Mendenhall Discusses the 2010 Class

On Wednesday head coach Bronco Mendenhall was finally able to speak about the recruiting class he's bringing in for the 2010 season. After what is a traditionally well-received speech to the Cougar Club, Mendenhall then spoke to the media and shared more specifics about this year's class.

-Regarding the recruiting class as a whole, Bronco Mendenhall stated, "I think we've addressed our needs quite well when looking at our class, and looking at players who have graduated from our program, and when looking at our missionaries coming home. I can never [predict] for sure exactly how the players are going to perform when they get here or how their adjustment is going to be. On paper it doesn't appear to be many holes that don't appear to have been filled going into the 2010 season."

-Mendenhall pointed out again the returned missionaries that are joining the program. These players should be considered as part of the 2010 recruiting class. They are Famika Anae (6-5, 250 OL), Tyler Beck (6-1, 210 LB), Austin Holt (6-6, 230 TE), Austen Jorgensen (6-3, 230 LB), Walter Kahaialii (6-3, 320 OL), James Lark (6-2, 219 QB), Devin Mahina (6-6, 225 TE/DE), (Eathyn Manumaleuna 6-2, 280 DL), Marcus Mathews (6-4, 200 WR), Jason Munns (6-5, 244 QB), Jordan Smith (6-4, 190 WR) and Manaaki Vaitai (6-3, 300 OL).

-Mendenhall stated that 20 of the 26 recruits plan on serving missions, although by our count that number is 17 based on interviews with the incoming recruits. Missions are often tough things to gauge and we'll cover when and if each player decides to serve accordingly.

-Due to the amount of players coming and going on missions, Mendenhall stated that fans can look for smaller recruiting classes in the near future. "We think this could be the last class that has this plus-20 number," said Mendenhall when asked about future classes. "That's always barring attrition, but attrition rate is getting less and less as well, so I think the size of classes may shrink substantially from this year on."

-When asked if this was his best class he's ever brought in, he responded, "It's hard to say before they play. If you were to say based on athleticism, size, speed and academics and character, when you put all of our criteria together, I think that it is."

-Mendenhall stated that this year's class is his best class as far as the students being able to thrive in the often strenuous academic environment at BYU.

-Mendenhall did not speak specifically about the rescinding of Kona Schwenke's scholarship, but he did address the issue as a whole. "I do have a very succinct and long-running policy that when I present a scholarship to a young man in my office I make it very clear to everyone in our class, and I think I've had only three tell me they were coming to BYU and change their mind over five years. So having put that in place, I make it very clear to them to please not commit or accept this offer unless you don't want to be recruited anymore.

"Even if the Pittsburgh Steelers come after you, you tell them ‘No, I'm not interested.' So that's what I tell the young man, and if you're unwilling to commit under those terms, then don't sign or please don't tell me you're coming. Sometimes the recruiting world views a verbal commit as if it's a game. I focus on the commitment part, not the verbal part."

-Mendenall went on to mention that those who go on other trips against the coaches' wishes but still sign with BYU end up as failures within the BYU program.

-Regarding the lack of safeties and junior college players, Mendenhall mentioned that since their latest evaluation of Jordan Johnson, his athletic makeup and strength may lead them to play him at safety rather than cornerback. He mentioned that while Kori Gaines won't impress with his stature, his knowledge of the game and headiness indicated to them that he'd be as ready to play as most junior college safeties they could have brought in.

-Mendenhall mentioned that the only junior college players they'll look at actively to join the team in the future would be cornerbacks, with few if any exceptions. "That's where we think the fit could be best for a young man to be here for maybe two years at a position where we struggle in recruiting," said Mendenhall.

-He mentioned that for the first time since he's become head coach, he saw the players maybe becoming better recruiters than the coaches. This was in response to the recruiting efforts of Jake Heaps, Ross Apo, Zac Stout and others. "The social networking that goes on now with high school recruits, to think that those players don't know who the best recruits and players are? We had recruits meeting players and then calling us about players that they had talked to at camps that they had talked to about BYU and the standards, and then told us that those players had an interest. So they became some of our best recruiters."

-Mendenhall again stressed that each recruit may end up playing a different position than listed at. Other than positions such as quarterback or cornerback, most players could be in store for a position change.

-Mendenhall again expressed his being uncomfortable with how much coverage recruiting and recruits are receiving. "In an ideal world to me, young men would come and try out to convince a coach at a school where they'd really love to attend why they should be given a chance," he said. "That's why I like walk-ons so much. They know exactly why they're going to a school and they're passionate about it. Young men are now coming in more entitled than they've ever been."

-He went on to state that he took some twisted pleasure in seeing the most entitled recruits run their first gassers when they're way behind those already in the program, because after that moment they begin to become teachable.

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