One key area in which BYU’s decision to relieve Ty Detmer of his duties as offensive coordinator on Monday could have a big impact is recruiting, as assistant coaches usually are the first ones to build relationships with recruits.
In fact, the Cougars’ top target, California quarterback Tanner McKee, told the Deseret News on Tuesday evening that he was deeply affected by the decision, although he affirmed his interested in BYU.
“The change at BYU absolutely affects my thoughts on them,” said McKee, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who is ranked by Scout.com as the fourth-best signal caller in the country for the 2018 class. “I had a great relationship with Ty.”
Even before Detmer was removed from the position, there had been growing speculation that the Cougars were off McKee’s list, as he had originally scheduled one of his five official visits for Provo but has already visited Alabama, Washington, Texas and Texas A&M and will instead use his fifth allowed visit to go to Stanford.
McKee, however, said Tuesday that he’s still planning to go to BYU on an unofficial visit (where he pays his own way instead of having the school pay for it) sometime in January.
“BYU isn’t off the list,” he said. “No one is.”
McKee is the only quarterback in the top 17 of Scout's rankings who has not yet committed to a school.
While McKee, who is planning on serving an LDS mission and therefore won’t enroll until 2020, said while the Cougars’ struggles this season raised some concerns, he added that he doesn’t pay specific attention to a team's overall record.
“I think anytime a team has a season like they’ve had, questions need to be asked,” he said. “I don’t get too caught up in wins and losses. I’m more concerned with how a team competes week in and week out and if they are moving in the right direction as a team.”
The first opportunity for recruits in the 2018 class to sign with a school is during the new early signing period Dec. 20-22, while the traditional National Signing Day is Feb. 7.