BYU football: Coach prepares prospects for NFL
BYU receiver Austin Collie's acknowledgement Thursday that he is at least considering giving up his senior season and entering the NFL Draft might have caught some Cougar followers by surprise, but it didn't catch coach Bronco Mendenhall off guard.
Mendenhall said after Friday night's practice session that he has already discussed the possibility with Collie. Mendenhall said on the Monday after the Utah game he approached all the players that he considered might be thinking about leaving early and talked to them about how the process works, how they submit information to the league and whether they should submit it.
The other BYU player who will at least ask the NFL for an evaluation is junior defensive end Jan Jorgensen, several sources have told The Tribune.
"There might be one, maybe two, that would consider it strongly [this year]," Mendenhall said without naming names. ""But I think that will depend a lot on what the report or what the evaluation they get back [says]. . . . So the evaluation comes back, and it will be rounds 1-3, 5-7, 7 to free agent [something like that]. And that will have a lot to do with it."
Mendenhall said he offers advice and then steps back and lets the players decide.
"The first advice I give is that every player that has left our program wants to come back, once they get to the NFL," he said. "And, secondly, there's a lot to accomplish here in terms of education that needs to be considered. But it is their choice. I don't really try to persuade them one way or the other. I just educate them."
Count BYU quarterback Max Hall among those who believe the Cougars can contend for conference titles and BCS bowl berths despite the recruiting limitations brought on by the school's strict honor code and Mendenhall's acknowledgement that he will bring in only players he knows will fit in at Mormon Church-owned BYU.
"Absolutely," he said. "Absolutely we can. I think coach [Jay Omer] has acknowledged that there are some things we need to work on, as far as team speed. And I think he has talked to us about some different things we will be doing in the offseason to work on that, and try to put a lot more speed on our team."
Hall says some things about BYU players will never change.
"What is tough for us is that we are what we are," he said. "We are a bunch of return missionaries and older, married guys. We have a lot of other stuff going on in our lives - church callings and families. Some of us have kids. And so we are who we are. But for us to still have those types of [players] and still win football games, and to be a top 15, 20 team in the nation says a lot about our program."
About 15 players were asked to fill out a survey for the Las Vegas Bowl after a practice last week. Among the questions were "strangest thing to be found in a teammates' locker" and "what is something your teammates spend too much money on?" . . . The Cougars will resume practicing tonight, but won't go until 6 p.m. or so because of final exams.
Should BYU receiver Austin Collie leave early for the NFL Draft? See what an agent who represents several NFL players, including one from the University of Utah, thinks he should do. http://blogs.sltrib.com/byu/
At Sam Boyd Stadium
No. 17 BYU vs. Arizona, 6 p.m., MT