Top 10 rated players to commit to BYU football team in the last decade

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 6 2011 1:16 p.m. MST

#10 - Kyle Van Noy, LB, Reno, Nev., signed in 2009 Next » 1 of 10 « Prev
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Van Noy was rated as a four-star prospect and as the No. 11 linebacker nationally in 2009 by scout.com.

Van Noy has been a huge success for BYU, joining the program in 2010 and playing a significant part in its defensive success. Coach Bronco Mendenhall has widely acknowledged Van Noy as being his best play-maker on defense throughout the 2011 season.
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South Jordan, UT

Great picture of Ben Olsen.

Heaps and Olsen were busts. Jake should remember not to call a press conference after he transfers to Eastern Washington. It gives the critics and press more fuel for the fire.

Van Noy, Reynolds and Holt are/have lived up to their hype.

Kosta Fesenko
Chicken McNuggetville, UT


So. Cal Reader
San Diego, CA

Make that double yawn.

Salt Lake City, UT

the story could have been made somewhat interesting if there was some indication as to how BYU has done compared with other programs--i.e. is it better or worse than average and keeping happy the big recruit? is it good at developing the big recruit? this article doesn't say that and since I don't follow recruiting, I have no way of knowing.

Cedar Hills, UT

A changing landscape for recruits going forward at BYU. It used to be that a recruit - especially a QB - could expect national attention which could project into the NFL (Giff Nielsen, Marc Wilson, Jim McMahon, Steve Young, Robbie Bosco, Ty Detmer, John Beck and Max Hall). Most of these QB's were strong armed pocket passers that led the nation in passing and were first team All Americans. Even Detmer was a pure pocket passer which led to a 11 year NFL career and the Heisman trophy. BYU prospered because of these QB's gaining national attention and posting their lofty stats. It was a great pattern that led to BYU being labeled "QB U". So now here we are in 2011 with a new offensive coordinator and new agenda going forward. BYU is now not interested in the pocket passers that built the program over the past 30 years but instead they have elected to go with the mobile running style QB. Don't expect any more blue chip high school QB's to take a second look at BYU anymore with their "new reputation". They look at Jake Heaps and see that he didn't fit and that speaks volumes.

safety dictates, ID

Question: Would LDS players who live the gospel promote the Church's mission better by playing on other teams or by coming to BYU? Can BYU really compete at the top with schools like Kentucky's one and done program. The one and done program recruits the most talented players who have the best chance of going to the NBA to come and play one year at UK and pay little to no attention to academics. And leave for the draft after showcasing their talents. Do you really believe that BYU could play, consistently, with LSU or Alabama? Another question: Is the primary purpose of a University to provide rabid fans for their sports programs? Or should BYU follow the example of their lil sibling in Idaho? Just wondering.

The Rock
Federal Way, WA

Contrary to the opinions of some, Jake is a remarkably gifted athlete. If he had decided to red shirt and stay at BYU he probably would have started for his final two years.

It is my opinion that Jake will probably transfer to the U and start next year. Norm Chow is one of the top offensive coordinators and QB coaches in the nation.

I wish Jake well, just not against BYU.

So. Cal Reader
San Diego, CA

Re: Oblio-- I agree with you, which is why this is a double yawner response from me. I think what you suggested would be an outstanding topic for an in-depth article. But, we don't read of too many in-depth sports articles in the DN.

Re: The Rock-- Sorry bud. But wherever Jake goes, unless it's to a lower-level Div. II school, the NCAA transfer rules require Jake to sit out a year. Which is why his transfer 2 years into the Cougs program, w/ a red-shirt year still available to take, is a little perplexing. It will be very difficult, bordering on impossible, for Jake to have any type of NFL-impact experience at another school. I think there was probably a stronger possibility of that if he stayed, swallowed his pride, sit out next year, and hit it harder than hard his last two years truly leading the Cougs. But I also agree with you that Jake is a very gifted athlete; I think its his leadership and maturity or lack thereof that many such as I question. Hopefully he lands on his feet somewhere.

South Jordan, UT

patriot | 2:38 p.m. Dec. 6, 2011
Cedar Hills, UT

Jim McMahon and Steve Young were hardly pocket passers, especially Young far from it in fact. And yet they were the best QB to come out of BYU. In case you didn't watch the last game Riley did everything from the pocket and I think he has a stronger arm than Max Hall did(go check out some of those Hall's games there is not a lot of zip).

Fact is, tight spirals flying at 60 mph are nice only if they hit their mark. We're in this to win and we're going to play the guy that gets it done regardless of the style he does it.

#1 SLC Sports Fan
Salt Lake City, UT

Why do these guys bother to sign with a program like BYU that is obviously a sinking ship? Everyone besides me knows all too well they can serve the LDS Church better by signing on with another BCS program, even Utah than playing at a program that is quickly losing any and all relevance from its heyday during the 1980s.

I know I'll upset a number of readers with this, but the LDS Church leadership should listen to those amongst them that wish to at the very least drop the football program at BYU, and just continue to offer the intercolligiate sports the WCC participates in...that is an acceptable comproimise than going the distance as was done up in Rexburg a decade ago.

It shouldn't and should NEVER be the mission of BYU to compete with and take away from the mission of state schools, not just Utah but Utah State as well. All BYU has done for the past half century is crowd out the mission of an important state school in Logan.

Columbia, MO

Heaps was afraid of contact, either because he wanted to preserve his skin or his NFL prospects. He was also a guy who didn't think of team, first. He won't fare better with competition elsewhere. I hope he transfers to the U, where he will have to sit out for a year anyway. Then he can throw interceptions to his former teammates, instead of to opposing DBs.

rock springs, wy

@#1 SLC Sports Fan

Good Grief! I've heard of poor losers but you take the cake.


Coach Mendenehall had Heaps just like Coach Crowton had Olsen, two high school blue chips that failed to materialize at BYU. I think BYU's efforts to get a blue chip QB high school recruit will be viewed in disdain by these type of players as they see how Olson and Heaps were treated. Recruitment will hurt more with these type of players, especially when comparing BYU's schedule as an independent against teams that play in a BCS conference as those teams get the sports ranking notice, media coverage and NFL scouts. BYU's schedules for the next three years don't show a schedule like if BYU was in the Big12 conference and instead they have a majority of teams from MWC and WAC conference level or non BCS conferences. BYU's 8 year EPSN contract is how much as Texas has ESPN contract and still in Big 12 or is it like Notre Dame contract with NBC?

Sandy, UT

Make that a triple yawn.

Iowa City, IA

@#1 SLC Sports Fan
You stated that "It shouldn't and should NEVER be the mission of BYU to compete with and take away from the mission of state schools, not just Utah but Utah State as well. All BYU has done for the past half century is crowd out the mission of an important state school in Logan."

It sounds like you are saying that the mission of Utah and Utah State is to have a football team? What happened to academics?

El Chango Supremo
Rexburg, ID

Re: #1 SLC sports fan

You're kidding, right?!

I could easily flip it around and say that state schools shouldn't compete with the mission of a certain church school in Provo and it would sound almost equally as ridiculous!

And why should they drop the football program again? There is absolutely no good reason to do that, and a million good reasons to keep it and continue to promote it... actually several million a year from ESPN! Nice try!

Columbus, NE

This just shows how imprecise recruiting rankings are. For those that left cant say one of them did squat elsewhere. I wish Jake well.


Sitting out "a year" means sitting out 2 semesters. One winter. One summer. Boom jake plays next fall. Same thing with carlino. He sat out summer and fall and can play once the semester is over.

JP Skillet
Murray, UT

@RonBergudy - no you are wrong. sitting out a year means a school year, football season. it means fall and spring semesters. if he transfers he has to sit out a football season year. He can play spring ball but only after he has sat out a fall season. meaning he can't be on the team or practice or anything.

CO Ute

This isn't intended to be a Utah fan posting a negative comment about BYU but just an observation. Discounting the current players there appears to be only one 4 or 5 star recruit that even had a brief stint in the NFL. 2 QB's transferred and other that didn't turn into great players. Seems like BYU has had more success turning 2 and 3 star prospects into NFL caliber player than they have had dealing with 4 and 5 star recruits.


@JP Skillet:

On the NCAA.org website. Player must sit out one academic year.

One academic year in residence = how
long you must spend at your new school
before you can play. Sometimes people call
the year in residence sitting out.

Academic year = 2 semesters.


Jake Heaps was great for BYU. He may not have lived up to his potential, but he brought in Van Noy and Apo who are major contributors now and look to be stars in the future. I wish him only the best!

Sinew South
Centennial, CO

Wasn't Todd Watkins a big hype recruit?

@ JP Skillet: You can still practice while "sitting out" your eligibility. It's like redshirting. Do you think Matt Carlino isn't practicing with the basketball team? My friend Riley Jensen was an awesome QB in spring practices of '97, (Feterik, Shoemaker), but saw writing on the wall and transferred to USU and was a beast in their fall '97 and spring '98 practices the next year where he won the starting job.

@ #1 SLC Sports Fan: "...crowd out the mission..."? What?

@ RonBergundy: Jake WON'T be playing FBS football next fall. Boom?

@ CO Ute: Good call. It seems that is the tradition at BYU. Make the most with the good talent you have, but not a very good track record with the blue chips.

Des Moines, IA

CO Ute,
I completely agree with you there. BYU thrives on desire and work ethic, not just talent alone. Some players have the rare combination of the two, but often it's just one or the other.

Idaho Falls, ID

So which is it - BYU is not very good at evaluating high school talent or they are not very good at developing talented high school players?

Des Moines, IA

Another interesting parallel to look at with Jake Heaps is Matt Berry.
Another highly rated Washington QB with lots of schools recruiting him. Failed to win the team's confidence because he failed to show some spunk.

Mission Viejo, CA

Just like top draft picks often fail in the pros, top high school players often fail in college. Jake Heaps had plenty of opportunity to succeed. He failed. He quit. A quitter and a failure.

What coach would want a quitter and a failure?

As for Ben Olsen, he transferred to UCLA from his mission. He changed his mind. Just as Carlino and Kavienga changed their minds. It happens. This does not reflect on the school or the team. "BYU does not know how to deal with top athletes..." is a bogus and stupid argument.

Actually, just as USC could not deal with the talented head case Todd Marinovich, BYU could not deal with Jake Heaps. Entitlement is the problem. Let him go, and good luck to him. Maybe he'll learn.

Still Blue after all these years
Kaysville, UT

to #1 Sports Fan: huh? all BYU has done for 50 years is crowd out the mission of USU? what is the mission of USU? I thought it was to take kids that could not get into BYU or even the UofU and educate them in freezing weather. What BYU has or has not accomplished in sports takes nothing away from whatever USU is trying to do, any more so than it takes away from what ASU or UCLA is trying to do. I doubt any of these kids on this particular top 10 list gave USU even a sniff.

Still Blue after all these years
Kaysville, UT

to the Rock: I don't see how you make the statement that Heaps is a "remarkably gifted athlete". did he play other sports well in high school? can he scramble and make plays when things are breaking down? is he fast? none of these. he does have a strong arm but as one commenter said, if you can't hit the target what does a strong arm do for you? I'm glad for Jake that he is leaving and hope he finds himself somewhere else. But to do will require a hard look into the mirror, not into whether some coach elsewhere will solve the problems. McMahon swallowed his pride to redshirt - look what it did for him. Beck took his knocks and kept working hard. Beck also was very competitive. And as Doman said, Heaps might be as good as Jimmer some day but only if he works as hard as Jimmer does. He has not.


I would describe Scott Young as INTENSE. Great ball player and even a better human being. Wish I could have watched the guy play in person.

Farmington, UT

I would like to see a similar story on Utah's top recruits. The truth is that you look at any team's top recruits or draft choices, and most end up underachieving according to the expectations of unrealistic fans. In the NBA, for example, look at highly rated draft choices as Chris Morris, Danny Ferry, Christian Laettner, Kwame Brown, Darko -- it's not too hard to put together a list of highly sought players who did not meet expectations. In basketball it's pretty easy to spot players with NBA potential, but many do not succeed. In football, it's much harder to guess which players have NFL potential. In the eyes of many fans, a highly rated recruit is a failure if he never excels in the pros, and so most are destined to fail to meet those expectations.

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