Who says big things don’t come in small packages?
It’s been easy to forget, watching Cody Hoffman become BYU’s all-time greatest receiver (statistically speaking), that Cody was not always accustomed to tens of thousands of fans cheering him on.
In fact, all the players listed below came from high schools with just a few hundred students total.
This list, in no particular order, identifies some of the best players from small beginnings to have graced LaVell Edwards stadium.
One of the best wide receivers to play in recent years came from a school with just around 900 students. Hoffman hails from Crescent City, Calif., a town of 8,000 in the top of the Californian coastline. Hoffman played for the Del Norte High Warriors, where he grabbed 50 passes for more than 1,000 yards in his senior year alone. The Cougars were fortunate this small town guy brought out his super-sized skills to BYU.
The big man on the defensive line from 2005-2009 came from the rural town of Price, Utah. The small town in eastern Utah has about 8,600 residents, and Carbon High has a fewer than 800 students. Jorgensen was pretty undecided on which side of the ball he would play during high school, playing as both quarterback and linebacker, before playing on the Cougars D-Line.
Ross Apo will be playing his last year as a Cougar in 2014 and is hoping to go out in style. The wide receiver has nearly 1,000 yards under his belt along with 13 TDs. But before his days at BYU, he went to The Oakridge School, a small prep school in Arlington, Texas, with a student body of about 800. There he was ranked the No. 14 overall recruit of 2010 by scout.com with nine touchdowns in his senior year.
The defensive lineman from St. Anthony, Idaho, won the prestigious Outland Trophy in ’86 and recorded 11.5 sacks in ’85. Buck later earned a championship ring with the Redskins after Super Bowl XXVII.
St. Anthony is just up the road from Rexburg and has a population around 3,500. Before being accepted to Ricks College, Buck played for South Fremont High School with a student body of 480. Buck lettered in football, basketball and track, and was even named to the first team all-conference as both a quarterback and a linebacker.
Think of a small high school. Then think even smaller. Thinking small enough?
Keisel went to school in Greybull, Wyo., a town of about 2,000 people. Greybull High School currently has 170 students.
Keisel played at tight end and linebacker and was even named the USA Today Wyoming Player of the Year.
Keisel put up some impressive stats as a defensive end for the Cougars, but his biggest achievement was playing for the Steelers and growing his rally beard, conveniently nicknamed, “Da Beard.” His grizzly beard even has its own Facebook page. Keisel is currently a free agent.
Nead played tight end for the Cougars in 2001 and 2002 before being drafted by the New England Patriots in 2003. While at BYU, Nead was ranked as the No. 6 tight end in college football. He only ran for two touchdowns, but could press forward for some solid yardage when Brandon Doman needed him.
Nead’s alma mater is Teton High School. It’s average enrollment over the years has plateaued around 400. The town of Driggs, Idaho, has a population of about 1,600. Teton High takes in students from across the county, which gave Nead the opportunity for his high-school fame to spread. After being recruited by seven other universities, Nead ultimately came to BYU following his LDS mission.