My point is this: put Van Noy in any other program — Oregon, LSU, Notre Dame, USC — and he stands out like a 100-watt light bulb in a dark alley. But at BYU his off-the-field conduct these past four years is considered the norm. It’s almost ho-hum. He’s simply following the honor code expected of every other BYU student.
Only he’s not every other BYU student. No other student at BYU lives with all the trappings that are available to a prospective first-round draft pick — the money, the women, the aggressive agents, and a slew of other minefields that can lead to trouble. Very few adult men could resist all of these temptations, never mind a 21-year-old college student.
The fact that Kyle has remained grounded through all of this is far more impressive than his high-flying sacks, blocked punts and forced fumbles. He’s managed to do it by keeping a very low profile off the field and choosing his friends judiciously.
These are qualities that will take him a long way when he enters the NFL. The life lessons he has learned through his college football experience will take him further than anything he’s read in a textbook or heard in a lecture hall.
During my near 20-year career as an author I’ve had the opportunity to profile and meet a wide range of highly successful people. I’m particularly drawn to the ones who are largely alone in the world. By alone I mean they march to a different drum; they are mavericks at the top of their game, thriving under circumstances that would swallow most people.
Kyle Van Noy is in that club. It was an honor and a privilege profiling him for "The System." I set out to simply chronicle his decision-making process on whether to turn pro or stay in school. Along the way I found a friend.
Jeff Benedict is a best-selling author and columnist for SI.com. He recently wrote "THE SYSTEM: The Glory and Scandal of Big-Time College Football" with Armen Keteyian.
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