The stadium was packed last Saturday as loud fans cheered on their Cougar team to a 23-17 victory over the Huskies. Among the throng of cheering Cougars was BYU safety recruit Joe Sampson of San Mateo Junior College.
"It went really well for him and he loved it," said Brian Logan of his cousin's visit. "Man, he said a lot of good things and was just excited about BYU."
As for where he was going to end up playing Division I football, Sampson ultimately narrowed his decision down to rival schools BYU and Utah.
"He said that if ‘I can come out this year I'm going to commit to BYU, but if not then I'm going to go to Utah,’" Logan recalled Sampson saying. "They were moving to the Pac-10 and all that. I just told him, 'Hey, you just do what you feel is best for you. All I did was tell him about BYU, and at the end of the day he would make his own decision.”
Things didn’t work out in regards to Sampson being able to come to BYU and play with his cousin this year, seemingly hurting the Cougars’ chances to secure his commitment.
"When we were talking he told me he narrowed it down – I mean, he had offers from Oregon, Oregon State and big schools that people don't know about – to BYU and Utah,” said Logan. “He was saying that Utah was in a better conference than BYU and I couldn't really argue with that on a perception basis. Before he was talking about the strength of schedules and the Pac-10 and the opportunities ahead of him. Even though BYU is getting national recognition, the Mountain West can't compete with the Pac-10. I'm not talking about on the field. I'm talking about perception-wise, and I couldn't really argue with that."
Up against the notion that perception is reality, Logan did his best to tear down those perceptions brick by brick and educate Sampson on the benefits that BYU had.
"The one thing that we're going to have here at BYU over Utah is academics," said Logan. "We have better academics here and I told him that. I can't really say how Utah is, but I could tell him how it is here at BYU. Here we're more like a family and have better academics. The environment is better and the whole emphasis on building character and better-people aspect of BYU, I explained all that to him.
"I told him, 'I can't really speak for the Utah coaches but I know our coaches really love and care for us on and off the field.' I said those are the things that I can see are some of the better reasons on why he should come here. He knew he wasn't going to be able to come this year and play with me, so I told him to wait first and come out here first and take a look before you make a decision."
Sampson took his Cougar cousin's advice and decided to take a trip out to BYU prior to making a final decision. The decision to wait was sound advice.
"He was going to come out here for a visit and had that all planned," Logan said. "Then BYU goes independent a couple of days before he was going to come out here for a visit, and man, that changed everything. He just said, ‘Man, with that schedule coming up and being on ESPN against those schools, I can't turn this down.' I think that right there kind of let BYU know and this coaching staff know how by going independent with that schedule is going to really help with recruiting.
"Joe was like, 'Man, even with the Pac-10, nothing is going to compare to the schedule we're going to have. He was really excited about playing Texas next year and the long series BYU has with Notre Dame. It was funny because he had a couple big offers and he narrowed his schools down to Utah and BYU, which is ironic for me being that Utah is my rival school."
BYU going independent proved to be the deciding factor between BYU and Utah.
"Going independent would have to be that tipping point," Logan said. "Just off of the schedule he was like, ‘Man, we grew up watching Texas, we grew up watching Notre Dame, and for me to be playing at LaVell Edwards Stadium against Notre Dame … and Texas on ABC or ESPN, that's big-time.’ He said this was a dream come true and I think that's what really set BYU apart from Utah and why he committed to us. He just felt like he couldn't pass this up."
While Sampson was on BYU’s campus, Logan was able to be his escort. Having the Washington game to focus on and prepare for, Logan wasn’t able to spend a great deal of one-on-one time with his cousin.
"I hosted a couple guys before in the past,” said Logan. “It was a little easier with my free time, but I actually thought with him being here for our game against Washington was actually better. He was able to see our pre-game preparation, the hotel and the food we get to eat. He got to see all that, then actually being able to come to our game and see the environment and the fans and how great it is to be in LaVell Edwards Stadium on game day."
Following an exciting Cougar victory over the Huskies, Sampson returned home. It wasn't long after that he called the Cougar coaches and announced to them he was coming.
"I'm really excited about him coming and playing here," said Logan. "Overall the reason why is because I know this is a good place for him. He's a good kid already and I know he won't have any problem with the honor code or anything like that because he is a good kid. The city where he is coming from is really rough, and I know coming from those bad areas from the Bay Area how hard it can be. For him to get out of that environment and be able to come out here is just great for him because he's a great kid and BYU is a special place.
"When he was out here for his visit he was really surprised at how nice everyone was. He said, ‘Man, right off the bat I could tell there are no fake people out here and everyone is genuinely nice. Everyone is just so nice and the streets are clean.' I said, 'You know, I thought the exact same thing,' and it just reminded me of my visit. His reaction to being out here his first time was the exact same as mine, so I knew right then and there he is going to love it out here."
Although Sampson won't be able to play alongside his cousin, he will have the opportunity to carry on the family association in BYU's secondary. Knowing what the experience has been like for himself, Logan is excited for what lies ahead for his cousin.
"I told him, 'Hey man, you got to keep it going and represent our family in our secondary.’ I told him, 'You gotta take on the bicep role by having the big biceps in our secondary.' I mean, his biceps are bigger than mine and he's a little taller than me at around 5’10” or 5’11”. But yeah, I’m just really happy that he's coming here and playing on this team, in this program and with these coaches and players. This really is the best place for him and I'm excited that he's decided to come here and be a part of all this."