BYU loses Shipley to Boise State

WILSONVILLE, Ore. — It’s hard to recruit against a prospect’s childhood favorite. That is what BYU was up against when Boise State offered receiver prospect Tanner Shipley a scholarship a little less than two weeks ago.

Shipley is a 6-foot-2, 180 athlete who has now decommitted from BYU twice. He first committed to BYU in summer, but decommitted after not feeling at peace with his decision. He decided to re-commit to the Cougars in late November as reported here.

Shipley made an official visit to Boise State over the weekend and committed shortly after returning home.

“Boise State has always been the school I’ve dreamed of playing since I was young so when I got an offer from them I knew I’d probably end up committing,” he said. “It’s tough because of all the respect I have for BYU and the coaches there. It’s a class organization that was tough to tell coaches I changed my mind. I wish BYU nothing but success in the future — except when they play Boise State.”

BYU is currently without a wide receiver coach and that played some part in Shipley’s decision.

“I like the stability at Boise State,” Shipley said. “I know who my coach is and that’s a nice thing. I don’t think BYU not having a receiver coach was a big factor, but it was something I considered when deciding on Boise State.”

“I wouldn’t choose any school in the country over Boise State and it’s probably the only school I’d choose over BYU,” Shipley added. “I know a lot of BYU fans are mad at me right now, but I have to do what is best for me. Boise State offers me everything I want and it really is a dream come true to be a part of their program.”


    • JmThms

      Hey, I respect Boise State football, but to suggest that Idaho – Boise or anywhere else in that state – is ‘much better than’ Utah is simply hilarious!

  1. Levin

    For anyone who freaked out and mixed up the names, Tanner Mangum (who grayshirted at BYU this season) and Tanner Shipley (this article) are not the same person.

  2. Craig

    Thanks, Levin. FYI, Bill Clinton and Bill Cosby are also not the same person. Just wanted to clarify that for everyone who might be mixed up. 😉

  3. Idahoan in Texas

    Both BYU and Boise State are quality programs with great coaches, but it would be hard not to go to Boise State given its success of the past decade and given the playing opportunities he will have there.

    • JmThms

      It is not hard going against Boise State for BYU. Despite the recent success of Boise State, the program simply does not have the bones that BYU does. Its a matter of time before that Boise State program devolves to where it most appropriately should be. Come on now! BOISE STATE. B-O-I-S-E S-T-A-T-E.

      • RationalThought

        Unfortunately, most recruits don’t remember when BYU was a nationally ranked team. These kids are 18 yrs old. It doesn’t matter that BYU was great in the 70’s and 80’s, these kids want to know who’s been great in the 2000’s. BYU hasn’t beat Boise State during that time. In fact, very few teams have beat Boise State during that time. It’s a no-brainer for him to go to BSU. If you want to be part of a winning program, do you go to the team that has the highest win percentage over the past 10 years, or do you go to a team that doesn’t even have a receiver coach? As long as Boise State keeps getting better recruits and does a better job of developing their players (number of kids moving on to the NFL), I don’t see how they’re going to fall below BYU. Take off the rose-colored glasses. All is not well in Zion (assuming BYU = Zion).

      • VABeachCougar

        Boise State has been consistent and solid under Chris Petersen. BYU will take a nose dive before Boise does. Too bad we don’t get Tanner to Tanner; would’ve been great. Best of luck Mr. Shipley.

  4. CougFaninTX

    This is one more example of why the recruiting process needs to change. Verbal commitments put all the burden on the university and there is no real commitment by the athlete.

    BYU has held a scholarship for Shipley for four or five months. They stopped recruiting for the WR position because of him, and then a week before national letter of intent day, he changes his mind.

    My argument is not with Shipley, although I would have liked to see him play at BYU (he and Weeks would have been awesome bookends), it’s with the process.

    Let’s get rid of the verbal commitment fiasco, and make letter of intent a six month process (September – February) not a one day event. Athletes can sign as soon as they are ready to commit, but once they sign their letter of intent they have some skin in the game.

    Get rid of the verbal commitment. It’s obviously only as good as “until a better offer comes along.”

    • Naval Vet

      “Verbal commitments put all the burden on the university and there is no real commitment by the athlete….BYU has held a scholarship for Shipley for four or five months. They stopped recruiting for the WR position because of him, and then a week before national letter of intent day, he changes his mind.”

      Unbelievable! Especially coming from a recruit Bronco had stamped his approval of “high integrity”.

      Speaking of putting the burden, once a player signs, he can’t leave without losing a year of eligibility. On the other hand, a coach can leave right away withOUT penalty.

      Great recruiting class you have there. By my count, that gives you 26 recruits; 19 of whom (73.1%) are rated with 2 stars or less. And the 4 recruits that you had that later decommitted for another university, 3 left for a MWC team. The other, the only ranked 3-star in the bunch, left for a Pac-12 team.

      Love to see how well Irrelevance…er, I mean Independence, has been working out for you.

      • Wiscougarfan

        RE: Naval Vet

        “Love to see how well Irrelevance… er, I mean Independence, has been working out for you.”

        I know, right?! I wish the cougars could just be relevant…
        BYU since becoming irrelevant as Independent/WCC: 18-8 in football with two bowl wins; 42-15 in basketball with one tourney appearance and a possible return this season.
        Utah since becoming relevant in the PAC12: 13-12 with one bowl appearance (and victory), 15-36 in basketball with no post season play.
        It stinks being irrelevant, especially when compared to the mighty Utes.

      • Naval Vet


        Yes, we’re all super impressed with how many WAC teams you’ve beaten over these past 2 seasons.

      • VABeachCougar

        Give me independence any day of the week. I have great acces to watch my team. 2013 Schedule is awesome…check it out.

      • VABeachCougar

        2013 Schedule: “BYU will face seven teams that participated in bowl games last season, including Texas, Wisconsin, Georgia Tech, Boise State, Utah State, Nevada and Notre Dame, which played Alabama for the BCS National Championship. Four teams finished the 2012 season ranked in both the AP Top 25 and USA Today Coaches Poll, including Notre Dame (No. 4/No. 3), Utah State (16/17), Boise State (18/14) and Texas (19/18).”

      • Wishful Thinking

        WOW, are you always so hateful? When are we gonna just enjoy sports for the entertainment? Let’s see what the future brings first. Who knows if any of these kids will pan out.

        In my day when we committed, we committed. Hope BSU is a good fit and Chris Petersen sticks around. Every program has it’s day.

    • wahului

      A lot of this “me” generation doesn’t understand the meaning of loyalty or commitment, and fails completely to even consider dishonorable tenets of “de-committing”. That whole concept wreaks. As you point out, a lot of things are affected by this irresponsible and selfish action, and with hardly a thought from and certainly no consequence to the player. Your letter of intent idea is a good one; this kid has no idea what’s “best” for him. That excuse is no more than his attempt to excuse himself for being a major flake.

  5. Tators

    I’ve spent a lot of time in wind-blown Boise. And yes, it is an okay town. But to claim it’s better than Utah in general is a ludicrous statement.

    • Water Mark

      It’s a matter of opionion. Why would it be ludicrous for someone’s opionion to be that Boise is better than Utah in general? I grew up in Utah and would choose Boise over anywhere in Utah, hands down. Part of the reason in the people as Utah can be rather smug, self righeous, and condescening, as several comments to this article attest. If you prefer Utah, good for you. I don’t even think it’s ludicrous for you to believe that.

  6. Tators

    To commit to and then de-commit to a program not once, but twice, makes that person seem pretty wishy-washy and a bit fickle. A quality program is probably better off without a player who has such a hard time making up his mind and not being able to stick to his decisions and commitments.

  7. Coach Biff

    BYU has a bigger, stronger, better athlete in it’s own back yard waiting for an offer named Jaxon Beck. He was awarded the senior receiver of the camp last summer. He’ll be going on a mission but he is available. Wish BYU would recruit it’s area first. (BTW. I’m not this kid’s relative. Just a coach who watched him play)

  8. Bleeds Red

    What if the Coach then leaves to another school or is fired?

    Is it fair that the school can pull a scholarship on a verbal commit?

    Or after a year at the school? Or two or three?

  9. Ben

    Utah just landed a 4 star (according to ESPN) defensive end that was recruited by nearly half the college programs in the nation, including BYU, but no story on that? I guess the decommittment of BYU bound, then not BYU bound, then BYU bound again, then not BYU bound flip-flopping guy gets the press here? Don’t the recruits that BYU doesn’t get also get some newspaper space?

    • Brandon Gurney

      Just so you know, I’m very aware of Gaius Vaenuku’s commit late last night and should have something up on him later today

  10. Darryl

    This speaks more to this young man’s character, about what commitment means. Sorry to see him, go, but BYU has got to get coaches in place. Still do not understand why Cahoon was let go.

  11. PineappleSG

    This may be an epic time in college football too. Boise State doesn’t take “mission kids”. If Shipley goes on a mission, it’s another wall going down, especially in a community where there’s such a high LDS concentration. Besides, Boise St. is a BSC caliber program. He better not close the door on BSU.

    • oregon blue

      Shipley is not lds. Listening to an interview he conducted, the kid appeared pretty immature. Made a comment he chose BSU because “the school would allow him to make decisions for himself.” Sounds like he would have difficulty living the honor code reading between the lines. Wish the kid well. Y would not want the headaches.

  12. Bob Ross

    Actually, BSU has a LB from California just coming home from his mission. Also have a verbal commit from Durrant Miles from Bingham HS (3 Stars) who will go on his mission first and join the team in 2016.

  13. Ryan

    Good luck Tanner, it would have been great to have you a cougar, but we wish you the best from Cougarnation.

  14. Darryl

    Dear Naval Vet, let’s see being a bottom feeder/dweller in major sports in the PAC 10+2 is relevant. Please go to the dictionary and look up relevant, because being a bottom dweller is not relevant.

    • Naval Vet

      Simple math, Darryl.

      [(One 4-star recruit) + (six 3-star recruits)] / 26 recruits = Irrelevant

      You had better recruiting classes back when you were in the WAC! Haha!

      • CougarIndependence

        Naval Vet, get off your high horse of being absolutely Irrelevant the last two seasons. You see the struggles that Arizona and Arizona St. have had since joining the PAC-10 (12) guess what the U is looking at for the next 10 years. Why would anyone come to Utah (the university or the State) instead of California, Oregon, or even Washington if they have a good chance at playing?

        BYU is going to take some time, but their recruits and success will turn around in about 3-4 years. Look at the success BSU has had recently. One thought is that this is because of ESPN/national exposure. If you look at their nationally televised games, it correlates almost exactly with their wins per season two years later. The more national exposure combined with playing big name teams and lead them to land good recruits who have made it to the NFL.

        BYU coaches and football program have a lot to work on, but national exposure and playing some of the best college football teams in America will pay off 2-4 years down the road.

        I’ll take waiting 2-4 years, than the 10 plus years the U will be…Irrelevant.

  15. Fatman 86

    I’ve lived in both Boise and SLC. Sorry, but Boise (the city) has far less to offer on the whole. That said, Boise State football has a loyal, fixated, and obsessive following. That can come in handy in terms of the expectation of competitiveness (see entire SEC). The reason the SEC dominates, is that their passionate followers demand nothing less. This is the reason Boise St has owned (and will continue to own) both Utah and BYU. Utah has too many competing interests. Boise does not. That fact I’m sure is not lost on Mr Shipley who knows that in Boise as a member of the beloved football team he will always be top dog.

    • Water Mark

      I cannot let your comment go without response.
      First, BYU is in Provo, not SLC. Let’s compare the relevant cities. Second, it seems you’re suggesting that BYU fans are not “loyal, fixated, and obsessive” as BSU fans are. Are you serious? I can’t think of any fans that are more fixated and obsessive than BYU fans. Third, you claim that “The reason the SEC dominates, is that their passionate followers demand nothing less”. Passionate BYU followers don’t? Your head is in the sand. Finally, you say that Utah has too many “competing interests” for BYU fans to be loyal, fixated, and obsessive, hence the success of BSU. In other words, since there’s nothing else for Boise fans to do, they demand more and get more from their football team. I would say Provo and Boise are pretty comparable and even if they weren’t, if “competing interests” is the main factor, then why aren’t all teams from small markets on par with BSU? Could it be that BSU has better coaching, recruiting, and program management?

  16. Utah Bronco

    Pineapple SG – you are misinformed. As Bob Ross clarified, BSU does take “mission kids” (and has for several years).

    Tanner, welcome to Boise! I am confident that you will enjoy your experiences there with you teammates, coaches and fans.

  17. billypenn

    The Kid seems like a flake anyway, he would be 4th string at BYU, they still have the Matthews boys from Oregon who hardly sniff any playing time, and if I remember correctly they were both 4 star recruits. I will say this I would much rather play for Chris Petersen than Bronco Mendenhall, Petersen can admit when he’s made a mistake unlike Bronco ( see Riley Nelson fiasco) I like a coach that holds themselves accountable for their bad decisions, where Bronco doesn’t think he can do wrong.Living in Boise the past few years I would kill to have BYU hire a coach like Petersen.

  18. Neil in Clinton

    BYU had an outstanding receiver coach in Cahoon. Why he was let go is a mystery to me and I suspect many BYU fans. This coaching merry go round is costing BYU quality recruits. Bronco could learn a lesson from a previous coach named Edwards.

    • CougarIndependence

      Neil, absolutely right. My Dad coached Ben Cahoon in high school at Mt. View in Orem. He has done nothing wrong and been one of the most loyal coaches to Bronco (not to Doman). I was amazed to hear he was released. Cahoon was the Jerry Rice of the CFL holding every record possible. He was not gifted with a lot of athletic skills but had/has an incredible work ethic. I am still shocked that he was let go. A coach like him who demands such work ethic and has been instrumental in Cody Hoffman’s and JD Falslev’s development is let go…ridiculous. I can understand Shipley’s decommit. This coaching carousel is a joke! Bronco, who had so successful in his early years is making a mess of coaching lately!

  19. Texas BYU Fan

    I’m a pretty rabid BYU fan, but come on! To call Shipley a flake is just sour grapes. If a kid doesn’t want to be at
    BYU, then BYU is better off without him. I know that if I committed to BYU because I hadn’t gotten an offer from a school I preferred, and then that preferred school offered me, then I would drop BYU in a second.. Anyone that thinks that is flaky or feels like they need to question a kid’s integrity over something like that is a little silly. Do you really want a bunch of players who don’t really want to be at BYU? Have you not ever changed your mind about something? Sure it’s a pain for recruiters, but that’s just part of the job. I wish the kid well. I hope his decision works out well for him. For every kid who has committed at BYU then has committed elsewhere, there’s probably a kid who committed elsewhere then changed his mind to play at BYU.

  20. shorts

    Good luck at BSU If it is your dream school that is where you should go.

    RE: Naval Vet How many WAC teams you’ve beaten over these past 2 seasons? More that Utah. BYU is 9-1 Utah is 0-1 what is your point?

    • CougarIndependence


      Lets not forget that BYU made no move to conceal the fact they had to play WAC teams the first two years of Independence. That is how it goes when you make your own schedule, it sucked for a little bit, but now we can play all over the country and this will start to change the mindset of the football team. As a fan, I wouldn’t wish anything but Independence. It fits the schools “higher mission” and gives me an opportunity to travel every year to another amazing venue. Madison, here I come!

    • Naval Vet


      The Y is 8-2 vs. the WAC over their past 10 games. Don’t forget you lost to a sub-.500 Utah State team back in 2010. Actually, you lost to Nevada that same season, so I guess you’re 8-2 is really more 8-3.

      Yes, we lost an OT game to the WAC champion in 2012, but you lost to a WAC also-ran in 2012 as well. And I wouldn’t call us 0-1 vs. the WAC. More like 1-1. Don’t forget…we beat the Y, and they were so very WAC-ish. Truth be told, we beat them 3 years in a row, and 8 of the last 11, so there really is no way around the simple fact that the U > Y.

  21. Bryan in Oregon

    I have no problem with this kid deciding to go to Boise. I do have a problem with his decommiting twice. My problem is not with him (well sort of) but more a problem with the coaches. If he decommited once they should have found someone else. Any kid that cannot stick to commitments should not be around anyway. I felt the same way about Riley Nelson. Commitment is what makes a man (or woman).

  22. Kralon

    “Shipley . . . has now decommitted from BYU twice.”

    “I like the stability at Boise State”

    Seems like Shipley really needs some help in the stability department, at least he recognizes that, good luck to him!

  23. Chuck Closterman

    Let’s see, when Ross Apo decommits from Texas to BYU that’s OK. Or when Riley Nelson “decommits from Utah State to play for BYU, or when Josh Sharp “decommts” from Utah for BYU that’s OK as well. Not flakes, traitors, word breakers etc, just enlightened young men making the right decision. Sounds a little hypocritical to me.

    More. . . when Jonny Raggin III, Tanner Shipley, Davion Orphey decommit this year, or when Zach Lindsay and Bobby Wolford decommited in the past it’s because they lack character. Give me a break.

    18 year old kids change their minds or were easily swayed to make their initial decision. Stop the moral judgments and wish them well.

    • Hunt

      I don’t think anyone complained with the first decommit. It’s his subsequent recommit and then second decommit that has BYU fans miffed. I don’t believe that any of the players you mentioned decommited twice. I think all wish him well but it doesn’t changed the fact that he screwed BYU over by leaving them with an open scholarship so late in the game.

  24. Oregon blue

    Shipley was on the Caves and Prater sports talk show on Monday. He said his “gut” feeling told him BSU was where he belongs-Made the same “gut” statement when he “recommitted” to BYU in January.

    Caves asked him in the interviw “are you a mormon?” His response “no, I am not.” Fans are stating he is–Shipley states he is not?

    Trouble being honest and truthful to media and coaches?

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