Jasen Ah You, BYU football’s new executive coordinator of recruiting and player personnel, said he doesn’t want Cougar recruits who are just talented.
“I don’t need perfect student-athletes,” Ah You said in a conference call Monday. “I need guys who are willing to strive, strive to be better than where they are at, strive to be live the honor code, strive to excel in the classroom and strive to be on the field.”
Ah You steps into a position where getting athletes who fit that mold and can handle the unique aspects of being a Cougar is one of his main goals.
“We are a Power Five school but we also have this banner we are holding that not all recruits are willing or able to carry, the banner of Brigham Young University and the banner of being a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints,” Ah You said. “We are not only looking for the top LDS athletes but also looking for athletes who fit in what BYU has to offer.”
Although Ah You has been working in this role since March, BYU officially announced his new position on Monday.
“For me personally, it’s been a very humbling experience,” Ah You said. “You could always talk about what you think you would do in this role but when you are in it and trying execute a plan, a strategy to recruit top athletes for our program, it’s definitely very humbling. I’m grateful and honored that Coach Kalani Sitake and (director of athletics) Tom Holmoe put that responsibility on me. I’m grateful for the challenge. This is definitely something different.”
He said that since he has been around the program for the last few years in other roles, he has had a chance to see what has worked while still bringing in new ideas.
“I’ve been able to see from a distance what others have done as they’ve laid down the foundation,” Ah You said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge of putting my vision of BYU football on it and conveying that to the recruits we are trying to attract here to BYU.”
He pointed to his own experience when his son, Chaz Ah You, was being recruited by a lot of well-known football programs as a time that helped him understand what he feels like the Cougars should do in recruiting.
“I had the opportunity with my son to experience recruiting,” Ah You said. “I was born in Provo when my dad was playing football here under LaVell Edwards. The team doctor delivered me. I met my wife at BYU. But it was never a foregone conclusion that Chaz was going to choose BYU even though my dad played here, my brothers played here, and my cousins played here. I saw through the process with my brothers that I wanted my son to make this decision that was going to be really important to his life.”
The process of going to other universities that were recruiting Chaz Ah You gave Jasen Ah You perspective about the entire process.
“I was able to see what their pitch was, what they showed, what they had to offer,” Jasen Ah You said. “I was able to compare that to what BYU had to offer. I’ll tell you right now that there is no place like BYU for a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We check all the boxes. It is my job to be able to show recruits that they can find everything they are looking for in a university here at BYU plus so much more.”
He said BYU has to emphasize what makes it different from other places.
“The BYU experience is something I feel I need to share and carry more to showcase everything BYU has to offer that makes it unique and special,” Jasen Ah You said. “My vision is to remind players, future recruits and parents what BYU has to offer. If being a part of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and that culture is anywhere in the top five or six characteristics they want, then we have a shot and we’re going to swing for that.”
His message to athletes who can handle the rigorous academic and social structures is that they can find success.
“I feel like there is no better place to achieve all of your goals — all of them — than at BYU,” Jasen Ah You said. “My job is to not only have them see that but to have them feel it. That’s who we are. Not only have I been involved with the admissions but I’ve been involved with the academics, with the honor code, with housing and with the NFL,” Jasen Ah You said. “I’m able to see a perspective from the administrative side what the mission of BYU is and make sure the athletes that we bring in not only excel on the field but are great fits for what the church stands for and what BYU stands for. I’ve seen the whole spectrum of what BYU has to offer.”
But he has also learned that growth sometimes involves overcoming missteps. He talked about working in leaderships roles in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and how he’s learned that situations aren’t simple.
“Young men and young women have struggles,” Jasen Ah You said. “To be able to understand why they made certain choices or what is happening in their lives has really opened my eyes. Instead of passing judgment, I’ve worked to understand what is going on in their lives that has put them on the path to make these choices. These aren’t bad kids but they make bad choices — but there is light at the end of the tunnel. It can be heartbreaking.”
He recalled having people help him get past his own mistakes.
“Life is hard,” Jasen Ah You said. “We as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and at Brigham Young University need to help guys get through tough times. If not us, then who? I’m all about holding kids accountable but at the same time showing that this is part of the plan and we are going to move forward through those times so they can rise from it.”
He wants the BYU football program to be a place where improvement is the theme and believes that is something that resonates with athletes and their families.
“All the players on our team are striving to be better,” Jasen Ah You said. “I think that resonates with moms and dads. As a staff, we should be an extension of moms and dads. They should feel safe having their athletes coming here.”