BYU football: Corby Eason's LDS conversion at BYU

By Talo Steves, Jedd Parkinson and Matt Hodge

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, June 6 2013 5:00 a.m. MDT

"Coach Mendenhall is a special head coach,” said Logan. “I always joke around with Corby that Coach Mendenhall is like this prophet because he has this glow about him. He really is a spiritual person and the thing I liked is he has never, never, ever thrown or pushed his faith on me. I know this goes for the rest of the guys as well. He's always tried to help me out to become stronger in my faith and my personal relationship with God."

Eason echoed his teammate’s thoughts, recounting how BYU helped him to get back to the religious ideals his mother had taught him.

"Being here has really helped me grow spiritually. It really is a wonderful place because it's really helped me get back to what's important and grow closer to God.” Eason noted at the time how Coach Mendenhall helped him to grow as a Baptist, and how he made sure that those players who were not LDS participated in religious firesides and were able to share their testimonies.

"It's wonderful because Coach Mendenhall wants everyone to be involved in the firesides," said Eason back in 2010. "Those are not just for members of the LDS faith, but for us too. I plan on talking at one of the firesides, as well as Brian Logan. Coach Mendenhall wants us to share our experiences about how we are disciples of Christ, and that's going to be wonderful. I can't wait to have that experience.

“Looking back as a kid and seeing my mom, being a single mother, taking me to church every Sunday, I remember she would go to Bible study every night and I would go to the nursery and play with the kids. Even when I got in high school she would make me go to church youth groups, so now that I'm in college it's great to have that support from Coach Mendenhall and the rest of the staff here at BYU." ...

Eason played in 12 of 13 games as a sophomore as he got his feet wet at the Division I level. As he began his junior season in 2010, Eason became a much greater force on the football field. He became part of the regular rotation, backing up friend and teammate Brandon Bradley at the boundary corner position. Given increased playing time, Eason quickly left his mark.

In addition to 22 tackles, including 20 solo takedowns, Eason also had 3.5 sacks. The sack number was good enough for second-best on the team — an amazing accomplishment for a backup cornerback. Eason also excelled in the classroom, being named to the Mountain West Conference All-Academic team for the second year in a row.

While Eason was raising his performance on the field and continuing to shine in the classroom, he was also experiencing some big changes off the field. With two games remaining in the regular season, Eason announced to his teammates and coaches that he would be baptized a member of the LDS Church.

Looking back on his conversion process, Eason described how every morning he would look out his window, see Mount Timpanogos and thank God he was in Provo. “Just being out here and learning more about the church has made me happy. I believe the church is true,” Eason said.

When asked how he came to believe that, Eason said, “I found out the church was true through prayer. I felt the Spirit and felt the Holy Ghost like I haven't before.

“I just remember on my first day in Provo I felt something. I’m a curious guy. I always want to know how things work, why things work. When I came to BYU I did everything that I was supposed to do. I followed the honor code and for some reason I still wasn’t as happy as my other teammates.

“I was curious about what I was missing and I started talking to Andrew Rich and Brandon Bradley more about the church and praying about it and praying more about it and reading the scriptures, the same scriptures that Joseph Smith read, James 1, verse 5. Just reading this scripture and just pondering about my decision, it was a wonderful feeling.”

As Eason walked down into the baptismal font on Nov. 18, 2010, he saw many familiar faces standing quietly in support.

The person who had the honor of performing Eason’s baptism also happened to be the person he played behind: Bradley. Bradley, who joined the church along with his family while he was a high school student in Florida, played a special role in Eason’s spiritual journey.

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