ST. GEORGE — While most prep athletes dream of playing a sport at the collegiate level, few of them get a chance. Pine View High's Jake Arslanian was given the unique opportunity to play two sports he loves at BYU, which was an offer he couldn't pass up.
Arslanian is a track star who competes in the 100, 200 and 400 meters, along with the triple jump, long jump and hurdles. He reports a 10.6 in the 100 meters. His ability in track earned him scholarship offers from both Stanford and BYU among other programs.
He signed a letter of intent with the track program at BYU and will compete with the team for one year leading up to his planned LDS Church mission. After his mission, he'll be hitting the gridiron.
Bronco Mendenhall and his staff became very interested in Arslanian during the summer, but due to a lack of available scholarships they couldn't extend an offer. An offer was extended to him to gray-shirt for a year and then return on a full football scholarship.
Arslanian wasn't sure he wanted to commit just to football, however.
"I love competing at both sports so much that I just had a tough time deciding between the two," said the 6-foot, 170-pound athlete. "I'm so thankful for coach Mendenhall understanding that and working with that. It's really a perfect situation for me."
Arslanian will play wide receiver while at BYU, where his speed will be used to stretch defenses on the outside. He'll be coached by BYU assistant coach Ben Cahoon.
"I began watching fillm on him when he was playing and it was incredible to watch," said Arslanian. "He knows the position so well and I couldn't think of a better receiver coach. He knows everything and knows how to make his players better."
Growing up, Arslanian wasn't much of a BYU fan — far from it. With his grandfather (Sarkis) being the former coach at Weber State and his uncle (Dave) coaching at both Weber State and at Utah State, BYU wasn't a school his family cheered for or even liked much.
"I didn't want anything to do with BYU until I visited the campus and got to know what they're all about," said Arslanian. "What I found is an incredible coaching staff who cares for me and my development as both an athlete and as a person. I really like the players on their team too. It's a great atmosphere and a place where I can really fit in and do well."
Arslanian plans to leave for a mission the summer following his first year at BYU and return to join the football program in time for the 2015 season.