As Coach Weber is the only staff member that is officially leaving the program so far, aside from Lance Reynolds retirement, all eyes are on the Cougar offensive linemen recruits. CougarNation was able to speak with 6-foot-2, 265-pound offensive guard from Bingham High School, Keegan Hicks, who was just contacted by Robert Anae, the new offensive line coach and offensive coordinator at BYU.
Coach Anae set an appointment for an in home visit with Keegan for this Sunday, and this will be the first time they get a chance to sit down and talk. Keegan wasn't recruited by Arizona so he has never talked to Robert Anae and has not established any kind of relationship with him thus far. "With how early I committed I never really gave myself a chance to be recruited by anybody else besides BYU so I've never really talked to him."
Keegan has an excellent relationship with Coach Weber, who is now coaching just up the road in Logan at Utah State, did Keegan have any interest in Utah State before his commitment to BYU? "They were talking to me a lot, they were recruiting me a lot, but I just kind of blew them off."
Does Weber's new job at Utah State change Keegan's interest level in the Aggies? "Just like any other recruit the thought has crossed my mind. But I'm more of a BYU guy, I'd rather be at BYU than I would Utah State. I recognize the fact that things could change, I've never met Coach Anae, and there's a chance that I don't like him at all, but as of right now I'm BYU all the way."
Cougar fans are all watching and waiting while Coach Brandon Doman decides whether he's going to be staying with the program as the QB coach, and Keegan is watching with extra interest. "He's the recruiter for South Salt Lake Valley, so he was the recruiter for Bingham High School. I had a great relationship with him. He was the first coach from BYU that I ever talked to, one of the first college coaches in general to start recruiting me. He's been recruiting me since my freshman year so I've known him for quite some time now."
"I have talked to him (on Saturday the 5th). He said that he's bummed that things haven't worked out the way he was planning. He told me that he still believes in the BYU program and that it's still a great place for me to be. But whether or not he's going to be there is still in question, he doesn't know yet."
"I talked to Coach Poppinga, Coach Howell, Coach Weber, and I talked to Coach Doman. I haven't talked to Coach Mendenhall yet, he kind of just gave his message through Coach Poppinga."
"Coach Weber just said that it was time for him to go, he said some things just didn't work out how he wanted to. Just for him and his family, Utah State was a really good option for him at the time."
"They (Coach Howell and Poppinga) both said that they loved Coach Doman, Coach Weber and the offensive staff, but they are really psyched about picking up Coach Anae and that it's definitely going to make us a better team and a better program."
How psyched was Keegan after his conversations with Coach Howell and Poppinga? "Mixed feelings, I'm excited because Coach Anae has a great reputation and he's a really good coach, and he'll definitely be able to contribute. But at the same time I built some pretty good relationships with Coach Doman and Coach Weber. I'm excited from the perspective that BYU is going to get a lot better because of this, but at the same time I'm kind of bummed out because I was looking forward to playing for those guys."
Keegan also experienced some bummer-dom this past summer when he hurt his shoulder in a boating accident before the football season began. "I had a really bad accident, I should feel better about it considering the fact that it should have been a season ending injury and I wasn't hurt worse, but that's not how I roll and I'm still pretty bummed out about how things worked out. I never got fully back to 100%, even in that Syracuse game in the semifinals I still wouldn't consider myself even close to 100%. I still played decently, I still worked guys, but I just didn't get back to me and I didn't contribute as much as I wanted to. So, kind of a bummer of a season to be honest with you. It's getting better, just a lot of physical therapy and working out."
With the BYU offensive line looking thin in more than one way, the Cougars could use some depth that Keegan could provide. With him having an early birthday his plan has been to leave on his mission this summer even before the mission age change. Has the Cougar coaching staff asked him to stay and play his freshman season? "BYU's really open, and they're really accepting of that, and they realize that I want to go on a mission. So they said they wouldn't try pressuring me into doing something that I don't want to do. They haven't really told me that they want me that first year, they said it's up to me and I told them I want to go on a mission and they respect that."
Keegan won't be enrolling this fall, but it looks like Johnny Ragin will be. Earlier this fall Keegan tweeted that BYU would be getting a big commit. Was Johnny Ragin that big commit he was talking about? "It was supposed to be somebody else, I knew Johnny was coming too so it could have worked for a couple different guys. I already knew Johnny was leaning towards BYU so, we'll see. It's definitely still possible (that there's another big commitment yet to come)."
The Cougar's official visit for a lot of the recruits is set for the 18th, and that will be important for BYU and the new coaches on the staff to make an impression on Keegan and other potential big commits. In the meantime, Coach Anae has a lot of work to do.