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Nick Wagner, Deseret News
Brigham Young defensive back Micah Hannemann (7) eyes a loose ball as Boise State wide receiver Chaz Anderson (6) tries to rein it in during the first half of an NCAA football game between Boise State and Brigham Young in Boise on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016.

PROVO — When in and around the Alpine-Highland area, it's not hard to find a very athletic and competitive young man or woman with the last name Hannemann. There's a lot of them, turns out, and fortunately for BYU, one of them will provide a strong presence in the Cougars' defensive backfield this season.

Micah Hannemann enters his senior season as the assumed starter at one safety position and is excited about the opportunity. As a starter last season, the 6-foot, 190-pound Lone Peak product tallied 28 tackles, five pass breakups and an interception while starting all 12 games. He's determined to improve upon those numbers during his senior season this fall.

“This season determines a lot of things, personally, for my own life,” Hannemann said. “These next six months determine whether I go play football in the NFL or do something else.”

Hannemann isn't the first in his family focusing on playing professional sports, and he likely won't be the last. His older brother, Jacob Hannemann, is currently playing at the Triple-A level in the Chicago Cubs organization, with several others with the last name Hannemann rising through the prep ranks.

"There's a lot of us. We're all over," Micah said.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News
Defensive back Micah Hannemann answers interview questions during BYU Football Media Day at BYU Broadcasting in Provo on Friday, June 23, 2017.

In the Lone Peak High area there are five of Micah's brothers, a sister and then five male cousins and five more girl cousins. Then you travel over to Hawaii, and it's even more flushed with Hannemanns, considering Micah's 11 uncles and aunts — most of whom still reside over on the islands.

As one could imagine, the Hannemann family reunions can get a little nuts. Micah describes an environment where the siblings and cousins compete at literally everything, whether it's hay tossing, throwing rocks or boxing.

“It’s just what we find is fun to do at a family reunion,” Micah said. “We won’t even play sports at reunions, but wherever there’s a winner and a loser we like to play (that) because that’s how our parents raised us. But we just have fun.”

So who would come out on top of the competitions?

“It went exactly like God wanted it to happen, to be honest,” Micah said. “Jake would always win at everything, when he was little ... and the only one you could beat was your younger siblings. That’s how it worked.”

All of it has helped mold Hannemann to where he is today, as a hard-hitting safety and a leader within the BYU defense.

LOOKING FORWARD TO UTAH: During BYU's media day, Hannemann wasn't even prompted to answer when he provided the team he's looking most forward to playing this season.

“The thing I’m most excited about is to play Utah,” he said. “I’ve played them three times, but lost three times in games we shouldn’t have lost. So I’m excited to play them over here, with our fans here and our momentum. They’re going to be afraid to play over here — more than we’re going to be afraid to play them. So I’m excited.”

VARYING THE RECRUITING PITCH: Recruiting can get overwhelming and downright obnoxious for young high school prospects, considering the abundance of phone calls, letters and texts, plus coaches and fans hounding recruits on Twitter.

It's enough to have the opposite effect, according to BYU assistant coach Ed Lamb.

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“The feedback we get is, 'How do I get these other schools off my back?’” Lamb said. “They can feel from us that we understand. We’re in our mid-40s — most of us — and (when) you’re a young guy in the prime of your high school life you don’t want to talk to us every night, right? To have that kind of understanding with recruits puts us in a rare position.”

According to Lamb, the real sway in attracting recruits comes from those players within the program. Those same recruits build connections with current players in a variety of ways — whether it be due to past relationships or doing so while on recruiting visits.

“That’s when they get the real truth about what coaches are and what our program’s like,” Lamb said. “I think right now that we’ve got a really good message out to them from our current team.”