PROVO — Bronco Mendenhall doesn't recruit like other coaches. Given the extremely unique aspects of Brigham Young University's football program and school environment he can't.
It's been well-noted how Mendenhall uses BYU's unique aspects as a strength, rather than something he shies away from during the recruiting process. This obviously plays with some, but turns others away.
For BYU's latest commit, Troy Hinds, Mendenhall's approach obviously worked.
Hinds responded the focus of faith, family, education, friends and then football approach set forth by Mendenhall and his staff. Yes, football is last on that list, but it's still there.
For BYU's latest commit, the football aspect played huge.
"I obviously loved all the aspects about BYU," said the 6-foot-5, 225-pound prospect. "But if BYU didn't have those (unique) things about them, about things other than football, I still think I would have committed there because of their great football and what they offer me as a football player."
It's often assumed that BYU coaches work to put forth and focus on the other aspects of their program, as to obscure the pure football quotient. This is an assumption Hinds, for one, couldn't disagree more with.
"Football was talked about all the time when I was being recruited," said Hinds. "They'd talk to me about their system, how they saw me in their system and how I'd benefit as a football player, not just as a person, and as a student."
Hinds has played defensive end in a 4-3 system every year for Davis High School. Almost every school that recruited Hinds recruited him as a rush end in the same type of system he was used to.
BYU couldn't recruit him as such given their 3-4 base defensive alignment, which calls for a different type of athlete to man their end positions. They had to sell Hinds on not only playing, but thriving as an outside linebacker, which would be a departure of what he's used to.
"I love it, I absolutely love how Bronco explained it to me when I met with him," he said about playing OLB. "I think that with what I can do athletically, that playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 system is perfect for me."
He'll also be playing in that system for a defensive coach that esteems very highly.
"Coach Mendenhall is one of the best, maybe the best defensive mind in the country," said Hinds. "He knows defense and how to coach defense as well as anyone. That was a big thing in my mind. I know that people say that I could have played in better defensive systems, and that I committed because of the other things besides football, but that isn't true at all. I love everything about how they play football there, and how Bronco coaches on defense."
So what about all the other aspects that makes BYU unique as a football program?
"Like I said, I love everything about BYU," Hinds said. "I had a lot of schools to choose from, but when I started thinking about every school, it always came back to BYU, every time. I just couldn't get them out of my mind, no matter which school I focused on. Every school had things that I loved about them, but none of them had as much to offer me as BYU did."
Hinds was originally planning to play out his senior year before making his commitment. As he was set to begin his senior season, however, it became apparent to him that it was best to get his commitment out of the way.
"I wasn't going to commit until I was totally sure of my decision," he said. "This past week, I pretty much made up my mind that it was BYU. I like that I've now made my decision, so that I can totally focus on my senior season and finish strong there."
Hinds will begin to acclimate himself to playing in BYU's defense during this coming season for the Darts. While he's been played as a down lineman exclusively up to this point, he'll see plenty of work this year out of a three-point stance.
"Coach Bishop has changed the defense, and I'll be playing out of a linebacker stance a lot this year," he said. "I'm excited for it. It fits my strengths as a player, and it will help us overall as a defense. I'm very excited to play in the new system he's developed."53 comments on this story
After this season, Hinds will serve an LDS mission. Upon his return, he'll join a BYU program that he expects to have reached new heights.
"I love what BYU has done with going independent and being shown on ESPN and all that, for sure. Who wouldn't?" he said. "BYU is a great program, and we'll get greater exposure now, and that's awesome. It means so much to me and to my family to be able to be part of such a great program as BYU. It's an honor and something I'm looking forward to a lot."