SAN JOSE, Calif. — BYU is in the market for immediate defensive line help. Capable prospects are needed to fill a roster that will be full of senior defensive linemen next season coupled with the loss of Travis Tuiloma and Graham Rowley to missions.
Junior college is where teams usually mine for immediate help and BYU did just that in signing Marques Johnson and by offering Tenny Palepoi. The Cougars haven’t ignored the prep ranks, however, during the late stages of the recruiting process — recently offering Theodore King.
BYU has known about King for a while now. He was a participant in BYU’s summer camp after coming to know about BYU through an LDS member referral.
One of King’s father’s co-workers chose to join the LDS church last year and King himself attended the baptism along with his father. A member saw them both there, found out that King was a very capable football prospect and sent off a referral to the Cougar coaching staff.
King was immediately contacted by Cougar coach Nick Howell and the recruiting process began.
“It was great being looked at by a school like BYU,” said the 6-3, 235 defensive end prospect. “I had heard a lot of things about Mormons — wrong things, it turns out. I heard that everyone was like robots there and it was just like ‘Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!’ all the time and all that, but it’s not like that at all. They’re real people — just a bunch of good people who like to live right.”
King began his acclimation process during BYU’s summer camp where he impressed coaches with his play and potential. He left camp without an offer, but with an indelible impression left on the staff.
He kept in contact with Howell throughout the year — hopeful for an offer or at least a continued interest from BYU.
“They just wanted to see how I progressed, so I sent them film a lot and kept emailing them and calling and all that,” said King. “I really liked what I learned about them and was hopeful they’d offer me."
Recently King received the call he was hoping for — an invitation to take an official trip to BYU. He took that trip this past weekend, along with most of BYU’s current commits.
“It was great,” said King about his trip. “I still wasn’t sure about BYU — if I could survive there being non-LDS, but I got to be around other non-members and they told me how they fit right in and how they loved the place. To me, that was the highlight of my trip — just being around so many great guys and feeling like I was part of a family there. I really did love it.”
King plays for Valley Christian High School in San, Jose, Calif. It’s a school that teaches and expects its students to live by high Christian standards — much like the BYU Honor Code. “They talked to me about the Honor Code and it’s great. It’s a lot like my school with their standards, so that isn’t a problem at all for me.”
While on his trip to BYU King was able to sit down with head coach Bronco Mendenhall and came away impressed.
“I just like the way he talks,” said King. “He’s so passionate about the program and so dedicated to it. You can really tell that he believes in what he does and that’s impressive and it makes you want to be a part of it.”
King did not commit to BYU on his trip under the counsel of Mendenhall, who told him to go home to his family and discuss it with them before making a decision. Between now and letter of intent day, he’ll do exactly that — listening to other offers that may come his way and comparing them with everything BYU has to offer.
King mentioned that a lot of WAC schools are showing interest in him along with Oregon State, but that BYU is his current leader.
“Yeah, BYU is No. 1 right now without question,” he said. “I really liked my time there and know that I could fit right in and receive a great education and play some good football there for them. It would be an honor for me to be part of that program.”
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company