PROVO — Sawyer Powell informed BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall on Saturday night of his plans to sign a letter of intent with BYU. In doing so, Powell becomes the 17th commit for the 2012 Cougar signing class.
Powell made up his mind that BYU was his school quite a while ago. Ever since he was young, BYU was the only school he ever wanted to play for.
"I just couldn't see myself playing for anyone else, ever," said the 6-foot-1, 205-pound safety/linebacker prospect. "BYU has everything, and I've only wanted to play for them for as long as I can remember."
Over the summer, Powell had a standout performance at the NIKE SPARQ combine, recording one of the top combined scores nationally (124.44.) As is often the case, schools became very interested in him after scoring so highly at a national camp.
He quickly received an offer from Oregon State, and BYU's interest increased. He attended BYU's summer camp shortly after the SPARQ combine and was optimistic regarding his chances of securing an offer.
"I went in with the thought that they'd probably offer, and I knew I'd commit the second they did," said the Richland, Wash., prospect. "I was very optimistic, and excited for the camp."
When the offer didn't come at the time, however, it obviously led to some great disappointment on Powell's part.
"All the hard work I've done, everything is so I could have a chance to play at BYU," he said. "So yeah, it was incredibly disappointing to me when they didn't offer. I put everything out there for them, worked as hard as I could, but they didn't offer me."
He went home, but kept in constant contact with outside linebacker coach Kelly Poppinga.
"It was good talking to him (Poppinga)," said Powell. "He told me that scholarships were extremely short this year, but that they liked me, and that they were hopeful that they could still work things out."
This past Wednesday, Powell made his way back to Provo and to BYU for a family reunion. He informed Cougar coaches that he planned on attending a practice session while in town.
"When I told them that I was coming down, they invited me to their team meetings and told me that Bronco (Mendenhall) would like to meet with me," he said. "That got me really excited. I didn't want to get disappointed again, but yeah, I was excited."
Shortly after, Mendenhall informed Powell that they had a scholarship offer for him. Due to the scholarship crunch, he'd have to walk on for the 2012 season, but would have an offer upon the return of his planned mission service in 2014.
He wasn't with his parents at the time, and Mendenhall encouraged him to go home and talk it over with his parents before committing.
"It wasn't a hard decision," said Powell. "Like I said, I've only ever wanted to play for BYU. They're my church's school, and I love everything about them. I couldn't say that there's just one thing about BYU that makes me want to play there, it's everything."
Powell will play either outside linebacker or safety for BYU. At the SPARQ combine he put up eye-popping number.
He was clocked running a 4.57 forty and a 4.02 shuttle, but the number the sticks out is his incredible 43.2 inch vertical leap.
"I can't tell you how excited I am to have the opportunity to play for BYU," he said. "It's the end of the long dream I've had since I was a little kid. Playing for BYU means everything in the world to me. I love coach Mendenhall, and I'm grateful to have the chance to play for such a great coach at such a great university."