BYU football: Cougars land Idaho lineman JonRhyeem Peoples at junior day

Published: Wednesday, June 13 2012 9:09 p.m. MDT

PROVO — BYU football held its annual "Junior Day" on Wednesday, an event that works as a recruiting function for the athletes on the very top of the coach's recruiting board. It's an opportunity for players to prove themselves worthy of a scholarship offer while providing an intimate look into the football program and the school.

One of the many athletes coaches wanted to evaluate up close was JonRyheem Peoples from Rigby, Idaho. Peoples was referred to BYU coaches by an LDS member who became impressed with the 6-foot-6, 298-pound prospect while watching him play basketball.

Coaches became impressed with his film, but waited to do an in-person evaluation of him at junior day. Apparently Peoples passed what proved to be his final evaluation with flying colors.

Coaches offered him a scholarship following junior day and after talking it over briefly with his parents, Peoples accepted that offer.

"I'm very excited right now about my decision and I can't wait to play for BYU and to be part of this great football program," said Peoples. "Everything felt so right during my visit. The coaches were great, the atmosphere was great, so I just decided right there that BYU was the only school I wanted to play for."

Peoples was tried out at both offensive line and defensive line with no determination made as to which side he'll be playing when he gets to BYU.

"Coaches were arguing on whether I'd play defense or offense, but coach (Bronco) Mendenhall just told them that no matter where I was going to play that they wanted me to play for them," said Peoples. "I like defense a little bit better because I like to attack, but I'm fine with wherever they want me to play. I just want to play and contribute to this great program."

Peoples hopes to contribute immediately during the 2013 season. Peoples held an offer from Idaho at the time of his commit.

Other attendees, such as Dallin Leavitt, attended the camp with their minds already made up that BYU was the place for them. For those players, the meetings, presentations, tours and workouts worked to confirm their commitments to BYU.

Leavitt is a 5-foot-11, 200-pound defensive back prospect from Portland, Ore., who committed to BYU last July.

"Being around coaches, especially coach (Nick) Howell, around the facilities and the other commits was great — it was a great day," said Leavitt. "I'm going to be at BYU from now until June 29 and I'm really excited about that. I haven't signed yet, but the more I'm around the program, the more I feel part of it and I love that feeling."

All of the prospects were treated to a presentation by Mendenhall where he laid out what type of program BYU is and what type of athletes succeed in BYU's unique environment. He made mention that there were only eight scholarship spots left open for 2013 and the staff would necessarily be selective in whom they offer.

The rest of the day was spent working out and in team meetings. For most of the attendees, working out with the position coaches was the highlight of the day.

"I really enjoyed the competition and being coached by coach Howell and watching almost a full hour of film with him," said Leavitt. "I was firmly committed before today, but after being there and experiencing everything, I feel even more a part of the program."

BYU extended offers to Brighton linebacker Uaea Masina, wide receiver Michael Davis from Glendale, Calif., and to Johnny Ragin, a linebacker prospect from Wilsonville, Ore., shortly after junior day concluded.

email: bgurney@desnews.com

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