Amone receives sudden spike of interest

Phillip Amone

Considered one of the top 15 linebackers in Central Florida, Phillip Amone packs a fearless punch. All one needs to do is look for helmets flying off and bodies hitting the field to know where Amone is among the ruckus. His aggressive style of play is one reason why BYU extended an offer, and another reason why many college recruiters were disappointed following his commitment to the Cougars.

The recruiting aspect of college football is an unpredictable and uncertain game. In an effort to find the best fit for their programs, college coaches sift and comb through high schools throughout the four corners of the nation in search of that star prospect.

Once found, the vetting and weighing-in-the-balance process begins, but waiting too long to extend an offer could result in a missed opportunity to land such a star.

"I know a lot of schools that were close to offering me," Phillip Amone said. "Schools like Indiana, Purdue, Michigan State, Washington State. I had a lot of interest from Miami and they were probably the strongest Florida team that showed the most interest in me.

"I had North Carolina showing a lot of interest and West Virginia that were close. I had a number of schools that were close to offering me, but it just kind of seemed like they were waiting around. I just felt good about it when BYU came through."

College coaches will evaluate a prospect based on characteristics and on-field qualities they feel matter most in terms of potential success. There were two factors that shied college coaches from pulling the trigger soon rather than later when it came to Amone.

"They said a lot of the same stuff that BYU said," Amone said. "They all said they liked my intensity that I play with and my aggressiveness, but I think one of the main problems for a lot of them was my height.

"I'm listed at around 6-foot but really I'm around 5-11 and a half or so. A lot of college coaches were concerned about that, but I couldn't tell you why. I'm still going to play as hard and the same way if I were one or two inches taller."

The other thing that scared off other schools was the fact that Amone plans on serving a mission.

"That was the first thing that I brought up every time," Amone said. "North Carolina was concerned about the mission issue, and pretty much all of them. Boise State and Michigan State were also concerned about the whole mission thing. Pretty much everybody but BYU and Utah.

"I had a couple of coaches say, 'Oh yeah, well, we'll talk about that with the coach,' but that was the biggest thing the whole time. My dad said, 'Well, if you end up going somewhere else and you go on your mission, you just never know if they're going to screw you over when you come back.'"

If Amone had expressed a desire to simply play football rather than leave the sport for two years, he feels his evaluation process would have sped up considerably.

"I think if I had told them I didn't want to serve a mission, a majority of the schools recruiting me would have offered me," he said. "I think we had over 150 coaches from schools come in from all over. Schools from Florida, Alabama, South Carolina and all over, and I talked to all of the coaches that came through our school. When coaches from Iowa, Iowa State came through, that was the first thing I brought up. They all asked me about my plans and I just figured it would be best to get that out there and out of the way and see how it goes."

So, rather than wait around, Amone took matters into his own hands. BYU showed a lot of interest and extended an offer to him, and he quickly accepted it.

"It felt good to go out there [to BYU] and feel wanted," he said. "The others were recruiting me and showing me a lot of interest, but it was kind of shaky and I didn't know if they were just waiting around or if they would ever offer. I wasn't going to wait on them, and so when BYU offered I made my decision."

Following his commitment to BYU, a sudden flood of interest came pouring in.

"Yeah, it's kind of funny because there's been a couple of colleges that came out afterwards," said Amone. "Maryland did that and Iowa State, Iowa and North Carolina [did as well]. Those where the main ones that came out and were surprised that I committed. It was kind of funny, but it's all good.

"North Carolina and Maryland send me some letters about it. I talked to Iowa State and they got in touch with me on Facebook. Then my other offer from FAU [Florida Atlantic University], a coach messaged me on Facebook asking me what was up and saying how he couldn't believe I committed. It's all good though. I was just looking out for what was best for me, knowing they're doing the same, but it's kind of funny how things change once you do commit to someone."

As the old adage goes, "You snooze, you lose."

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