John Wolford blown away by BYU

This past weekend, Bishop Kenny High School quarterback John Wolford and his older linebacker brother Bobby visited BYU's campus to get a firsthand look at BYU. The two boys of Catholic faith may have stepped foot on BYU's campus with a sort of curiosity, but by the time they left campus, they were simply blown away.

He was only a freshman last year, but that didn't stop John Wolford from blistering the airwaves with his throws as a varsity player. This past Friday, he made the trip out to BYU to both explore and perform.

"It was really good and it was completely different from Florida," said John. "The environment and the mountains, I really liked that. There is such a great atmosphere at the school and everyone is just so nice. In comparison to the other schools that I've been to, it's just different. It was a really good visit."

The Wolfords' BYU experience instantly endeared the Cougar program to their hearts.

"The experience pretty much made Bobby want to go there," said John about his older brother. "Every single person there wants to win a national championship, and there are a lot of people who don't think they can do it, but when you go on a visit to BYU you feel like you can do it. That's what drew me and Bobby to there."

During their visit, the Wolford brothers were taken on a tour of the more scenic sites and landmarks around campus.

"When we first got there, we went to the stadium first, and they have a really nice stadium," said an excited John. "They have pictures in their field houses of their stadium completely filled with the mountains standing in the background. It just looks amazing. The campus is great and isn't dirty at all. I went on a tour around campus and we saw some really cool buildings, and there is a lot of history there. I really like it."

Although John will be a sophomore gunslinger next year, the Jacksonville, Florida native has already toured many college campuses. His experience at BYU was much different than what he had previously encountered.

"I was so surprised during my visit at BYU," he said. "I've been to other colleges and it was just completely different. You know, you walk around and people are so nice. That's one of the differences. You walk in, and people ask, 'How are you doing' and ‘How have you been?' There aren't any mean people who will judge you or anything like that."

After exploring the campus, John headed out onto the field to compete with the other prospects in attendance.

"There were around 15-to-20 quarterbacks that were competing," he said. "I was one of three quarterbacks that got called back into the coach's office to talk to him. They had one commit [Tanner Mangum] who was there, and then a kid who is going to be a junior next year was also called back. I was the only kid that was going to be a sophomore next year that was called back to talk to their offensive coordinator. That was really cool."

John had positive things to say about Mangum.

"He is just a really nice guy and seemed really motivated and was always up for any competition," said John. "He throws a really great ball and I think he's a really great fit there."

John noticed a common thread that seemed to run through each and every other quarterback prospect in attendance.

"In being around the types of quarterbacks that were there, I could see a pattern in the types of kids they recruit there," he said. "I didn't see the types of kids that would cause a ruckus or just think about themselves. Everyone there seemed really team-oriented and people that really cared for one another. That made the experience really different. It's a team where you know there isn't going to be a bad egg on the team. I guess that's what you could say. It's a really good school and I like it and like the atmosphere."

Cougar offensive coordinator Brandon Doman spoke to John about the expectations of what it means to be a BYU quarterback.

"He's a really nice guy and really knows what he's talking about," John said about Doman. "He's coached two NFL quarterbacks and is now coaching Jake Heaps, the number one quarterback out of high school, too. It was just great talking with him knowing that I was one of three that was called back to talk to him.

"He talked to me about how different it is at BYU and what it means to be a BYU quarterback. BYU has a great quarterback tradition and you have to carry yourself with the highest standard and example as possible as like never before. You're a leader and an example to many when you become a BYU quarterback, and [he talked about] how that means a lot to many people.

"He then explained what it's like to be a BYU quarterback and what a normal day is like for you and to be a quarterback. He talked about the tradition they've had and the players, quarterbacks like Jim McMahon, Steve Young and the other great quarterbacks that have come through BYU."

John and Bobby Wolford, who both grew up in the Catholic faith, received a better understanding of BYU's mission to provide a safe harbor for those of all faiths. Through a video featuring Cougar running back Joshua Quezada, they learned how BYU has helped others grown within their own faith.

"[Quezada] talked about the time when he had long, long hair and cut it to go to the school," said John. "He talked about how he isn't a member of the Church of Latter-day Saints and is like us where he likes the moral values and standards that are expected of you. He talked about how he's grown, and seemed like a really great guy."

In looking back over his visit to BYU, John couldn't place a finger on what the highlight of his experience was.

"There is a lot," John said about what he enjoyed most. "You know, coming into the [Hall of Legends] was cool with all the history. Looking at the stadium with the mountains as a backdrop, and the campus environment, and I don't even know if there is one thing I can say that was a highlight of my visit. If I had to say, well, I don't even know if I could pick one. I was pretty much blown away."

Not only was John blown away, but after he met up with brother, he could tell by the look in his eyes that something just blew him away as well.

"We were coming in from a tour and I saw my brother and his eyes were wide open," said John. "He came running up and said, 'John, they've offered and I committed!' He was really happy. That was the happiest I've ever seen him. That was a really cool experience."

Hearing his brother's words and seeing his excitement in his face, John stood in disbelief.

"I was shocked!" John said. "I was so happy for him, and this is such a great school. When we came, we didn't know what to think. Our impression was that it was a great school, and after everything that happened, Bobby was just blown away. When they offered, he committed right away and I was really excited for him."

John wasn't the only person excited for Bobby.

"Everybody congratulated him that was on the tour with me," said John. "That was a really cool experience. That's the kind of atmosphere you want to be around. Everyone was congratulating him and giving him hugs and things like that. It was just a really great experience for Bobby and me."

However, John did manage to find one small drawback with his brother committing to BYU.

"The only drawback is we're in Jacksonville and he'll be in Utah," said John. "We did find that in Orlando there's a direct flight, so that shouldn't be much of a problem, but we really liked it and my dad was really happy for him. My whole family is happy for him and are glad he made that decision. We know he's committed there for good and are happy."

With BYU going independent and tying its brand to ESPN, the Wolford family will be able to watch Bobby play live on national television when they aren't in Provo. John said he thinks independence will be a great thing for BYU.

"They're going independent and they want to win a national championship for the school," John said. "I think now is a great time for them to go independent to receive the exposure they'll get. It will draw more great kids from farther regions of the country to there and it's only going to get better. I mean, BYU is already one of the top schools in the country with the seventh-best record over the past five years, but haven't gotten as much publicity for it. They'll be able to show that now."

In two years, John could be one of the top quarterbacks in the country, with college programs stretching from the East and the West vying for his field-general attributes.

"I would definitely consider BYU," he said about his recruitment process. "I know it's kind of early in the process, but BYU is one of the best schools in the nation and my brother Bobby is going there. They'll definitely be one of the schools that I will always be drawn to. I know with Bobby being there, he'll try and get me to come there.

"I'm still young, but I really like the school. It's exciting and I really liked it a lot. People say that once you go there, you'll be drawn back for the rest of your life."

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