Dick Harmon: Mark Atuaia uses BYU education as an asset in Cougar recruiting plan

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  • Howard S. Taylorsville, UT
    April 20, 2013 11:41 a.m.

    A Four column series focused on BYU recruiting...

    BYU seems concerned about recent recruiting results.


    Because BYU recruiting has plummeted since the announcement of independence.

    Bronco has signed 9 recruiting classes. The combined average ranking from Scout and Rivals for the six pre-indy classes was 52.

    The average ranking for the 3 post-indy classes in 64... a rankings drop of 12 places.

    It appears top recruits are not interested in playing a BYU indy schedule even if it is on ESPN.

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    April 19, 2013 10:14 a.m.

    There is an ounce of truth in every pound of sarcasm.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    April 19, 2013 10:12 a.m.


    Jim McMahon gets my vote as the best qb ever at BYU but of course you're being sarcastic in suggesting he would be a "better" ambassador for BYU. Mark on the otherhand is as fine an indivudal as you will ever meet and everything he does, the way he lives, the way he behaves, the manner in which he goes about his business, is classy, dignified, and proper. He epitomizes what a BYU grad, and LDS man should be. He is a great ambassador for BYU, as good as they can have.

  • Wally West SLC, UT
    April 19, 2013 9:31 a.m.

    re: Duckhunter

    "BYU could not have a better ambassador."

    Jim McMahon???

  • localblue Sandy, UT
    April 18, 2013 11:01 p.m.

    @COUGARNATE I hope you're kidding. Atuaia was one of the highest recruited athletes ever out of Hawaii and had basically set every rushing record in the state. He could have played anywhere. Playing behind Ronnie Jenkins and Brian Mckenzie only adds insult to injury when you compare what their potential was coming out of high school. But for some reason with Mark it wasn't meant to be. And the great thing about him is he just moved on to do other great things with his life. There were some other greats during his time including Itula Mili, who was also major recruit at the time from HI, and Chad Lewis. But I think Mark is my favorite just because of how he has moved on and succeeded doing something else despite what everybody expected him to become. Many would be angry, depressed or not able to move on, etc. He should be the example for nearly all D1 athletes since most will never be pro and many also don't make the most of their educational opportunities.

  • dexters-lab provo, UT
    April 18, 2013 10:32 p.m.

    BYU Grads that are coaches aren't successful? Huh? Steve Sarkisian, Kyle Wittingham, and Mike Leach. Hmmm 3/12 coaches 1/4 of the coaches in the Pac12 are BYU Grads. Fun Facts and sign of a GREAT Program!

  • Cougar Passion Salt Lake City, UT
    April 18, 2013 5:40 p.m.

    sls and Bomar22: There of course is Kyle Whittingham. I for one was not happy when the BYU job was offered to him and did not feel he was a good fit, so I'm glad he didn't take it. But part of the issue with BYU grads not becoming head coaches at BYU is that there have been a few athletes that would have given anything to be recruited by BYU and weren't; and that fact likely had something to do with their drive to become successful as coaches. BYU's last two head coaches (Crowton and Mendenhall) both wanted very much to play at BYU themselves.

  • Cougarista Salt Lake City, UT
    April 18, 2013 3:58 p.m.

    Opposing coaches telling recruits that BYU is too difficult is a compliment to BYU and an insult to the intelligence of the athlete. Only small minded recruiters and their inferiority-complex schools degrade the opposition rather than tout their own program.

  • Bomar22 Roberts, ID
    April 18, 2013 12:09 p.m.

    Who are the BYU grads that are successful head coaches at D1 schools in football and basketball. I'm not aware of any that have had much success, outside of Mike Leach and I wish he were the coach in Provo.

  • DoNotShootTheLittle Birds Salt Lake City, UT
    April 18, 2013 10:53 a.m.

    Not only is Mark a great ambassador, he is probably the best RB coach in the nation.

    April 18, 2013 10:20 a.m.

    Localblue you can tell your Hawaii friends that the reason Atuaia didn't play a whole lot was because of guys like Ronnie Jenkins & Brian McKenzie. I love have Atuaia as the rb coach. I think he is going to be very good.

  • timpClimber Provo, UT
    April 17, 2013 8:51 p.m.

    I had a similar experience of earning two degrees at BYU and tutoring football and basketball players. Never was I asked to do the work for an athlete but to help them learn how to study and to take tests. As one coach told me that his athletes were at BYU to become good students and that becoming a great athlete was at least .05 percent behind.

  • localblue Sandy, UT
    April 17, 2013 6:19 p.m.

    I remember Atuaia at BYU. My non-BYU Hawaii friends used to say Atuaia was one of the greatest to come out of HI and BYU made him a bust. Turns out not only is he not a bust he is still one of the greatest and is doing even greater things than making the NFL. Makes me proud to be an alum.

  • sls Columbia, MO
    April 17, 2013 5:43 p.m.

    I'm always glad when BYU integrates its own into the football program. It bothers me that for the past 40 or so years BYU has not had a head basketball coach or a head football coach that is a product of the BYU programs, despite having many great graduates of the system. Meanwhile, BYU grads get head coaching jobs at other institutions.

    Assistant coaches (such as Mark) are a good step towards the goal of putting a real Cougar into a head coaching position at BYU someday.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    April 17, 2013 5:08 p.m.

    I absolutely love Mark. BYU could not have a better ambassador.

  • Spider Rico Greeley, CO
    April 17, 2013 4:59 p.m.

    My experience is similar. Although I am not an athelete, my degree at BYU catapulted me to law school and a great career. Going to BYU has been a talking point in interviews and has been a positive that has helped me land jobs in a very competetive market and field.