PROVO — BYU football is getting a jump on both its 2014 and 2015 recruiting classes, recently adding two notable commits to both recruiting classes. Dayan Lake, from Northridge High School in Layton, committed a few weeks back while Fred Warner, from San Marcos, Calif., committed Tuesday evening.
Both players are LDS and were attracted to BYU due to its unique social environment among other factors.
“BYU has a different feel there than any other school I’ve visited or camped at,” Lake said. “Coaches there care about you as a person and about your success both on and off the football field. It’s the perfect school for me to reach my goals.”
Lake is a 5-foot-11, 185 cornerback prospect who will be a junior this coming season. BYU coaches cannot send him an official written offer until completion of his junior season, but assured him that the offer would be waiting for him.
“Coach (Bronco) Mendenhall showed me the offer and let me know that they’re just waiting to fill-in my name on it to make it official,” Lake said. “I let him know right when he told me they had an offer for me that I’d commit because BYU is the only school I want to play for. Both my parents attended BYU-Hawaii and I’ve always been a BYU fan, so this is perfect.”
Lake has long impressed Cougar coaches and was one of only three sophomores to be invited to BYU’s invitation-only elite camp last summer. He competed at the camp against players entering their senior seasons and held his own.
During camps Lake showed a good size and speed combination that gave him a leg up on other defensive back prospects. Lake claims a 4.45 forty time and recently clocked an 11.2 time in the 100 meters.
BYU kept in contact and watched him play a key role for Northridge last season. Lake played primarily at cornerback, where he led his team with 90 tackles, but also played at receiver and a little bit at running back.
Other schools, such as Utah and Utah State, began to show interest, but BYU was the first school to offer him a scholarship.
“I was definitely surprised a bit when they offered me, but I couldn’t have been more happy for it,” Lake said. “I love BYU and I love coach Mendenhall and coach (Nick) Howell who recruited me a lot and he’s the coach I’ll be playing for.”
Lake has definite plans to serve and LDS mission and will likely play one year before leaving.
Unlike Lake, Fred Warner didn’t grow up a BYU fan, but caught notice of the program last season due to its superior defense that was ranked No. 3 nationally.
“I started watching BYU when it played Utah and really liked how Kyle Van Noy played and just sort of followed them since,” Warner said. “I absolutely loved watching the defense and seeing how Van Noy played in the Poinsettia Bowl — I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a better defensive performance and I like the idea of playing in a defense like BYU has and hopefully playing like Van Noy.”
Warner is a 6-foot-3, 210 outside linebacker who plays for Mission Hills High in Southern California. Recruiting interest was heating up for him after impressing national scouts during recent combine performances.
BYU was one of those schools catching notice and moved quickly in offering him.
“It went down really fast,” Warner related. “I had just been offered by New Mexico State when I got a message to call coach Howell and coach (Kelly) Poppinga at BYU. They both told me they really liked what they saw on film and then the very next day I got a message to call coach Mendenhall. He told me the same thing over the phone and told me they wanted to offer me a scholarship.”
Up to that point Warner knew very little about BYU other than what he saw on TV. He visited BYU the weekend of its Blue and White game to learn more about the school while seeing the football program up close.
Warner was immediately struck by BYU’s unique atmosphere and really liked what he learned about the campus life and how coaches ran the football program. It was a talk with a current football player that really stuck with him, however, and all but convinced him to commit.
“I got to talk to Spencer Hadley and spend some time with him and I think that, more than any other thing, really helped me decide that BYU was where I needed to be,” Warner said. “I was able to ask him a lot of questions and he gave me a real honest look that you just can’t get from coaches and others. Just talking to a player who was there and experiencing it really helped and got me excited about the possibility of playing for BYU.”
Warner went home, talked it over with his parents and decided to call coaches Tuesday night to commit.
“They were really excited and that made me even more excited about it,” Warner said. “I feel so comfortable with my decision and I can’t wait to join the program and attend school at BYU. It’s the best situation for me and I seriously can’t wait to be coached by coach Mendenhall and play like they do in that defense. Those players are like animals on the field with how active they are and I love that. I love everything about BYU.”
Warner will join the program in 2014 and currently doesn’t have definitive plans to serve an LDS mission.