BYU football head coach Kalani Sitake has called recruiting the “lifeblood of college football.”
It’s a position shared by many college football coaches. Recruiting gives life to a program and provides a steady influx of talent to the roster.
And the lifeblood of recruiting are the fans and the Cougar Club.
“We walk into (Glendale) to play Arizona and we get all the cheers,” Sitake said. “We can see the presence of Cougar Nation is out there. We go to Cincinnati and they have players complaining to our players that we have more fans there and we’re louder than their fans. We go to Michigan to play Michigan State and we have a big following there. Cougar Nation is alive and well. This beast is awake and we have a lot of great things to share with everybody.”
BYU is unique because it is owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. However, no tithing or tax dollars are used to fund BYU’s athletic programs.
The Cougar Club is the group entered into by donors to BYU athletics. There are tiered memberships, but every dollar donated helps BYU athletics thrive.
That was the message Sitake wanted to share with donors on Tuesday afternoon at the conclusion of the 2017 Signing Day ceremonies.
“Thank you so much,” Sitake said. “The things you do for the young men on this team are unbelievable. The things you do for all these athletic teams are unbelievable. Now that recruiting is over, I look forward to going to (other) games.”
Sitake attended the BYU basketball game on Feb. 2 as the Cougars host No. 1 Gonzaga. He added his daughters record gymnastics meets, so they can watch as a family.
But while he enjoys the other sports on campus, there’s no denying football is king. Sitake spoke briefly on the challenges of modern recruiting and said fans truly do make the difference.
“We’re really excited about these young men,” Sitake said. “The focus was to be on our LDS athletes and I thought we did a great job as a staff recognizing those people. But it was you guys who closed them (out). When they got to come on visits and be part of the school, part of the program, part of the community, the one common denominator behind everything was how wonderful Provo was and the fans that they met.”
The Cougars added 24 recruits on Signing Day. Most recruiting analysts had BYU’s class ranked around 60th in the nation, but the Cougars did get two of the four ESPN 300 players in the state.
“We’re excited about these guys coming,” Sitake said before jokingly adding “there will be no quarterback controversy this season.”
Sitake and the Cougars are scheduled to begin spring practices on Monday Feb 27. The spring football game will be held on Saturday, March 25.