Bronco Mendenhall isn't one for drooling or dallying over Internet recruiting services that rank prospects by assigning them coveted stars.
He's told us he didn't give a hoot if a player was a three-star jock, a one-star unknown or a five-star blue-chipper.
That being said, according to Scout.com, his 2010 class is ranked No. 14.
Bronco's recruits are handsomely starred up this summer, led by five-star Washington quarterback Jake Heaps, who committed on June 4 and began a domino chain of commitments.
After seeing Ben Olson (five stars) compared to two-time all pro TE Chad Lewis (no stars), I've generally maintained the fascination with stars is over-baked.
Still, it is a measurement device in a recruiting business that's unscientific at best.
In Bronco's words:
"Our recruiting criteria, as you know, isn't like any other place. We don't really care how many stars whoever ranks our recruits. Every player, once they come to BYU, has no stars. What we care about is how many they leave with. We'll make that determination after the fact, when they've demonstrated what they can do."
If BYU's class of 2010 is all so-called experts say it is, we won't find out until they actually play. But the key is in the evaluations conducted by Mendenhall's staff, especially in the case of the underpublicized high school player.
If his staff is really accurate with hidden gems, he might be onto something. This could be the best BYU recruiting class ever. In February, if BYU signs its normal 23 to 25 recruits, 2010 is practically all done.
Mendenhall has been quick and even more decisive. These are his guys.
Mendenhall likes quick. It can work. After all, Elton John wrote his first hit tune, "Your Song," in 10 minutes.
Nine of the early commits are Utahns, so we'll be very familiar with value this fall.
This year, the NCAA closed a loophole essentially blocking out media and Internet recruiting sites from attending summer football camps, a prime feeding ground for offseason stories and performance evaluations of athletes on campus.
Mendenhall didn't blink an eye. Others shed a tear.
This didn't go over well with some in the established Fourth Estate and really impacted sites like Scouts.com and Rivals.com, which use those camps not only to highlight prospects but to manage contact information on potential recruits.
Mendenhall viewed it as a way to maintain some competitive advantage.
The past four years, his strategy has been to evaluate and offer early. He began holding Junior Days earlier than competitors, a day prospects are invited at their own expense to visit camps. His spring practice and Blue and White Game occurred earlier than most schools', another event prospects could visit on their own.
When media, specifically the Internet folks, chiseled out detailed highlights of prospects at BYU's Junior Day and his summer camps, it neutralized some of that "jump" his staff believed they got on lesser-publicized prospects.
This didn't apply to big-time recruits like Heaps, LB Zac Stout or WR Ross Apo, who have been national recruits for more than a year. But it did cover the under-evaluated, those listed by Scout.com and others as one-star prospects simply because information profiles remained undone.
"We need to protect our own evaluations and maintain our advantage," is how Mendenhall explained it to me on June 1 at a charity golf event in Salt Lake City.
Three days later, Heaps held his press conference at Iggys in Salt Lake City with Stout and Apo one day before BYU's Junior Day. At that time, BYU had nine oral commitments for 2010 — twice as many as any other MWC school — led by Timpview defensive end Bronson Kaufusi, who declared way back in 2007.
Since Heaps Day, as it will be known, BYU has collected 10 commitments from 2010 recruits, essentially twice as many as a year ago, a class that collectively acted very early.
The 19 BYU commits for 2010 is second only to Stanford and ties Texas at this early date.
While No. 10-ranked Bronson Kaufusi and his Timpview program are a well-established BYU recruiting stop, Pleasant Grove in North Utah County became a target for 2010.
At Timpview, sons of staff have been on the team allowing legal NCAA access to games. At Pleasant Grove, quarterback Brandon Doman has connections including older brother Kevin, whose son D.J. played for the Vikings. That triggered interest in many Viking prospects years ago. Those included Stanford-bound QB Dallas Lloyd, DE Sefa Tanoa'I, whom BYU offered, and commits TE Bryan Sampson and LB Joey Owens.
Stars may mean nothing.
But Mendenhall, it seems, is getting an impressive constellation anyway.
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