Ok, I'm back among the land of wireless access after spending the past four days or so at a family reunion at Panguitch Lake in beautiful Southern Utah.
Preseason football camp for BYU starts on Thursday (players report on Wednesday), so it is time to get back in the groove.
Last week, we ran this story in the Tribune about how BYU's football recruiting for 2013 is going, and why coach Bronco Mendenhall has secured so many early commitments after saying in January that coaches were going to slow down on that.
A couple days after the story ran, BYU commit Tanner Shipley, a wide receiver from Wilsonville, Ore., told ESPN.com and other outlets that he has de-committed from BYU. The 6-foot-2, 200-pound receiver said he committed too quickly and needs some time to explore other options.
It's a tough loss for the Cougars, assuming Shipley ends up signing with another program.
Here's what Chris Fetters of Scout.com (Northwest Recruiting Analyst) told me about Shipley last month:
"I have seen a lot of wide receivers in the Northwest so far, and he is by far, to me, the best wide receiver in the Northwest," Fetters said. "As a pure wide receiver, Tanner Shipley is going to remind BYU fans of some of those great possession receivers, great route runners, they have had in the past. He will get open. He hasn't been stopped all camp season long, as far as I have been able to tell."
Ironically, at BYU football media day last month, I asked Mendenhall if oral commitments "don't mean as much" now as they did 10 or 20 years ago, and whether that's a nationwide trend that disturbs him.
"I have seen [that trend] nationwide," he said. "I have had two players in my career here say they were coming to BYU, and change their mind."
It seems like there have been more, at least in the five years I've been covering BYU football. Three others that come to mind are linebacker Uona Kaveinga (chose USC on signing day, but has since transferred to BYU), Florida linebacker Bobby Wolford (who signed with Boston College) and Davis High OL Zach Lindsay (who signed with Utah.
Mendenhall said he's learned over the years to "frame" his scholarship offers so recruits know exactly what a commitment means and will be less likely to de-commit down the road.
"So a lot of schools focus on the verbal commitment, and they present it like that's not binding. I focus on the commitment part. 'Do not tell me you are coming, unless you are coming, no matter who wants you.' By saying it just like that, with the type of kids that come here, I think it can be addressed.
The rest of the recruiting world is doing these kids a disservice by saying verbal means something different than commit. And if they are not ready to commit, then don't have them say it. A lot of them pressure them so much when they are in their office to commit, it is almost like the kid will commit just to get out of that environment, just get out of that office. And then they can say, ah, it was just a verbal commit. You know, because the pressure is so fierce. It is just a crappy, it is just a poor way to try to influence a young man to make a poor choice, in my opinion."
As my recruiting story mentioned, Mendenhall said more and more good players are showing up at BYU camps than ever before.
"Our intent has been to [slow down], but now, we are getting more and more talented players showing up in front of us, making their way even to be there just for a day, to make sure we see them," he said. "And so we still have more [scholarships] left right now than we ever have, since I have been the coach, at this time. But I am having to, I am almost shaking because I am trying not to [offer so many scholarships], and yet these kids are right here and so the emphasis is still the same, but it has already produced a different result, which is also a good thing, meaning we are seeing more players."
Running backs coach Joe DuPaix, who doubles as BYU's recruiting coordinator (replacing Paul Tidwell in that capacity a year ago), echoed Mendenhall's sentiment that more, better players are attending BYU's camps.
"I will tell you what -- our football staff has done a tremendous job of going out and finding guys -- not just football players, but finding the right football players that fit BYU and fit what we are doing," he said. "So from a football staff standpoint, it has been awesome for me to see how hard the guys have worked hitting the road.
And then with the national exposure of ESPN, and going independent, and having the contract that we do, it just increased our exposure so much. And so you end up having more people that are interested in learning more about BYU.
So those two things put together, and then you add in Junior Days and camps and whatnot that take place in June, we end up having a bunch of guys here, and with that being said, we end up with some guys that will hopefully commit and end up coming to BYU."
Here's my updated list of BYU's 19 commitments from the class of 2013:
Keegan Hicks, 6-3, 280 OL from South Jordan, Utah (Bingham High School)
Brayden Kearsley, 6-6, 250 OL from Portland, Ore. (Aloha High School)
Trajan Pili, 6-2, 200 LB from Las Vegas (Centennial High School)
Dallin Leavitt, 5-11, 196 Safety from Portland, Ore. (Central Catholic High School)
Moroni Laulu-Pututau, 6-4, 190, TE from Hyrum, Utah (Mountain Crest High School)
Talon Shumway, 6-3, 190, WR from Highland, Utah (Lone Peak High School)
JonRyheem Peoples, 6-6, 300 OL from Rigby, Idaho (Rigby High School)
Maataua Brown, 6-5, 290, DT from Norwalk, Calif. (Cerritos Junior College)
Kalolo Manumaleuna Utu, 6-2, 250, LB from Compton, Calif. (Compton Junior College)
Nathan DeBeikes, 6-2, 196, LB from Thousand Oaks, Calif. (Thousand Oaks High School)
Johnny Tapasoa, 5-10, 190, Safety from Kahuku, Hawaii (Kahuku High School)
Addison Pulsipher, 6-5, 240, DE from Temecula, Calif. (Temecula Valley High School)
Billy Green, 6-2, 196, QB from Shoreline, Wash. (Christian King's High School)
Hayden Weichers, 6-0, 165 WR from South Jordan, Utah (Bingham High School)
Kai Nacua, 6-2, 200 LB from Las Vegas, Nev. (Liberty High School)
Patrick Palau, 5-11, 240 FB from Salt Lake City, Utah (East High School)
Garrett England, 6-3, 185 RB from Salt Lake City, Utah (Skyline High School)
Merrill Taliauli, 6-2, 305 DL from Salt Lake City, Utah (East High School)
Thomas Shoaf, 6-6, 265 OL from Columbus, Indiana (Columbus North High School)
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