Ben Olson to Return Soon

The #1 high school quarterback prospect from two years ago, <b>Ben Olson</b> of Thousand Oaks, will return home from his Mormon Mission very soon. His father, Rick, provided us a little bit of an update on his son's status...

Ben Olson, the #1-ranked high school quarterback in the class of 2002 from Thousand Oaks (Calif.) High, has been on his Mormon Mission since January of 2003.

If you remember, the lefty Olson went to BYU as a freshman, and then left the school to go on his Mission in Alberta, Canada. Per NCAA rules, Olson has now been gone long enough from BYU to be considered a recruitable athlete.

Much has been discussed and speculated about Olson in the last two years.

We spoke with Olson's father, Rick, to try to clear up some issues. Rick, though, and understandably so, didn't want to give away too much information before his son actually returns home, which Rick said will happen very soon. Rick said, "For now, I really can't answer too many questions for him. He'll have to answer himself when he returns."

And Rick said that will be happening within the next two weeks. "We're going up to get him and then we'll be back probably about November 2nd," Rick said. "We are expecting a lot of things to heat up then. We'll see what happens and deal with it as it happens. We're really looking forward to getting him back."

Rick said that his son has been trying to keep in shape while on his Mission: "When he left he was about 230 pounds, and he was in really good shape. He says he weighs about 235 now. I think his natural playing weight is 230. He used to be about 6-4 and a half, but I think he's about 6-5 now. He's also been trying to throw a little bit each week."

The Olsons had very limited contact with their son while he was on his Mission. "We only got to talk to him by phone on Christmas and Mother's Day," Rick said. "We do e-mail once a week, just to keep in touch."

But they did actually see Ben about eight months ago. Rick said, "He came home because he had developed a hernia and needed surgery. Then he recuperated and went back."

When it comes to recruiting, Rick didn't want to say too much. "There are quite a few schools that have been calling and showing interest," Rick said. When asked if UCLA were among those schools, Rick said, "Yes." He also conceded that BYU and Oregon were also on the list.

When asked who was recruiting Ben for UCLA, Rick said: "Karl Dorrell has been calling personally once a week. He's the coach we're dealing with. He seems like a great guy. It looks like they're doing a good job of turning around the program. It looks like their new offensive coordinator is doing well, too."

Rick said that he thought Ben would definitely like a school that emphasizes the passing game. "I think he'll prefer the style of offense, one like the West Coast offense, that likes to put the ball in the air."

Recruiting and the college football experience will be completely different for Ben now that he's 21-years-old, Rick believes. "I think that it will greatly benefit him to be older. Physically it will take him a while to get in top shape, but from a maturity standpoint, he'll be way ahead of where he was when he left."

The plan is for Ben, who will be a redshirt freshman next football season, to enroll in the college of his choice this January. "He'll enter in January, then have a number of months to get into shape and then hopefully be in a position by spring ball to compete, and then in fall as well."


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