Dallin Rogers and returned Mormon missionaries in college football

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  • Zona Zone Mesa, AZ
    Nov. 18, 2011 3:14 p.m.

    Gannon Conway, DE, Arizona State. ... ASU media guide just simply says, "He learned Spanish while living in the Dominican Republic for two years."

  • riddlemethis Clearfield, UT
    Nov. 17, 2011 6:58 p.m.


    "to date there has never been a returned mormon missionary who has won an NCAA Championship."

    BYU has won 10 national championships. You're right. There is no way that a returned missionary was on any of those teams.

  • U West of I15, UT
    Nov. 17, 2011 3:06 p.m.

    @TizTheSeason | 9:55 a.m. Nov. 16, 2011
    Lehi, Utah
    It would be fun to see the RM's that made it in the NFL.

    Fahu Tahi is a RM that made it in the NFL.

  • Timp South Jordan, UT
    Nov. 17, 2011 12:40 p.m.

    To Clarify from someone's earlier post:
    1) Kevin Prince (UCLA) is Mormon but did not go on a mission
    2) Steven Finau (Cal) is probably still on one. I doubt he's back

    Others currently on missions (all Utah County guys):

    1) Xavier Suafilo (UCLA)
    2) Dallas Lloyd (Stanford)
    3) Chris Badger (Notre Dame)

    Nov. 17, 2011 12:32 p.m.


    I don't think the article was written to name all the RM's that are playing football. The article picked one kid that happens to play at Utah. There was a good effort made in writting this article. The DN is the only paper in this country that would have an article like this and we should feel fortunate to here more about these kids. I never did go on a mission because I played 4 years of baseball in college and I sometimes wonder how much I missed out on prepairing myself for the future. With that said I really don't thing that the research for this article was incomplete.

  • Wfvv LAYTON, UT
    Nov. 17, 2011 12:25 p.m.

    What classifies someone as an RM? Some of these young men only spent a few days at the MTC and never even went to the mission they were called to.

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 9:45 p.m.

    Missions are the hardest, toughest, intense experience... and the best. Mine was forever ago (1968-70) but it is still highly influential in every aspect of my life, and for the positive.

    Everyone has a choice, but, I always hope a young man or young woman will give the matter deep consideration and great spiritual exploration. It is such a powerful influence I hate to see them miss it. And, more importantly, a mission is not about us, you or me. It is about "them." And decades later I can still see the positive influence I had on "them." People who were headed for disaster, families breaking up, souls in turmoil, pain and grief all turned around. Full families united. Of course some chose other paths, but those who stayed true to the commitments mostly found great joy.

    I'm thankful I got to be a part of someone else's life for the good.

  • Fans Woods Cross, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 8:46 p.m.

    Not sure how you conducted your search, but you missed quite a few playing at out-of-state schools. A couple were mentioned earlier. Another plays BYU this Saturday -- NMSU's OL Maveu Heimuli (nephew of Lakei and Hema) served a mission in Brazil. Although your research was incomplete and understandably slanted toward Utah, props for making a good effort.

  • Wiley Old School RIC, VA
    Nov. 16, 2011 8:18 p.m.


    I don't think it's as rare as you or the author think it is. I've seen the same thing (leaving a bit prior to turning 19) happen for non-athletic reasons (that were not terribly remarkable). You also see more flexibility in the timing of releasing missionaries to catch the beginning of a semester.

  • rs7580 LAYTON, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 3:52 p.m.

    @ Dektol I am sure these young men choose to serve missions because they love their God and Savior more than they love football. It is called sacrifice and if a lot more people would be willing to sacrifice their time the way these missionaries do, then the world would be a much less selfish place to be. This life is about more than just football for these young men.

  • threedegreecougar Kaysville, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 3:22 p.m.

    The only remarkable thing about this story is that it contains the regrettable fact that the LDS church gives preferential treatment to college athletes needs and schedules (the rare privilege of leaving early). Why an athlete is afforded such a privilege when hundreds of others routinely have to postpone entering school because they return during the middle of a semester is baffling.

    Nov. 16, 2011 2:28 p.m.

    Maybe BYU should recruit outside their county.....

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Nov. 16, 2011 2:20 p.m.

    @Ted H.

    That's a great point. The conference affiliation makes Utah a more attractive target for every good player regardless of religion. But I suspect a greater percentage of LDS kids will end up at Utah because it's still in the state of Utah, near the headquarters of the church, and being LDS at the U is not uncommon. A non-LDS kid choosing between Utah, UCLA, Washington, etc. has nothing special drawing him to Utah. But an LDS kid choosing between Utah, UCLA, Washington, etc. might be drawn a little more to Utah.

  • tcom2011 Fort Worth, TX
    Nov. 16, 2011 1:52 p.m.

    I agree with many others on this post, I served a mission after my freshman year and t took me three years after returning to reach the same athletic levels I did before I left. BUt there is no way I would ever trade that time. Do I wonder if I would have been a better athelte sure, but after two years of service atheletics were much less important to me. They were fun, important but I just did not have the same competitive drive as I did before, I become more focused on life long goals and helping others. I am now working as an ER doc and serving in multiple countries over the world. I never even dreamed I would be doing that before I served a mission. My hats off to all of your RM's as well as to all of the other athletes that work so hard.

  • flynn is the coolest Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 1:36 p.m.

    "In this day and age with the growing number of "me first" generation i.e. Wall Street demonstrators, it's remarkable to see young men choose to serve the Lord first."

    Could you please explain how protesting against institutions, whose greed and corruption alone is responsible for the current economic downturn, is labeled as "me first"?

  • AZRods Maricopa, AZ
    Nov. 16, 2011 1:25 p.m.

    bgl, I'm a little confused over your remarks.
    First of all you read the DN while sitting in Santa Monica CA.....
    Second you read an article that raises a topic that you clearly dislike...
    Then you take time to express your personal beliefs, in a very public way.....
    And criticize anyone who would do the same.
    But you seem to look down your nose at young men who actually have morals and character and tell them to keep their mouths shut.
    Even when someone asks questions about their religion.
    Freedom of speech pops into my mind, then hiding your light under a bushel follows that.
    And I don't mean to bash you, I'm just amazed that someone would presume to tell a bunch of good kids to keep their mouths shut unless it's something like telling a dirty joke or making rude,crude,lude remarks typical of a locker room atmosphere...that to you is not a problem.
    Sorry buddy, you share your personal beliefs and we'll share ours. Sound fair?

  • runsrealfast POCATELLO, ID
    Nov. 16, 2011 12:18 p.m.

    @Dektol - your right. it is prime physical development. I walked away from college track and never returned to competitive running (unless you consider local 5ks as competitive). However the benifits of the mission far outweigh anything track would have given me. Sure maybe I could have gotten some financial assistance during school but without sports I had more time for my studies. THis landed me a great job out of school which has eventually led me to a another great job. I was blessed for going and wouldnt trade the physical benifits I gave up for serving my mission.

    I look a Jake Heaps. With him deciding not to go and now being benched, imagine if he had gone.

  • JohnInSLC Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 12:08 p.m.

    I was struck by the fact that RM's now at BYU are nearly double what they were during the Crowton era. According to comments made by Coach Wittingham in 2006, Utah's 2004 Fiesta Bowl team had more RM's on their roster than BYU did that year.

    So, I'm now curious to know what the number of football RM's currently listed at each school are scholarship athletes.

  • Ted H. Midvale, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 12:08 p.m.

    @Brave Sir Robin,

    Although I completely agree with your points - I also think the number of non-LDS kids attracted to the U will increase because of the Pac 12. So if you only have X number of spots/scholarships on the football team, unless the increase in Mormons kids outweighs the increase in non-Mormon kids I'd expect the number to stay the same. Agree/Disagree?

    I sometimes just like to hear people's logic that's all.

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    Nov. 16, 2011 11:59 a.m.

    It's good to finally see ute fans talking religion and football in the same sentence without saying something negative.

    This article is a great reminder to utah fans that when you bash on the lds church you're bashing on your own team.

  • Uncle Rico Sandy, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 11:49 a.m.

    bgl: thanks for all the guidelines, that nobody cares about. For someone teaching tolerance you show little if any.

  • BigUtahFan BOUNTIFUL, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 11:36 a.m.

    What an amazing sacrifice for Dallin Rogers and all Athletes that choose a mission over athletics. I respect the guys that can do this.

    Hopefully rehab goes well and he'll be back on the field next year ready to go. The kid has great hands.

    GO UTES!

  • Monk Pleasant Grove, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 11:31 a.m.

    Rogers is a great kid and an excellent TE. Thanks for the article. I agree with @Go Utes and others that in the past 40 years the Utes have never enjoyed so much support from the LDS community. The number of great LDS players can, should, and will grow. I wish some of the more prominent players would choose to go as well. (JH and JF in mind here).

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    Nov. 16, 2011 11:09 a.m.

    @Ted H.

    I'll tell you why: Because historically, there was never a good reason for an LDS football player to choose Utah over BYU. Both schools were on a similar level academically, similar in terms of the quality of the football program, and similar in almost every other respect. So why would any good LDS player choose Utah over the church's school?

    But what we're seeing now is a separation between Utah and BYU. Both are still similar academically, but Utah has taken a giant step ahead when it comes to football. The PAC-12 affiliation has caused a lot of guys who were previous locks to BYU to commit to Utah - Utah even got more Timpview kids in last year's class than BYU. Timpview kids were locks to BYU just a couple years ago, but all that has changed.

    More and more good LDS players will be choosing Utah in the future because of their recent success and their conference affiliation, and many of these kids will be going on missions. So that is why you will see an increasing number of RM's on Utah's team.

  • Mormon Ute Kaysville, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 10:58 a.m.

    These kids are great examples to us all by putting something more long lasting ahead of football.

  • Go Utes Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 10:52 a.m.

    @ Ted H.

    Thanks for the question Ted. I am no recruiting expert, but here are a few reasons as to why I think that the U will recruit more RMs in the future. The two main reasons are (1) U of U football is on the rise and (2) the program has never had more LDS influence among the coaching staff. Until recently, BYU had the best football program in the state. That, together with a perception (especially for out-of-state Mormons) that there is some sort of duty to attend that school or that only at that school can one have a good LDS experience, has driven most LDS kids to choose the play at the Y. I think there has been a shift recently, however, as to the best program in the state. Once the secret gets out that the U has a ton of LDS kids and can provide a great atmosphere for spiritual growth (i.e., you can still be a good Mormon, get married in the temple, etc., while attending the U), together with the LDS influence on the team and the great program going forward, and many otherwise Y recruits will head north.

  • Ted H. Midvale, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 10:07 a.m.

    @Go Utes,

    Just an honest curious question here: Why do you expect the number of RM's at the U to grow as time goes on? Again - no need to get defensive. I'm sincerly curious what changes you foresee at the U that will increase the number of RM's? There have always been many LDS kids attending the U so I'm curious what changes you see?

  • TizTheSeason Lehi, Utah
    Nov. 16, 2011 9:55 a.m.

    I would take an RM any day over all things involved with NCAA Championship teams. I think that the RM athletes are just fine without all of that. A lot more to life.

    It would be fun to see the RM's that made it in the NFL.

  • AggiesAlltheWay Lehi, Utah
    Nov. 16, 2011 9:45 a.m.

    Yup, a little more research on the aggies would be good. You left off the other "notso whimpey" Whimpey twin, Jefferson Court, Stetson Tenney and possibly others. I know it's not the U or the y but do a little research to do the article justice Mr. Toone

  • Go Utes Salt Lake City, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 9:36 a.m.

    Thank you, DN, for putting a Ute RM in the spot light, when it would have been so easy and predictable to focus on one of the RMs at the Y. I expect the number of RMs at the U to grow as time goes on.

    Glad to see athletes serve missions, whatever school they are at. Choosing God over mammon is never easy, but always worth it.

  • Rocket Science Brigham City, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 9:25 a.m.

    Dektol - Merlin Olson was right, it is a sacrifice as an athlete who serves a mission takes two years off from further developing his abilities and strength. It takes great effort to get back to where one was physically before his mission. It is interesting how some come back and never make it to the expectations they once had. Others come back and are All American do very well but don't have the desire to go on to play pro ball, while others do go on to the pro's

    What is really interesting is how some coaches around the country complain that BYU has an advantage because they have older athletes. Yet if it was an advantage why did Pete Carol recruit LDS kids, tell them they could serve missions, and they try to talk them out of it.

  • Kosta Fesenko Chicken McNuggetville, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 9:12 a.m.


    I don't think you are breaking any new ground with that, yeah, going on a mission can hurt your ability to play sports. Still, I have more respect for those who go anyway, even though they have a chance to go pro. Examples include: britton johnsen, troy hinds, tyler hawes, and travis hansen among many others.

  • Ted H. Midvale, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 9:05 a.m.


    I'm glad all things LDS bother you. I love it! Thanks! And because I know you'll love this one - I'll pray for you!

  • Floyd Johnson Broken Arrow, OK
    Nov. 16, 2011 8:59 a.m.

    I was surprised by the number of returned missionaries from differnt schools. I had expected BYU to have closer to 50 (77 really?), and I had expected Utah State to have more returned missionaries than University of Utah with both in the 20-25 range.

    I am with t702. Always good to see individuals participate in selfless activities, whatever they are.

  • Dektol Powell, OH
    Nov. 16, 2011 8:47 a.m.

    Two years off during prime development years is such a waste of talent. The few that come back and do well are the unusual ones. Much better to dedicate yourself to the sport you choose. Cael Sanderson would never have been 159-0 with 4 NCAA Titles and Olympic Gold if he had gone on a mormon mission. To date there has never been a returned mormon missionary who has won an NCAA Championship. No less and LDS Football player than Merlin Olson was firmly convinced missions hurt athletics much more than helping them. Results I see tell me he was right.

  • rogerdodger Logan, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 8:30 a.m.

    I like the article. It is nice to see. Maybe a hair more research could be done though. Thompson at USU went to the MTC for about 10 days. I served a mission for 2 years. I don't think they are the same.

  • Ted H. Midvale, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 8:23 a.m.

    If a player approaches you and akss questions while in the locker room - no need to go somewhere else. He was fine asking in the locker room - answer him in the locker room. So long as the other person wants to hear it, let him hear it. No need to go anywhere else for fear of offending those who look for opportunities to be offended.

  • t702 Las Vegas, NV
    Nov. 16, 2011 8:05 a.m.

    In this day and age with the growing number of "me first" generation i.e. Wall Street demonstrators, it's remarkable to see young men choose to serve the Lord first. Expecting no monetary reward in return, instead pay your own way and challenge yourself while serving others. Well done boys! Well done!

  • Ute's R Gr8 Sandy, Utah
    Nov. 16, 2011 8:04 a.m.

    Respectable opinion, good advice. I assume your thoughts are formed from a non member, I hope you have never been offened. I believe and hope respect towards others is always considered.

    Very nice article, well written. I think Coach Whit is stealing the thunder from down south!

    Utah by 44!

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    Nov. 16, 2011 7:58 a.m.

    That was a weird article. It was titled Returned Mormon missionaries in college, but 95% of the article was on Rogers. Why not just say the article is about him?

  • bgl Santa Monica, CA
    Nov. 16, 2011 6:46 a.m.

    As long as they leave their missionary work outside the locker room door and get their heads wrapped around sending a different kind of message to the other team once they step inside the locker room, I have no problem with having rm's on the team. In fact, I welcome them. But keep your religion to yourself and concentrate on the task at hand and we'll all be fine. Be aware that there are many religions and beliefs and cultures represented by your team and they will respect you. If a player approaches you and asks you about your religion, make an appointment to meet---outside of the bounds of practice, and answer their questions, but do not use the locker room for making converts. Show respect. It might sound like I'm being a little condescending and paternalistic here, but I've seen over zealous missionaries in the workplace and it ain't pretty.

  • STB Pleasant Grove, UT
    Nov. 16, 2011 5:44 a.m.

    Missed Kevin Prince at UCLA and Steven Fanua at Cal.