During the month of June BYU held its Junior Day, during which many recruits performed in hopes they would be counted among those offered a scholarship. Although already committed, Dayan Lake was in attendance.
“I suited up on Junior Day and I think I did really well and Coach Mendenhall came up to me and told me I was looking a lot better than last year,” said Lake. “I got a lot of reps too because they split the corners up, so it was just me and two other kids that they were looking at too. So, we got a lot of reps and just kept going despite being tired.”
Along with his mother Jenny, Dayan toured the campus and got a first-hand look at campus life and the facilities.
“I went my freshman year too, but this year it was a lot different because we toured the campus in golf carts,” Lake said. “We got to know where the student section was, where you take your classes and where you take your tests and things like that. I was touring the campus with another recruit – Fred Warner from California – who was with me.
“It was really cool because I got a chance to tour the campus with my mom, and she really liked it because she got to see the campus and all the facilities. Now she knows more about the classes that I could take and how they help out the student athletes with their schoolwork at the Student Athletic Building and things like that. She feels a lot better about that, knowing that they help out the student athletes even though you’re doing football and going to practice and things like that.”
“It was just wonderful being over there and so much fun,” said Jenny. “It was just really neat seeing everything and I'm so excited for Dayan. This is just a great opportunity for him.”
After visiting BYU’s Junior Day, Lake also attended a Nike camp held on the campus of Oregon later in the month.
“It was fun being out there and there were a ton of kids there like Osa Masina and Kavika Fonua, and it was just fun and there was a lot of competition there,” said Lake. “It was fun and the coaches go fast-paced and stuff, and I learned a lot of drills that I use now when I practice.”
In between drills at the Nike camp, Lake was approached by the camp officials.
“The coaches came up and talked to me and wrote my name down and were asking me where I was from and all that,” said Lake. “Some of the coaches said I was doing good in the drills and things like that. I came back from Oregon’s camp and I got a letter about a week later. I'm not sure what it said because I didn’t really read it.”
While in Eugene, Lake had the chance to walk around the University of Oregon’s campus and get a sense of the environment. So, what would Lake think if he later received an offer from the University of Oregon?
“I don’t think I would go there even though they’ve got cool stuff,” he said. “I mean, they get cool uniforms every year, but I'm not playing for Nike or a different colored uniform every year. I want to play for something bigger and more important, and that’s what playing for BYU is all about. I’ve had kids ask me, ‘Why don’t you play for a bigger school?’ or things like, ‘What if Oregon offers you? Why wouldn’t you want to go play there?’ I'm always like, ‘No’ and they’re like, ‘Why not?’ I just tell them, ‘Because Oregon is not the same as BYU.’
“All the schools that I’ve been to aren’t the same as BYU. The campus and the environment at BYU is such a different feeling and the types of people that attend other schools are different. It’s just a different feeling. Like when I was walking around Oregon’s campus … I don’t even know how to explain Oregon. There were a lot of weird people walking around Oregon’s campus and I thought, ‘Am I even supposed to be here?’ I’ve never seen people like that. Like, when you walk around BYU’s campus, everyone is always smiling, saying hi and waiving and friendly and it’s just a different feeling. At Oregon, everyone is just staring at you like you’re a stranger and looking at you in not a very friendly way. It’s just two completely different places.”
Lake also took a tour of Eugene to see what the local town was like.
“Driving around their campus, it just wasn’t the same as driving around BYU either,” Lake said. “The town around the campus was really old, like in the olden days. Everything was really old and rundown, and then you have the University of Oregon right in the middle of it. You have people on the street corners playing beer pong where they throw a ping pong in a cup for beer and things like that. It was just weird being out there.”
However, the biggest surprise came when Lake drove through Portland.
“Me and my uncle, who was the one that took me out there, stopped in Portland, and they were having an annual naked bike race out there,” Lake said. “It’s just weird being out there. Seeing all these naked people riding bikes through town like it was an accomplishment was just strange to me. I just don’t know if I fit in at a place like that.”
While attending the Oregon Nike camp Lake didn’t participate in the S.P.A.R.Q. event like fellow teammate Kavika Fonua, who scored a 123.3 which is ranked among the highest nationally.
“I only participated in one of the events [the seven-on-seven] and didn’t do the S.P.A.R.Q.,” said Lake. “Kavika Fonua did and he did really well. He was one point behind what Reggie Bush got when he did the S.P.A.R.Q. test, which is crazy. I talked to him after he got the offer from BYU. Then about a week later Utah offered him.”
Lake has spoken to Fonua about playing together at the next level.
“I talk to him about going to BYU and he seems very positive about it,” said Lake. “Right now he likes it better than Utah because he has a brother in law or something like that up there. He seems very positive about BYU.”
Although the 6-foot, 185-pound junior-to-be has verbally committed to BYU, Lake receives mail from quite a few college programs inviting him out to attend their campuses for various camps and Junior Day activities.
“Utah has always been sending me a bunch of letters, and I don’t know why they just keep sending me the same one over and over, but they do,” said Lake. “I have letters from Oregon, Utah, Duke, Vanderbilt, Colorado and some other ones. Vanderbilt also sends me the same letter over and over again. It just gets to the point to where I don’t even read them.”
As for next season, the coaches of Northridge High School have asked Lake to step up and take on more of a leadership role on the team now that many seniors have graduated.
“My coaches were asking me this year if I would like to play free safety, because that’s a position that I started out playing this year but was moved to corner after Dallin Isaacson moved from corner to linebacker,” Lake said. “That’s when they put me at corner, so they were asking me if I wanted to play free safety alongside Kavika Fonua because he’s such a great safety. They think I could be a good safety who roams north and south to make plays, because they think teams will throw away from me if I play corner. I like playing corner, and that’s my favorite position because I like locking down receivers and getting picks and all that, but I’ve been doing really well at free safety in our scrimmages and got a couple of picks there as well.
“I'm playing running back on offense and our fullback is Akeem McDaniel, so we’ve been doing pretty good on our offense in our running game. I’ll be going both ways on offense and defense now, but BYU just wants me to play corner when I get up there. That’s what Coach Howell always has me at when I go up there for camps and that’s what he coaches me at when I'm up there. I can’t wait to get up to BYU after high school and play some college ball.”