Commits React to BYU Beating Oklahoma

Future Cougars were on the edge of their seats throughout BYU's victory against Oklahoma, as one would imagine. Following the game, their commitments to BYU were stronger and their heads were held maybe a bit higher in light of what their future school just accomplished. TBS caught up with a handful of BYU commits to get their thoughts on the game and how they've been doing so far this season.

"I didn't have any fingernails left after the game, I can tell you that," remarked running back recruit Drew Phillips, who committed to BYU last month. "I was literally at the edge of my seat. I just wanted them to win so bad, so when their receiver caught that last pass I was jumping up and down, it was crazy in our house."

Phillips has started out his own season with a bang, rushing the ball for 266 yards on 37 carries in his opening game before breaking an all-time team rushing record for Boaz High School in Alabama in his second game.

While Phillips is fully engaged in his own season, he's very excited with what he saw from his future team this past Saturday.

"I was getting everyone trash-talking me at school telling me how Oklahoma was going to kill BYU," he said. "I just told them that BYU was going to win the game and sure enough, they did. After the game I got at least 50 texts from fellow commits and from a lot of people who doubted BYU and my decision to commit there, but now, I think they understand why. To me it's no surprise. I committed to BYU because I knew what they were capable of and everyone saw it against Oklahoma."

Phillips is set to take on his school's biggest rival Albertville High School next week. He rushed for 283 yards against them last year and has heard word that Albertville has his picture all over their locker room with him saying how he dominated them last year.

"I'm going to do it again, I'm going to get 300 yards this time," he said about his upcoming game. "I love it when people point me out and get after me. I love that sort of stuff. It should be a great game and I'm very pumped up about it."

Turning a bit east from Alabama, TBS caught up with Kori Gaines, who has been leading his Grayson High School team to some staggering defensive stats and a 2-0 record so far this season. Gaines plays everywhere out of the defensive backfield, but focuses primarily on playing free safety.

So how good has Grayson proved to be so far this year defensively? "No one has scored on us yet," answered Gaines. "Last week we gave up only 40 yards on 11 yards rushing and 29 yards passing. We're going to be the top defense in the state, that's our goal."

Loganville plays in the highest division of Georgia state football and has been ranked as high as the number two team in the state.

Gaines was able to watch BYU beat Oklahoma with his family and was obviously impressed, but not necessarily surprised by their performance. "That's exactly how Coach Mendenhall and Coach Hill told me they played," he observed. "I committed to them because I knew they were a disciplined program and you saw that with how they played against Oklahoma. So no, it didn't surprise me with how they played at all."

Gaines, like most recruits, was strongly committed before seeing BYU beat Oklahoma on the national stage, but considers himself even more so now. Gaines had BYU explained to him and believed everything he heard, but seeing it on display is a whole other experience.

"It was just great to see my future team play like that," he remarked. "That's exactly how I see the defense playing while I'm there and that's a big reason why I committed to BYU. I don't know if I thought they'd beat Oklahoma, but I did know that they'd show well and that it would be a lot closer than most people thought."

A little farther north in Topeka, Kansas, Travis Tuiloma came away very impressed. "Oh man, I was pumped," he said following the game. "I watched it with my whole family and wow, they outplayed them and I couldn't believe it, they beat one of the top teams in the nation. I knew BYU was good and that they'd compete, but to play like that was real special to see."

Tuiloma, like a lot of out-of-state recruits, came across a lot of people who aren't all that familiar with BYU. Following the game against Oklahoma, that is changing somewhat.

"When I went to school today everyone was asking me about BYU," he said. "They all knew that I committed to BYU, but didn't know all that much about the school. Now that everyone has seen BYU beat one of the top teams in the nation they want to know more and think more of my commitment. I was proud to be committed to BYU before, but now everyone can see why I'm so proud."

Tuiloma's Washburn Rural High School won its first game of the season 50-12. Although he played well, his big frustration of teams running away from him continued.

"They ran it up the middle maybe twice," he said. "I play nose tackle and that's all teams do. It was even worse in that game. All they did was sweeps and reverses. I only played the first half since we were ahead by so much at halftime. Hopefully teams start trying to run it against me more so I can make some plays."

Way out on the west coast, A.J. Moore was watching intently and admittedly didn't think his future team would win, although he knew they'd be competitive. "I have to admit that I didn't expect them to win the game," he confirmed. "All week everyone, and I mean everyone, was bagging on me telling me how bad Oklahoma was going to kill BYU. I knew that they weren't going to kill us. I knew BYU was going to give them a good game, but to win the game? That was unreal."

While growing up Moore always wanted to go to BYU, so the commitment decision was a relatively easy one. It wasn't until after his commit that he began to realize exactly what BYU football was capable of. "It started at Junior Day and meeting all the top recruits there who had committed, like Jake Heaps and Ross Apo," he recalled. "Going to that camp, I began to realize that BYU could be one of the top teams nationally. After beating Oklahoma it looks like they're already there and I can't tell you how exciting that is for me and all the other commits."

Moore has played just one game so far this season and has a bye next week before taking on a team that features the top defensive recruit in the state of California, Ronald Powell. Moore rushed for more than 100 yards against Powell last year and is anxious to improve upon that this year.

"[Powell's] good, real good, but I like the challenge," said Moore about his impending matchup. "He hits alright, but he moves really well, so it's a challenge to get by him. Hopefully I can show well in the game and rush for more yards than I did against him and his team … last season."

Moore's Murrieta Valley High School team, which lies just south of the Los Angeles area, won its first game 38-7 with the coach pulling most of the starters by the end of the third quarter. "I only rushed for 130 yards on 19 carries and had three touchdowns. It was okay, but I expect a lot more out of myself, so I hope to improve on those numbers every week."

Just north of Murrieta Valley, fellow commit Collin Keoshian was watching in awe as it dawned on him during the course of the game that he would be on the Cougar sideline next season.

"I was really a surreal thing for me watching the coaches on the sidelines," remarked Keoshian. "I usually watch games on national TV and it seems so far away, if that makes sense. But just seeing Coach Mendenhall and all the other coaches that I've met with and talked to there, it dawned on me that I'm going to be there on that same sideline, and then wow, I got real excited."

While most out-of-state commits received some friendly trash talk before BYU played Oklahoma, it was exactly the opposite for Keoshian. "Everyone here supports me 100 percent, so they support BYU," he explained. "They're all very behind me and my decision, so everyone I know was pulling for BYU to win."

Keoshian has yet to play his first game this season, but has already received some great recognition by being named to the LA Times All-Area preseason football team, along with fellow Cougar commits Alani Fua and Zac Stout from Oaks Christian. "I got to meet Zac Stout when we got our pictures taken and he's a great guy," said Keoshian. "We're going to play linebacker together and I know he's a top player, so that's very exciting to me."

"BYU has just gotten better and better in my view since the day I committed to them," Keoshian summed up. "I was strongly committed when I committed, but with everything I hear and see it gets more exciting every day. I thought BYU had a chance to get to a national championship, but they look like they might get there before I even get there. It makes me just all the more confident about my decision with seeing all the success BYU is having. I know it will continue."

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