San Marcos, Calif. — Every recruit is fair game until they send in their National Letters of Intent.
Case in point is BYU commit Fred Warner who has received a crushing amount of interest since committing to the Cougars in early April. The 6-foot-3, 210 outside linebacker prospect now holds offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Utah, Cal and even from USC with other offers likely on the way.
Since receiving the offers — particularly his offer from USC — Warner has indicated he’ll carefully weigh all options.
“USC made a little bit of an impact,” Warner told USCfootball.com in a June 8 article. “I still have some things to think about.”
When asked by USCfootball.com what it would take for a school to sway him from his BYU commitment he provided the following answer:
“I’m not really sure,” Warner said. “That is kind of a hard question, but if I thought it is was the right school for me and it was what I really wanted in a school and a program, that would be the deciding factor. That is something I need to learn in the future.”
“There are some schools showing me stronger interest than others,” Warner continued. “Like Washington is showing me some love. I’m not really in the position to say whether a school is pulling me away from BYU right now. I’m just getting barraged by offers right now and there is a lot to think about. I’m just going with the whole recruiting process right now because it only happens once. The future will tell.”
The above quotes were published by USCfootball.com the day after Warner returned from BYU’s junior day.
In quotes given to totalbluesports.com following BYU’s junior day Warner has indicated resolve to hold his BYU commitment.
“Being there at BYU really assured me why I made my decision to commit to BYU in the first place,” said Warner. “It just confirmed to me why I made my decision. It really is a special place and it was just fun. I got that feeling that BYU is a special place. I got that spiritual feeling and just look forward to playing there.”
“Yeah, I’m pretty excited about it, and I just was to reassure BYU fans that BYU is a special place,” Warner continued. “I’m going to come out there and dominate as an outside linebacker. They shouldn’t be worried at all. BYU is the place for me.”
The conclusion drawn from both articles is that Warner fully intends on holding his BYU commitment, but will explore all options. How hard Warner will explore those other options and how hard those other options will work in swaying him to their respective programs certainly has yet to play out.
Who can blame Warner or any other recruit for wanting to consider all of his offers?
Deciding which school to sign with is an enormous and, indeed, a life-changing decision for any recruit.
Warner expressed surprise when offered by USC due to scant attention the Trojans had given to him prior. He’s yet to visit the program as an offered prospect and, if he does, the Trojan coaches will likely work to make him feel as at home as BYU coaches have successfully done. The same can obviously be said for the other schools that come forward with offers.
So, in light of the recent avalanche of interest received, will BYU be able to retain Warner’s commitment?
Several key points need to be factored to accurately assess an answer to that question:
-BYU has lost its share of commitments to other programs. As recently as last year the Cougars lost both Johnny Ragin and Tanner Shipley late in the process to Cal and to Boise State respectively. Those two programs generally offer less sway over some of the elite Pac-12 programs currently after Warner.
-Warner committed to BYU relatively early in the process, unlike both Ragin and Shipley. With how BYU presents itself during the recruiting process, those who choose to commit early almost always hold those commitments in light of the program’s highly unique aspects relative to other programs. Warner, who is LDS, has stated that BYU’s unique social environment was one of the biggest factors in his commitment.
-Warner has yet to be pursued all that heavily by any of Pac-12 programs who have extended offers. The grand majority of his recruiting contact has come from BYU and he’s made two unofficial visits out the the program.
-USC isn’t USC anymore in the eyes of many Southern California recruits. In the past, when the Trojans offered any local, it was pretty much game over with regards to other program’s chances. USC has seen recent struggles under coach Lane Kiffin and those struggles have already negatively impacted the program’s recruiting.
In my own interviews with Warner I was impressed with his maturity and how he’s handling the process. Wherever the young man ultimately decides to sign, that decision will only come after careful and thoughtful consideration and will likely be the best possible decision for him personally as both a student and as a potentially great collegiate football player.