PROVO — Coaching often has a major impact on college football programs and, given the timetable of most hirings and firings, recruiting is often impacted before anything else. Most coaching changes occur in late December or early January, just weeks before recruits sign their letters of intent.
The timing of most coaching changes often work to drive away some players previously committed or work to attract others who look to sign elsewhere. BYU has experienced both shortly after it hired Robert Anae as offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.
Take top offensive line recruit Brayden Kearsley, for example. The Portland, Ore., four-star prospect was BYU's first commit for 2013, but has since waffled to the point where many felt the Cougars had slim to no hopes of signing him. The 6-foot-5 prospect looked set on nearby Oregon State before the hiring of Anae.
Kearsley confirmed over the weekend that his interest in BYU has been renewed with the hiring of Anae. The new BYU offensive coordinator touched base with Kearsley shortly after BYU hired him, and the correspondance went quite well, according to reports.
Kearsley expressed concern over former BYU coach Mark Weber and BYU's subpar offensive line play last season. Although he had gained a lot of respect for Weber through the recruiting process, Kearsley said he feels Anae will work to prepare him better for the NFL.
Another offensive line commit did not greet the news of Weber's departure quite the same way, however. Claudell Louis is a non-LDS junior college prospect who committed to BYU in October, but has since let it be known that he'll look to sign elsewhere due in large part to the coaching changes at his position.
The 6-foot-6, 270 prospect is listed as a defensive end, but was going to play offensive line at BYU. When the Anae news first surfaced, he expressed a lot of concern and ultimately decided to part ways.
BYU will be hosting as many as 23 prospects this weekend on their official visits. Most of those include prospects already committed, but four of them are uncommitted. Those four include Logan High's Chasen Andersen, who had previously committed to Utah State; Zach Barnes from Loganville, Ga., who is a linebacker prospect; Josh Carter, an offensive line prospect from Eastern Arizona; and linebacker Auston Johnson from El Camino Junior College.