Links: Top LB prospect Mique Juarez visiting BYU; Big 12 expansion talk; Utah only NCAA tournament team from the state?
Mique Juarez of North Torrance High School in California is widely considered to be the top linebacker prospect for the 2016 class.
He also happens to be a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, so naturally his name is regularly linked with BYU.
Throughout the recruiting process, however, it became apparent that Juarez was considering other top-tier programs such as UCLA, Ole Miss and Alabama, with the Cougars getting left out of the running.
On Wednesday, however, Adam Gorney of Rivals.com reported that Juarez will take an official visit to Provo the weekend of Jan. 29.
BYU fans on Twitter had a wide variety of reactions, from excitement to doubt that Juarez will end up with the Cougars.
BYU fans upon hearing the Mique Juarez news pic.twitter.com/d0oBxIkBqc— Robby McCombs (@rtmccombs) January 20, 2016
@BlueBrethren Please oh please oh please make Mique Juarez happen.— Grad School Imposter (@darinself) January 20, 2016
Mique Juarez belongs at BYU.— nicer hobo (@hobocita) January 20, 2016
A few hours after Gorney's news broke, Juarez tweeted the following edited image of himself in Alabama, UCLA and Ole Miss uniforms.
Decisions decisions.Feb3rd is just around the corner. My choice is 14 days away... Tick tock.. I'm ready are you?😈✍🏾 pic.twitter.com/mEqam83lOv— Mique (@miquejuarez3) January 21, 2016
A BYU fan replied, noting that Juarez "forgot one more!" and the linebacker retweeted a similarly edited image of himself in Cougar threads.
Fox Sports' Stewart Mandel dives into questions surrounding BYU
In the wake of last week's announcement that the Big 12 will not need to expand to 12 teams to host a football conference championship game, Fox Sports' writer Stewart Mandel addressed a number of BYU-related questions in a mailbag on Wednesday.
Most notably, Mandel feels the Big 12 will have to expand eventually, but that the Cougars will likely be stuck where they are if and when expansion does happen.
"All that being said, it's crazy that BYU is sitting there with a 64,000-seat stadium, a national championship and a Heisman in its trophy case, and a regular eight- to 10-win team, yet is relegated to playing in the Las Vegas or Hawaii bowls," Mandel wrote. "It just goes to show that on-field success, while helpful (it got archrival Utah into the Pac-12), is not the lone prerequisite for expansion invitations."
Utah the lone Beehive State team in the NCAA Tournament?
It's been a bit of a down year for local college basketball programs, and that just may end up being reflected in the NCAA Tournament bracket come March.
In his latest projections released Wednesday, CBS Sports' bracketologist Jerry Palm predicts that Utah will be the only squad from the Beehive State to crack the field of 68.
Palm has Larry Krystkowiak's club pegged as a 6-seed facing Monmouth.
At the moment, Weber State is undefeated in conference play at 5-0, but Palm slotted the 6-0 Montana Grizzlies into the Big Sky's automatic bid, a 16-seed facing North Carolina.
Teams can, of course, earn an automatic berth by winning their conference tournaments in March.
Ryan McDonald is a sports reporter at DeseretNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanwmcdonald.
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