BYU offers young quarterback

There were quite a few quarterbacks at BYU's Junior Day on Wednesday. One was called into Coach Mendenhall's office with his father and Coach Doman and received some very promising news.

On Junior Day, BYU extended one of the earliest verbal offers under Coach Mendenhall's tenure. The Cougar coaching staff extended an offer to freshman quarterback Austin Kafentzis from Jordan High School in Sandy, Utah.

"It's always exciting when programs like BYU offer the kids at our school," said Jordan High School head coach Eric Kjar. "I always get excited as a coach and get excited knowing that one of our kids has a chance to continue playing the game at the next level. BYU is a great program and it's exciting for Austin because BYU develops and produces great quarterbacks. I think it's exciting for our program at Jordan High School and for Austin to get an offer from BYU."

Despite being young in years, Kafentzis is a mature young man who took command of Jordan's offense last season.

"Yeah, he was only a freshman last year," Coach Kjar said. "I think he's really a mature kid and I think BYU likes how he's progressing even from when they saw him as a freshman. I just got done talking with his father and I think it's actually going to go a long way knowing that BYU was the first one."

Kafentzis' numbers don't reflect his youth.

"He is a dual threat in both the passing and run game," said Coach Kjar. "He threw 366 passes last year from the pocket, but all of his running plays came off of designed run plays and he rushed for 1,400 yards last season. I didn't even run him until after week three or week four in the season before I cut him loose and let him run. He ran a 391 or a 392 in the pro agility. He's real quick and his forty speed, I timed him anywhere in between a 4.5 or a 4.6 in the forty time. He'll continue to get quicker because he's just so young.

"He's very disciplined and will run the offense that we call. Austin threw for 3,200 yards and threw 24 touchdowns and ran for 22. He's very comfortable with the offense that I call and will run it and hang in there and deliver the ball. He can read too and has a good natural feel for staying in the pocket, but he's also very quick and elusive and can run the ball when we ask."

Apparently, Kafentzis has a great fondness for BYU's offensive coordinator and quarterback coach.

"He likes Coach Doman a lot," said Coach Kjar. "He really thinks a lot of Coach Doman and I think that will mean a lot when it comes time to make a decision in two years."

"I was working out with Coach Doman and he had me do this drill that Tom Brady from the New England Patriots does called the box drill," said Kafentzis. "I really liked how he was being really technical with me, making sure I was doing everything right and not allowing me to do one rep wrong. He just showed me that he really cared and made sure I was applying everything right.

"Coach Doman is an incredible coach and knows so much and knows exactly what he's doing. He is the type of coach that I've been looking for at the college level. He's one of those quarterback coaches that helps you get prepared for the next level after high school, and then will help you get ready for the next level after college. That's what I'm looking for and he is so good at what he does."

On Junior Day, Kafentzis had to opportunity to pair up with one of the receivers and go against some defenders.

"I picked Hayden Weichers from Bingham and we went 12-for-12 and didn't have one drop," said Kafentzis. "We just dominated and didn't have one drop. He was quick, so he was creating space and I was just getting the ball there on time and accurately. We went up against a lot of kids they were looking at and we did really good. It was just a lot of fun and everyone was having fun. It was a good environment and I just had a great time down there."

Following the camp, Kafentzis was approached by Coach Doman and given some news that excited him greatly.

"After the camp, Coach Doman told us to stay over for a coaches meeting," said Kafentzis. "We had a slide show and then after waiting around for a little bit I spoke to Coach Doman. He just told me, ‘I really like you but I don't want to offer you as an athlete but as a quarterback.' I know it's just an honor and a privilege to be offered by BYU since so many great quarterbacks have come out of that school. To have them want me as a quarterback is such a privilege."

The offer from Doman was a verbal one.

"He said, ‘We're going to basically offer you, but I want Bronco to offer,'" said Kafentzis. "He said, ‘I don't want to be the one to offer you and want Bronco to offer, but I do want to be there with you when he does.' We walked in his office and Coach Mendenhall told me that Coach Doman was dead set on offering me. He said they really liked me but they were hesitant about offering me, because they didn't want it to go to my head and affect how I play in the coming years because I'm only going to be a sophomore.

"I guess Coach Doman went up to him and said, ‘Hey, you have to offer him right now.' When we were in Coach Mendenhall's office I wasn't sure how it was going to be presented to me. It was presented in a calm way and Coach Mendenhall said, ‘We want you to come to our school and think BYU is the best fit for you. Coach Doman really likes and I really like you, so we think it's the best place you for you.' I really felt honored because that was my first [verbal] offer. I really honestly didn't really know what to say. I was telling Coach DuPaix that I was absolutely speechless because I had never been in that position before. I was just smiling."

The offer was hardly typical for BYU.

"Coach Mendenhall told me that I was the youngest player that he's ever offered," said Kafentzis. "He said that he offered [Harvey] Langi just after his sophomore year or something like that, and that I'm now the youngest. I don't know, it's such an honor.

"I'm really excited about BYU and just think it's such an honor to have the opportunity to play for a college known for developing quarterbacks. They've developed so many great quarterbacks and that's why it's such a high honor for me. Coach Doman is such a great guy and the kind of coach that I'm looking for at the next level. I couldn't be more excited and can't even wrap my fingers around it right now. I'm just so excited!"

Not only was young Kafentzis excited, but so was his father Kyle.

"My dad was so excited for me and was happy that I'm his kid," Kafentzis said. "He was just telling me how proud he is of me and how hard I've worked. He was really excited about what happened and just so proud of me."

"Kyle is our defensive coordinator and he's been around the game," said Coach Kjar. "He played at Hawaii years ago and then for a little bit with the Chicago Bears, so he's been around the sport and knows the game really well. He's really excited about this offer from BYU, and really likes the fact that BYU places a lot of emphasis on character development. That's one thing that really attracts BYU to him, because he feels that BYU can provide an environment that doesn't distract his son from football and getting a great education. He's very excited as well."

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