"All the Pac-10 schools were looking at him, especially Washington because he was from there," said Jordan Afo's uncle Ian Wiley. "I can understand where they are coming from because they wanted to see how he played after his injury, but BYU came after him from day one and already saw what they needed. Utah spoke to him and they were coming at him hard, but the one thing they spoke about was what Jordan could do for them. The saying ‘our record speaks for itself' kept coming up as he was being recruited. To Jordan, what that told him was it was more about what he could bring to the team, and I think that really turned Jordan off."
The program philosophy of Coach Mendenhall and his staff is based on principles and core value that represent more than just a football team. The purpose behind the philosophy is to help young men go forward with a greater and more lasting purpose in life.
"One of the things that BYU has over all other schools is they support our values," Wiley said. "What separates BYU from any other in the country was they attacked Jordan Afo's priority list. It's about God, family, friends, education and then about football, and that's how it is in our family. BYU supports those values and that is what attracted Jordan to BYU. BYU is attracting our kids because they allow our kids to explore their core values."
Afo's core values were put into perspective following the life-changing experience of suffering a broken back. The injury could have paralyzed him for life, and he is very lucky to even have the chance to play football again.
"Everybody else was looking at him based on football but BYU was looking at more than that," said Wiley. "This is what Jordan said to me, and why BYU took over. All he could hear were the words that Bronco told him: ‘There is life after football. We want to make you a better man after football.' It can end at any time and for Jordan that became a reality to him after he had his injury. BYU opened his eyes and now the other schools know that he's BYU-bound, so we now we just have to tell them, ‘Don't bother. He's a Cougar now.'
"I've always wanted him to go to BYU," Wiley continued. "I know his parents wanted him to go to BYU, and his parents told him that ‘everybody is holding back to see how you're going to play, but BYU is still coming at you strong no matter what.' I think what it came down to was the loyalty of BYU, who came after Jordan right from the get go. They never wavered and always supported Jordan from day one, giving him encouragement and support following his injury. So I think one of the biggest things was that Jordan recognized the loyalty of BYU. I think it was best for him to decide now rather than wait. I don't think there was any reason to wait any longer. BYU stuck by him during the hard times. The other schools were still showing interest but they wanted to see him play first. BYU cares more for the kids."
Afo committed to BYU last Friday. He called Coach Mendenhall and left a message on his answering machine saying he was committing. After that he called Coach Kaufusi and let him know that he was coming to BYU.
"He committed last Friday," said Wiley. "He called and left Mendenhall a message that he committed to him. He called him up and said that he was coming to BYU. I know he talked with Steve Kaufusi. Steve was excited and said he was the final piece of the class at the nose guard position. He feels they now have a true nose guard in the middle. He said, ‘I finally got a true nose guard,' and that's what they were waiting for. You know, one of the things that Jordan loves about BYU is Steve Kaufusi. He feels that Steve is the same on the field as he is off the field. Jordan told me that he wants to play for Steve."
As of right now Afo is still rehabbing his injury. There is a possibility that he may not play this year and instead opt to sit out to ensure he fully recovers, and if he does return it would be later in the season. In the meantime, Afo will focus now on making sure his grades are in order and that he gets himself into BYU.
"He said he hopes to get back by the third game but I told him to not force the issue," said Wiley. "I told him he needs to say humble and work hard in the classroom. That's what is going to get him on the field in the future."
With the commitment of Jordan Afo, the Afo and Wiley family floodgates could be opening up for BYU in the near future. Afo has a younger cousin named Jethro Wiley that will be playing linebacker and defensive end for Kearns High School this year. He is a prospect that could become heavily recruited following this season.
"He's only a sophomore but he's already listed around 6'3", 240 pounds and can run," said Ian Wiley. "He can run a 4.6 forty and can really burn as a sophomore. He'll be the next up-and-coming Cougar in the family.
"Then there's Jordan's younger brother Jareau, who is in the ninth grade and will be going to Kearns High School. These are the kids that Cottonwood was looking forward to having in the future but will be going to Kearns High School. Steve [Kaufusi] already told Jareau that he already wants him and that there is a spot for him over there at BYU. Steve told him that after I brought Jareau over to BYU and Steve saw him run against my son and was very impressed. So look for those guys coming up in the future because they'll probably follow Jordan to BYU if given the opportunity to play football at the next level."
Total Blues Sorts will keep an eye on the future Afo and Wiley family football prospects. In the meantime, TBS will also try and reach Jordan Afo for his comments on his commitment to BYU.