Mendenhall Shares Recruiting Philosophy

On Wednesday the media and Cougar Club members packed the Cougar Club room, where BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall addressed those gathered. Following a short highlight clip of jaw-dropping hits, catches and passes from those in the 2010 class, Mendenhall shared his recruiting philosophy.

Coach Mendenhall took the podium on Wednesday and stated that the ranking of a prospect or what high profile college was recruiting him were not primary factors in determining the value of a recruit.

"When you consider and hear the different clips that are being talked about, it's interesting that I heard a lot of oohs and aahs based on who else was recruiting them," said Mendenhall. "Or what Max [Preps] or whoever said about this top rated recruit or what said really doesn't have any bearing on us. I know it sounds good and it might make you feel better when a recruit might have all those things, but really that's not what we are choosing. We're choosing young men that belong at BYU and that help our program.

Prior to getting into his PowerPoint presentation, Coach Mendenhall expressed that the important values for members of this year's class mirror those of previous classes.

"We're privileged to have them and they're lucky to be here, and so there isn't much that's changed other than maybe the exposure of the young men that we are recruiting here to our program," said Mendenhall. "The exposure that's happening has a lot to do with what's happed on the field."

Coach Mendenhall pointed out that the results over the past four years have been a reflection of the program's recruiting consistency, and, using the power point presentation, showed how the stats back up his claim going back over the past four years.

"Nationally, we've been ranked each of the past four years," said Mendenhall. "We are one of only seven teams in each of the 120 Division I [programs] to do that. That means staying in the top 25 for four years straight. If that's easy, then more than seven teams would do it. Teams come and teams come out. Teams come in and teams come out, and very few remain consistent. Consistency is what the kids that we recruit represent, and I think it's a hallmark of our program.

"In terms of the number of teams over the past four years, I've been the coach for the past five years and I can't erase the first year and we were 6-6 that year, 6-5 prior to the bowl game," Mendenhall said with a slight laugh. "If you add that record, only 11 have won more games in five years than BYU, but it sounds better when you say only the last four years because that number goes down on only four.

"Once I kind of learned what I was doing, and I'm still learning, that means there are 116 others that haven't won as many games with these same type of young men. So again, rather than consider who wanted them and who else ranked them, what I think you should put most of your stock in is do they work here? And if that standard is high enough for you, then we are on the same page."

Mendenhall stated that BYU's win total over the past four seasons is "what I might be most proud of, besides playing well in our own stadium. And what that leads to is when you consider a Hall of Fame head coach, when you consider all of the tradition that BYU has in terms of coaches and players and great wins that has happened here, when you consider all the great players that have played here – and there are over 250 that have gone on to the NFL – when you consider all of those things, to me it fairly remarkable that no BYU teams in history have ever won more games in four straight years.

"So again, if you question the approach of who we are recruiting, if you wonder why so and so didn't rank them higher, what's happening currently is something that's never happened – and never meaning ever in the history of the program before – and that's 10 win four years in a row. That lends credibility to the class. They're the ones responsible for the type of product on the field, and so this is to help you understand why we are doing what we are doing.

"I really don't care nor listen too much about what anyone thinks about whom we are recruiting. What I care about is do we have the type of players we need at BYU? It's not a perfect design nor do I execute it perfectly, but when you consider whom we are going after, I think we recruit to the highest standards in the country.

"I'm not only talking about on the field. I'm talking about the ecclesiastical standard before we allow them to come and the academic standard that we ask them to reach before they come. When you add that and the quality of play on the field, there is a pool of about 35 young men a year that we consider strongly recruiting [from] every state in the country plus Tonga and Samoa. Now with those types of young men, can we succeed as a team? I think I just shared that with you, and I think that answer is a resounding, ‘Yes, we can succeed.'"

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