On Tuesday Fred Warner was with his high school team competing in a seven-on-seven tournament.
“It went well and I was just out there doing some footwork and gaining some confidence and making sure I play up on receivers and be physical,” said Warner. “I think our team is going to be good this year and we have my little brother [Troy] running with us on varsity right now. He’s trying to earn a spot.”
Troy is young, but it appears he might be in contention to play on the varsity team with his brother.
“Yeah, he’ll only be a sophomore this year but he’s doing really well,” said older brother. “I'm excited for him.”
As for Fred Warner, he came up to Utah with his mother Laura last week for BYU’s Junior Day. and waiting for son and mother was BYU’s Duane Busby in whom Fred Warner has grown very fond of.
“Oh yeah it was definitely awesome!” said Warner. “When we got down there, [Director of Football Operations] Duane [Busby] met my mother and I and he’s just an amazing person. He took us through everything and made me feel at home like he always does. All of the coaches were really excited to see me.”
Warner got to experience what it will be like to be coached by his future position coach, Kelly Poppinga. It was one reason why he was looking forward to attending BYU’s Junior Day.
“When we competed at the camp, it was great,” Warner said. “Coach Poppinga is really a great coach on top of being a great person. He had a lot of intensity and enthusiasm when he was coaching us, which I really like. I just love him as a coach.
“I know he’s been through everything and that’s a big thing for me. He’s not just a coach and ordering people to do things. He’s been through it all and knows what he’s doing. He really helped me with my technique and I was really excited about it. He knows what you should be able to do and coaches in a way that helps bring that potential out. I was excited to be coached by someone like him, and I'm excited to know that I’ll be coached by him in the future. He’s just a great guy and a great all-around coach.”
Warner got a chance to see some of BYU’s other recruits in action, including one from Vista Murrieta High School.
“I didn’t see a lot of people on offense because of what we were doing, but one guy that really stood out to me was Tyler Cook and he’s a really good player,” said Warner. “He’s just a great athlete and he showed it during the camp. It would be really tough for offenses if he was playing on the other side of me at BYU. It would be really tough trying to stop us on BYU’s defense.
He also caught a glimpse of future BYU cornerback Dayan Lake.
“I also saw the sophomore commit from Utah and he was out there,” Warner said. “He plays cornerback and he was doing really well. He’s pretty fast and a very good prospect. He has a lot of potential as far as what he can be. If he continues to work hard he should be a pretty special player.”
Junior Day experiences are always filled with various activities such as camp drills and campus tours. However, for Warner, the best part was simply being with the coaches and some of the current and past players.
“Oh man, [my favorite part was] probably just being reunited with all the coaches and stuff and seeing some of the players too like Preston Hadley and Spencer Hadley,” Warner said. “That was a fun time. It was just great being on campus and taking everything in and seeing everybody. I just like being out there because BYU really is a special place.”
The overall experience served to strengthen Warner’s commitment to BYU.
“Being there at BYU really assured me why I made my decision to commit to BYU in the first place,” said Warner. “It just confirmed to me why I made my decision. It really is a special place and it was just fun. I got that feeling that BYU is a special place. I got that spiritual feeling and just look forward to playing there.”
The visit out to BYU also reassured his mother Laura that BYU is the right place for her son.
“She went to school at BYU for a little bit and she loved going back for a visit,” said Warner. “Duane showed us everything and he showed her around as well, so she got to see everything. He’s a stud. I love Duane. She really wants me to go there in the first place, and so when she came with me out there to Junior Day it just reassured her why she wanted me to go there. She just loves it there. It’s pretty cool that I’ll be able to go to the same college she went to.”
Warner and his mother also spent some time talking with Coach Mendenhall.
“We had a talk at the beginning of everything and then one at the end. It was a good experience for me and my mom as well. My mom thought that Coach Mendenhall was very intellectual when he spoke. She really liked what he was saying because it combined the spiritual aspects as well as the influence of the Church. He said things that really reassured her that BYU is the perfect place for me.”
Since committing to BYU, Warner has received quite a few offers. Cal soon offered him, followed by Arizona and Arizona State. It wasn’t long until Utah offered, along with Washington State. Last week USC extended Warner an offer prior to him attending BYU’s Junior Day.
“I thought it was pretty crazy at first because I hadn’t really had a lot of contact with USC,” said Warner. “They just came out to one of our spring practices like a month or two ago, so when a USC coach called me up, Coach Summers, he said that the coaching staff sat down and watched my film they took of that spring practice and my junior season. He told me that I was a great athlete and stuff like that and that they needed to offer me. It was pretty crazy because it was USC, which is a big school for one, and then second, I hadn’t really spoken to them a lot.”
After receiving the offer from USC, Warner was gracious.
“I just said thank you and I’ll just keep working hard and things like that,” Warner said with a chuckle. “That’s about it really.”
While at BYU, Warner spoke to the coaches about his recent recruiting activity.
“The coaches know that I have a lot more offers now, so they were making sure that I knew where I should be and that they want me there,” said Warner. “They’re just a great coaching staff.”
Warner reassured the coaches about his commitment to BYU.
“What I said to them was I really don’t think I'm going to feel as wanted by other colleges,” said Warner. “I told them that I really do feel loved by the coaches at BYU and that it’s a place where I best fit in. That’s pretty much what I said.”
With all the exciting opponents on BYU’s future schedules, Warner loves how BYU is becoming a team that plays a national schedule.
“I just think it’s amazing how BYU is independent because we get to go play big-time programs all over the country like Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Texas and schools like that,” Warner said. “People say BYU plays smaller schools like San Diego State, but I educate them that BYU plays big-time programs and all they need to do is turn the TV on and watch the schools they play on Saturday.”
Even though Warner is now a highly recruited athlete with many quality programs to choose from, he’s still a solid BYU commit.
“Yeah, I'm pretty excited about it, and I just was to reassure BYU fans that BYU is a special place,” Warner said. “I'm going to come out there and dominate as an outside linebacker. They shouldn’t be worried at all. BYU is the place for me.”