PROVO – BYU football is family for Dallin Leavitt. Having had his father pass through the program, BYU was his childhood favorite growing up in the Portland, Ore., area.
Head coach Bronco Mendenhall made an offer to Leavitt following his most recent camp performance and Leavitt immediately jumped on the offer.
"It's sort of like officially joining a family for me," Leavitt said. "I've always considered BYU to be part of my bigger family with my dad having played there, so they've always been my favorite school. It's just something that I've always wanted, and now that it's a reality, I couldn't be more excited."
Leavitt will join with his good friend Brayden Kearsley in signing with BYU in 2013. Like Kearsley, he plans on playing a year before leaving for his planned LDS mission.
BYU started sending Leavitt letters when he was in the eighth grade. Now 5 feet 11 inches and 196 pounds, Leavitt is a student at Central Catholic High School. BYU’s interest in him has grown steadily since that first letter.
"Coach Tidwell is a very good friend of my father's, so he's known about me for a long time," Leavitt said. "It obviously gave me a lot of advantages, and I'm thankful for that. I've built a very good relationship with Coach Tidwell and with most of all the other coaches at BYU."
Knowing a coach can only get a player so far, Leavitt had to prove his worth as a scholarship athlete by his play.
"It was just after my freshman year when they really got interested in me," he said. "Coaches mentioned that I'd probably get offered, so I was sort of expecting that offer when I went to camp this summer."
Leavitt will play either safety or running back while at BYU. While most prep athletes may prefer the offensive side of the football, Leavitt prefers the other.
"I absolutely love to hit and to play as physical as I possibly can," he said. "I led my team in both tackles and in rushing yards this past year. I definitely want to play safety at BYU but also play a bit like Eric Weddle did for Utah, when they were having him play out of the wildcat formation and all that. I also want to return kicks."
Leavitt claims a high 4.5 forty time and was starting to receive a lot of interest from some top programs.102 comments on this story
"Cal was really starting to get interested," he said. "They were coming by a lot and Oregon, I think they would have ended up offering me if I had waited. Utah was also recruiting me, too, but I wasn't really interested in them. I'm a BYU guy."
As one could imagine, the decision to commit was a relatively easy one for Leavitt.
"BYU is the only place I've ever wanted to play," he said. "I love all the coaches and have a great relationship with Coach Tidwell, Coach Howell, Coach Poppinga and now with Coach Mendenhall especially. I love the spirit of the football program there, and how you feel whenever you're there on campus. It has everything I could ever dream of wanting in a football program.”