Phillip Amone is a 6-foot, 218-pound inside linebacker commit from Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Florida. He grew up a big Florida State fan and had little-to-no interest in BYU.
“I knew what BYU was because I’m Mormon and all that, but no, I didn’t have any desire to play there growing up,” he said. “It’s not like I disliked them or anything, I just wanted to play out here in Florida for some of the local schools here.”
Amone had been receiving a lot of recruiting attention and had an offer from Florida Atlantic.
“I had a lot of schools come and visit, but when I told them of my mission plans, they quit visiting,” he said. “I still had a lot of interest, and schools like Indiana, Purdue, Duke, North Carolina, Pittsburgh and some other schools were telling me they were close to offering but wanted to see me perform live before they did.”
As it so happens, BYU was telling him the exact same thing as the other programs, which precipitated his trip out to Provo. As mentioned, BYU didn’t contact him until early in May.
“I got an email from Coach Howell asking me of my interest and things about me,” he said. “I answered all their questions, and they viewed my film, and then they got really interested.”
Howell moved quickly upon viewing Amone’s film, making a visit clear out to Florida just two weeks later. During his first face-to-face contact with a BYU coach, Amone began to sense that BYU was quite a bit different that the other schools that were recruiting him.
“I really liked Coach Howell immediately,” he said. “He was a lot more concerned with me as a person, my family life and everything else, as much as he was about me being a good football player.”
Howell informed Amone that the BYU coaches really liked everything they’d come to learn about him, but wanted him to visit the campus first and perform at camp before they offered. Fortunately, his father was able to secure tickets for Junior Day, and off they went.
They arrived in Provo on Wednesday, and spent the entire day on Thursday taking an unofficial visit of the campus and the football facilities.
“BYU is just a real clean place with a real clean feel to it,” he said. “Almost right when I got there, I had a feeling that it was the place I needed to be. I really loved everything about it, but most of all, I loved how it felt being there.”
Amone and his father weren’t alone in touring BYU, as they were accompanied by another father and son combo.
“Austin Hoyt and his father were there, and we basically did everything with them while we were there,” he said. “We became really good friends, and we talked a lot about committing if we were offered, so when they did offer, it was an easy decision for both of us.”
One of the big reasons for his commitment was the relationship he built with Coach Tidwell, who will be his position coach.
“I absolutely love Coach Tidwell,” he said. “I really grew to like him before Junior Day, but when I was working out with him, going through the drills and all, I could tell that he was exactly the type of coach that I wanted to play for.”
Amone plans to graduate early from high school and enroll at BYU in January. In what is sort of an unusual path for an incoming player, he’ll participate in spring ball, attend summer school and then leave for a mission.
“Coach Mendenhall is checking to see if they can work that out with the players returning home from missions, but he said that I should be okay doing that,” said Amone. “I’m just so excited to have a chance to play for BYU and to attend school there. I really loved being there, and know that it’s the best program for me.”