhall I knew that this was the best place and the best program I could hope for as a father for my son to attend. I've been to other schools such as UCLA and other local area schools, and you just don't get that same spirit and atmosphere that you do at BYU. It's just not there."

During his visit with Mendenhall, Keoshian was informed that his character was a major reason why BYU offered him a scholarship.

"That was the thing he said that stuck out the most," said Keoshian. "He said that he watched my film and could immediately tell that I had NFL potential, but it was my character more than anything that led him and his staff to offer me a scholarship. Standing up for your beliefs and living the right way is the most important thing above all else. BYU is exactly the type of place where I can be around people who live the same way I do and hold the same standards as I do. I'm honored that BYU believes I'm the type of kid with the character to be part of their program. I consider it a great privilege to be part of this program and that is why I committed."

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