BYU Soccer: Big 12 Badge Recruitment Killed Anti-BYU Tactics

An invitation to the Power Five party pays dividends for BYU football recruiters.

Using membership in the Big 12 for recruitment has definitely made a difference as BYU football coaches make the rounds, according to frontline coaches.

But will that see BYU recruiting classes jump from the mid-50s, 60s, and 70s into the 30s any time soon?

We will see.

But it made a difference.

“People can’t use independence against us anymore,” offensive coordinator Aaron Roderick told reporters and a BYUtv studio audience. “We were tired of fighting it.”

Indeed, it was thrown in the face of BYU coaches by the Bronco Mendenhall and now the Kalani Sitake years.

No longer.

And the change was already measurable.

Running backs coach Harvey Unga said he noticed while recruiting at high schools this spring that coaches were bringing players to him in separate groups. Mountain West type players, Group of Five guys, FCS type talent and then what they considered P5 material. “They brought Power Five prospects to me, so yes, there was a difference, at least with what I experienced and how BYU is perceived.”

Roderick elaborated and said that to a certain extent things aren’t much different because BYU will still recruit players who fit into the program first. “There have been some good players in the past who could have come and been successful but weren’t interested because of the school’s non-Power Five status.

“There were a few who pretty much eliminated us from the start because they wanted to play in a P5 conference, play for a conference championship, be in the playoffs and play for a national championship.”

Roderick said that each year there are a handful of high-level recruits that BYU has a shot at.

“It’s not like we’re casting a national net and not recruiting like Alabama,” he said. “But now there are definitely four or five or up to ten recruits in that category that we are in the game with.

“I know the fans want us to get every last one of them, but if you get one of these guys this year and you get one or two next year and one or two the year after that, the next thing you know, that you have 10 to 11 differentiators on your team to take you to another level.”

One Impact player who fits into this category is University of California running back transfer Chris Brooks. “He was their best offensive player,” Roderick said.

“People are using everything they can to do negative recruitment. That’s what people do, and yes, they used non-P5s against us,” said tight ends coach Steve Clark. “We were invited to the Big 12 and defeated Utah practically on the same day. Everything has changed. The conversations changed. People came up to us wanting to come that we probably never would have spoken to. It was so huge.”

“We’ve come a long way in nine months,” said passing game coordinator Fesi Sitake. “We went out on the street with recruits who love us and get along well with, and then we got the feeling that opposing recruiters used that against us and it was tough. We’ve found ways to counter that, but the reality now is that they can’t fault us anymore in terms of affiliation and the level of competition that we play in.

“It’s time to combine everything with our previous strengths, playing at a school like BYU with its fan base, home crowd, code of honor, academic standards, teammates, amazing culture, on our home field in front of passionate fans too to play. play for a conference title and play at the highest level. Put that in a package with the Big 12 and the Power Five label and it sells great.”

Assistant head coach Ed Lamb agreed.

He used the metaphor of a salesman standing at a door and knocking, knocking, knocking. Fans think if you just stand on the door and knock hard and long enough you can close the top rated players sale. But if you don’t close the sale with what the customer is looking for, it’s difficult. High-level recruits want to play at a high level against P5 teams, and BYU couldn’t bring that to the field.

“Well what I’ve seen is that we’ve done a hell of a job with some high-level players that we’ve spoken to in the past, letters, contacts, building relationships, making phone calls and coaches have a relationship with built up from the parents, at the end the common objection and comment was: ‘We love the tradition of BYU, we love the coaches, players and the campus, but I want to play at the highest level.'”

Lamb said the objection is gone now.

Has he seen a difference now that they will be in the Big 12?

“Yes. Due to future Big 12 membership, we are now hiring at the highest level.”

Lamb said the current coaching staff now have a real difference. You will coach a group of seniors who will never play in the Big 12.

“We really want to send these guys out there. We want to send them onto the field with as much support as possible. For this reason, we purposely do not wear clothing and patches with the Big 12 logo. This season is about this year’s team. This isn’t the Big 12 this year, but every remaining player, every recruit who signs with us going forward will play in the Big 12.”


BYU football coach Kalani Sitake and athletic director Tom Holmoe speak during a broadcast break during BYU football media day in Provo on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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