HERRIMAN — Herriman High’s Francis Bernard burst onto the scene last season, running rampant over the competition and collecting a lot of attention from regional recruiters.
Bernard is a 6-foot, 190-pound running back who ran for 1,547 yards last season — an 8.7 yards per carry average. BYU was the first school to notice his talents, offering the Mustangs' star a scholarship shortly before the start of last season.
“It surprised me and I was very grateful for the offer from BYU,” says Bernard. “I really wasn’t expecting it, but I like BYU a lot, but I like other schools as well.”
Bernard has kept in constant contact with BYU and attended its recent Super Elite day along with other top regional recruits.
So where does BYU stand at this stage of the process?
“If I decide to play in-state I’ll most likely play for BYU,” said Bernard. “To me they offer me a lot more than the other in-state schools. It’s a good football program and it’s my church’s school. I like the spiritual environment there and I like what the program stands for.”
That is the good news for Cougar fans. The bad news is that Bernard very much has his sights set on playing out-of-state.
According to the 2013 prospect, the overall level of play out-of-state is the most appealing aspect.
“You look at what schools like Stanford and Oregon have done — that’s the sort of program I want to play for,” says Bernard. “I want to play in the Pac-12, but I want to play out-of-state for a big school that plays the best teams in the country and does well against them.”
Most of the schools interested in Bernard are from the northwest region such as Stanford, Oregon, Oregon State and Boise State. Oregon State and Boise State have shown the most interest so far.
“Coaches from both Boise and Oregon State have come to see me and that was surprising and exciting for me,” says Bernard. “I like Boise State a lot. You look at all the guys they’re putting in the NFL — that’s exciting to me and the type of school I want to play for.”
Bernard has made an unofficial visit to Boise State and really enjoyed the overall feel of the program.
Neither Boise State nor Oregon State has come forward with an offer, but Bernard has strong indications that they’ll do so if he attends their camps this summer.
Bernard plans to stay busy this summer by attending camps at Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford and Boise State along with the All-Poly camp. Although Bernard has received increasing interest from both Utah and Utah State he currently has no plans to attend either of their camps.
Bernard plans to serve an LDS mission, but hasn’t decided at this point if he’ll leave right after graduation or play a year and then go. With regards to when he’ll commit, his plan is to wait it out until the very end.
“I want to go on all my official visits and make sure I make the best decision for me,” said Bernard. “Hopefully, I can get some more offers and then compare all the schools with one another and then decide. I probably won’t decide until right before I have to sign.”
Bernard would like to sign with the same school as his teammate Tueni Lupeamanu, who also holds an offer from BYU. Lupeamanu is a 6-2, 225 athlete who will most likely play linebacker at the next level.
“I’ve been friends with Tueni since we were five and we’ve been like brothers since,” said Bernard. “Playing with each other in college would obviously be great, but it won’t be a deciding factor for either of us. We both know that we need to play for the school that is the best for us.”