Monday marked the first day of school at BYU, which meant more walk-ons were permitted to join the football team, expanding the 105-man camp roster.
Preseason camp includes walk-ons, but those guys are known as "preferred walk-ons" because they were guaranteed a spot on the 105 last spring when decisions such as those are made.
One of the players who joined the team Monday is Orem's Michael Wadsworth, a defensive back. Remember that name? Wadsworth is the returned missionary who played his freshman season on scholarship at Hawaii, then decided he wanted to transfer to BYU while serving in Leeds, England. Hawaii denied BYU's petition to speak to Wadsworth, then twice denied the young man's appeal, therefore ostensibly blocking BYU from giving Wadsworth a scholarship for this school year.
If you are up for some lengthy summer reading, you can learn more about the soap opera by going here for the perspective of Wadsworth's father, and here for a rebuttal of sorts from Hawaii.
Bottom line is that Wadsworth is paying his own way this year. Having not been permitted to talk to a BYU coach until Monday at tryouts, Wadsworth will redshirt.
"It is a unique situation," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said on Monday after practice. "Any time releases are asked for and not granted, in particular just to a single school, it is difficult. I am just glad he's here. I met him for the first time today. So I wasn't able to have any contact with him until the first day of school. So it was fun to finally meet him."
Patrick Kinahan of radio station 1280 AM (The Zone) told Mendenhall that there were "thinly veiled" charges that BYU had contacted Wadsworth while he was on his mission.
"Never has happened. Nor will it happen," Mendenhall said tersely.
Then I asked Mendenhall if Wadsworth would have received a scholarship from BYU if Hawaii had granted coaches permission to talk to him a year ago.
"Oh yeah. He is a good player. He's a great LDS kid, excellent grades, living the standards, return missionary," Mendenhall said. "Sometimes it is just not that hard to see why kids [want to go to BYU]. They go on their missions and after they have matured and [figured out] why they want to come to BYU. We really don't have to recruit them. Nor would we. They kinda come to us."
Here are the other players who joined the team Monday, and a note or two about some:
OL Andrew Crawford -- Returned missionary was on roster in 2009, not a typical walk-on lineman
TE Mike Edmunds -- Former Bingham High receiving star also an RM; Participated in spring camp
TE Jordan Egbert -- All-state tight end at Orem High before mission; originally signed with Weber State
DL Garrett Gallinger -- Played quarterback in high school (Gig Harbor, Wash.)
LB Ryan Jensen -- All-state defensive tackle at Sandy's Alta High
RB Daniel Lacey -- Three-sport star at New Mexico's Farmington High
OL Quinn Lawlor -- Participated on scout team in 2011, second-team all-stater at Orem High
DB Connor Noe -- Freshman from Mason, Ohio, will go on church mission after the season
DL Logan Taele -- Prepped at St. George's Dixie High
DL Darin Tuttle -- Former TE from same high school (Oakridge) in Northern California that produced the Collie brothers
WR Jake Ziolkowski -- Two of his coaches at Wauconda (Ill.) High played for BYU, Glen Kozlowski and Dave Mills
Couple more comments from Mendenhall after practice Monday (assuming you didn't watch the video):
On the offensive line being unsettled with three "ors" :
"Probably the most depth we've ever had. And that's a good thing. Not only as the ones and twos, but the volume of scout team players that are scholarship. That has never really happened before. So it is kind of reflective of the depth of the program.
On whether they will see two QBs (WSU coach Mike Leach said Jeff Tuel would start if the season started today, but Connor Halliday had a strong camp):
"Hard to say on that one."
On the pace that Leach's Air Raid offenses play at:
"Yeah, we watched a few games today, and the defenses are playing over 100 plays. You play 100 plays, there is a good chance you are going to score points."
On doing anything specific for WSU receiver Marquess Wilson:
"No. It is our execution against theirs. It is more our 11 against their 11, rather than one guy to defend."
On where the officiating crew Thursday will come from:
"Haven't asked, and I have learned it is better if I don't know. I just show up and whoever comes in to say hello, that's who we get."
On coach Leach and his thoughts on surfing:
"We crossed paths in Hawaii one time on a recruiting trip. He was getting on a plane and I was going off. I don't know if he got in the water, but at some point, maybe when we are not playing each other, maybe we could go out [surfing] together."
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