Nike Camp Linebacker MVP Commits to BYU

BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall just received a verbal commitment from Southern California linebacker and Nike Camp MVP Adam Pulsipher. The 6-foot-3-inch, 230-pound linebacker called Coach Mendenhall to inform him that he's coming to Provo to be a Cougar.

It didn't take long for the most dominating linebacker at the BYU Nike Camp to give his word to Coach Mendenhall that he was going to be a Cougar.

"I can't believe this and I'm just kind of blown a way right now," said an excited Adam Pulsipher.

"We got home late last Friday night from going to all the different camps," Pulsipher said. "Even though I was so excited about the offer after the BYU camp, I didn't commit to Coach Mendenhall after I received it because I wanted to talk about it as a family when I got home.

"When I got home, we talked about it. The more we talked about it, we just realized that even if any other school offered, BYU was the perfect school for me."

However, there was one more source to consult about the big decision.

"That night before I went to bed, I prayed about it," Pulsipher said. "After that I really felt like that was the right decision to do. I woke up the next morning knowing that my prayer had been heard. My family was very excited about that. We then went to my little brother's basketball game. In between games I called up Coach Mendenhall later that afternoon to tell him I'm committing to him and be a Cougar.

"I just told him that I'm ready to be a Cougar. He was really excited and happy about my decision. He said the media would find out soon, and that I should be prepared for that. He also said that I have a greater responsibility to represent BYU now in my actions, my play and everything I do. I told him that I would do my best with that. Coach Mendenhall then urged me to continue to work hard and prepare for my time at BYU."

It's a good thing BYU was able to secure a commitment from Pulsipher quickly after his Nike Camp performance, as some other schools had been taking notice of him.

"I had made plans to go up to Oregon State, UCLA, Washington and then to USC's Rising Stars Camp," Pulsipher said. "I had been in contact with all of those coaches from those colleges, but have since canceled my trips to those camps.

"USC came by my school and I had been getting emails and letter from them quite a bit. I know if you can play in Southern California, USC is going to be talking to you. I don't know exactly what their interest level was, but they had started to recruit me more and more since spring when they could get a hold of you. So, USC was something I was exploring in case BYU didn't work out."

Speaking of the Pac-10, the hot topic lately is how the University of Utah was just accepted into that conference.

"It's kind of funny because my uncle Daniel kicked at Utah," Pulsipher said. "If I had an offer from both BYU and Utah, no, it wouldn't make a difference at all. The reason why I committed to Bronco Mendenhall now is when I talked it over with him and my family, no matter what school offers me – it could be USC or Utah or whoever – BYU is the place for me. Last night I talked to my uncle Daniel and he said, 'I'm in full support for what you do, but I'll never bleed blue. I might be a little purple now though.'"

The scholarship that Pulsipher received from BYU will not be available for the 2011 fall semester. Instead, it will be available for him the following winter semester. He hasn't decided yet if he'll elect to greyshirt or walk on the fall after he graduates from high school.

"I'm not really certain at all, but will do whatever the coaches at BYU ask me to do. We'll have to see how it goes, and I'll make a decision from there if I'll greyshirt or walk on for that fall semester."

Even though his scholarship will be available for the 2011 winter semester, Pulsipher won't be taking advantage of it anyhow. He instead plans on leaving for a mission in January of 2012.

"I'm hoping that it all works out well that when I come back, I'll come that same month of January two years later in time for winter semester and spring camp."

As a senior next season, Pulsipher will be part of the relatively select few football prospects selected by the BYU coaching staff to be a part of the 2011 class.

"I think it was the support of my family that allowed this privilege to happen for me," Pulsipher said. "My parents gave me the opportunity to go to up there to the Nike Camp, and then also I think my preparation for the Nike Camp in the offseason also helped me.

"This past December, I gave up playing basketball," continued Pulsipher. "I had played basketball ever since I was really little. I played on my varsity high school's basketball team ever since I was a freshman, so it was a hard thing to give up, but I just decided that football is what I needed to focus on. I just gave it up and focused on becoming a better football player. I worked hard in the weight room, and off the field I worked hard on my speed."

At this past week's All-Poly Camp, camp-founder Alema Te'o continued calling out Pulsipher's name to go back out onto the field to challenge the camp's top prospects in one-on-one coverage, whether they were running backs or wide receivers. Pulsipher never lost a match.

"I think what really helped me was my performance in the one-on-one stuff that we did," Pulsipher said. "It really helped me to stand out. I had gotten a ton better in the one-on-ones with the running backs. It takes a lot of practice to be able to cover running backs coming out into the flats or running downfield. This offseason I worked out hard with that, just getting ready for some of these camps.

"Also, the pass-rush drills also helped me and I really love doing those. This offseason, I really worked out hard with my d-line coach because I really wanted to refine that skill. I had never been taught those types of techniques before, and that made a huge difference in my performance at the Nike Camp. I'm glad it all paid off and worked out well for me."

Pulsipher spent the offseason working out in San Diego at Fitness Quest 10 with Todd Durkin, who has helped NFL players such as Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, Reggie Bush, Aaron Rodgers, Kellen Winslow Jr., Charles Tillman, Marlon McCree and Quentin Jammer hone their physical abilities.

"[Durkin] is the like the head guy for Under Armor training and is a big deal, but at that place we worked a ton on speed and flexibility and those things that I needed to improve on," said Pulsipher. "It really helped me out a ton."

According to Alema Te'o, the one aspect of Pulsipher's camp performance that stood out most – aside from him being able to cover wide receivers running streak routes – was his lack of mental mistakes. His abilities and the polish in his game allowed him to impress at both the All-Poly Camp and the Nike Camp.

"I think just like with other aspects of my game, I wanted to be focused up there at the Nike Camp," said Pulsipher. "I knew what I wanted, and that was a scholarship to play football at BYU. I knew that if I was able to perform well in every aspect there, it would be a big step in overcoming the hurdle of getting a scholarship offer. I think my focus was the biggest difference."

Pulsipher's Temecula Valley team is switching to a 4-3 defensive scheme this year, and he'll be play Mike linebacker. The Mike linebacker is the quarterback of the defense. Not only does he have to be a master of his position, but he must also know the responsibilities of the others on defense. The Mike linebacker has to be able to read the offense much like a quarterback has to be able to read the defense.

"It should be good because I'm one of the team's leaders, so I'll be able to play the Mike linebacker and help lead the team. I'm going to be the captain of our team this year, so I want to be sure I can prepare myself to help the team progress. It's actually less of a burden knowing now that I've got the scholarship I wanted, and can now just focus on the weight room and school."

Though he won't see the field at BYU for a while, Pulsipher expressed excitement about his future Cougar career.

"I can't wait to be able to play down there at LaVell Edwards Stadium," Pulsipher said. "I'm looking forward to that time and I'm confident that we can keep up the winning tradition."

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