PROVO — It always seems a challenge for BYU to recruit top defensive back talent to its football program. The Cougars' coaching staff has enjoyed recent success recruiting for the position, however, and hopes to continue that success for the 2013 recruiting class.
The need for good fill-ins at defensive back, or more specifically at cornerback, is imperative given the impending departures of starters Preston Hadley and Joe Sampson following this season. With thin talent backing up both players currently, the coaching staff is hitting the junior college ranks hard and was off to a good start.
The staff snared an early commit from Davion Orphey midway through September only to have the Santa Ana junior college prospect change his commit to Utah just yesterday. Orphey is a 6-foot-1, 185-pound prospect who has offers from Mississippi State, Boise State, San Diego State, Utah State, BYU and Utah.
"(Utah) was more my style. I fit in more,“ Orphey told Utezone.com regarding his change of commitment. “My cousin is over there — Keith McGill. He's also going to be a corner. It will be fun to play with him. I also had a good connection with (Utah defensive backs) coach (Sharrieff) Shah. We really see eye to eye with each other. He came from the same area where I come from. I just really felt comfortable there," Orphey said.
The loss of Orphey is a blow to BYU, but the impact was lessened with the Cougars picking up a commit from Trent Trammell in early October. Trammell is a 5-foot-11, 180-pound prospect from San Francisco City College who held offers from Utah, Utah State and UTEP at the time of his commit.
So will BYU be able to retain Trammell’s commit from now until he signs, or will he de-commit and head elsewhere?
“I’m solid on BYU — I’m not going to change my mind,” Trammell reassured in the wake of Orphey’s de-commit. “I know BYU is the best place for me and it’s why I committed there in the first place.”
BYU first made contact with Trammell just prior to San Francisco’s championship game against Mount San Antonio last year. The contact was very much unexpected, but welcomed.
“Coach (Nick) Howell just showed up at my school to tell me BYU was interested,” recalled Trammell. “I had no idea about anything about BYU, but it was very exciting that I had interest from a school at the next level.”
While Trammell didn’t have an opinion about BYU after being contacted, many others had opinions ready to share with him.
“Everyone would tell me about BYU and why I shouldn’t go there,” Trammell said. “I was amazed how many people had opinions about Mormons.”
Trammell decided to form his own opinion about the program and made an unofficial visit out to Provo this past July. His father Anthony Trammell made the trip with him and both were skeptical about the program before their arrival.
While on his unofficial trip, he met with the other BYU coaches, including head coach Bronco Mendenhall, and toured the football facilities and the school. Trammell and his father came away with a very positive opinion about the place.
“I really liked what I saw on my first trip, but I don’t know if I liked it as much as my father did,” Trammell said. “He was fired up about BYU after talking to coach Mendenhall — it’s all he could talk about, so yeah, he really wanted me to go there. The good thing is that I had the same opinion — I really felt like BYU was the place for me.”
Trammell received an offer following his initial visit, but held off on committing until taking an official visit with his mother.
“She still had doubts when we came home from that first visit,” Trammell said. “She wanted to see it all for herself, so we went out there again the weekend that BYU played Utah State.”
Like a lot of other mothers, Melinda Trammell found BYU to be a place that would take good care of her son and help keep him out of trouble.
For Trammell, who already lives a life true to BYU’s honor code, BYU provides great opportunities to play immediately while gaining a good education and social environment.
“BYU is just a calm place and I love the outdoors atmosphere there,” Trammell said. “I love the outdoors and I’m excited to try out snowboarding and other things in the mountains there. The most important thing though is how I felt being with coaches and players there. I love the coaching staff and I’m already good friends with a lot of the players.”
Trammell specifically forged good friendships with Jordan Johnson, Joe Sampson and Preston Hadley. His father was actually Sampson’s position coach in high school, so there was some familiarity there.
For the entire Trammell family, there is already some good familiarity with Mormons due to living next door to an LDS family.
“I spent so much time next door with a Mormon family — the dad of that family was seriously like a second dad to me,” Trammell said. “I didn’t even know they were Mormon until my parents told me some years later — I just knew they were great people who lived right and all that. So yeah, I’m already used to being around Mormons.”
Trammell is on track to graduate following this semester and plans on enrolling at BYU in January. He’ll then have a leg up in his bid to start at boundary corner for the 2013 season.
“I’m very excited to get to BYU and hopefully I can help out right away,” Trammell said. “That defense is a fun defense and I watched how they played against Georgia Tech and other teams and it’s just a great defense. I’m very excited to play for coach Mendenhall and in a defense that is so good.”