PROVO — By the time BYU announced it was going independent in football in 2011, most of its recruiting class was already committed.
That's why the independence issue wasn't much of a factor in the recruiting class to be announced Wednesday.
"We haven't seen it with this recruiting class. All the ones who have committed to us have stayed committed to us," said BYU recruiting coordinator Paul Tidwell. "I think they're all excited about (going independent). I think they see the potential of the schedule and the potential for the exposure that's going to come our way.
"I haven't seen any effects of it yet, not with this class, and hopefully in the future the effects we do see will all be positive. Scheduling for an independent university is going to be huge selling point. For us to go to all four corners of the United States and Hawaii, we're going to travel and get a lot of exposure. I think that will open the doors to a lot of recruiting."
When asked last November about the impact of going independent — and Utah jumping to the Pac-12 — on recruiting, coach Bronco Mendenhall said, "I don't think that we will lose, or gain, a single recruit because of conference affiliation. BYU is very distinct, is very specific, is very separate from any other program in the country about our purpose through (LDS Church) ownership and faith-based education. The kids who come to BYU are very clear about why they want to be here, and I don't see that ever changing, regardless of whom we are recruiting against."
As part of going independent, BYU has signed an eight-year broadcasting agreement with ESPN. For recruits and their families, that will be a big boon for the Cougars in the future, Tidwell said.
"ESPN is a household name throughout the world," Tidwell said. "To be connected with them for the next eight years, I think everyone is just really excited about it. I think they know what ESPN means and I think they know they're going to be watched and seen and their parents and families, no matter where we go, are going to have an opportunity to see them on TV."
"That hasn't been the case the last six years," he added. "Now, with the combination of our broadcasting system and ESPN, it's going to be a remarkable advantage for these young men. To recruit nationwide and have a young man out here where his parents are back East or wherever they're from, to be able to watch them, it's a positive."
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company