Sean Fitzgerald is a 6’4”, 185-pound receiver with 4.6 speed. At that height with a last name like Fitzgerald, it seems like Notre Dame should be the school showing interest given the tall, fast receivers on their roster like Jeff Samardzija. However, this Fitzgerald is LDS and plans on serving a full-time mission for his church.
“I’m not 18 yet,” said Fitgerald. “I’ll be 19 after my freshman year, so I’m going to go to college and probably be a greyshirt for those first two semesters. Then I’ll go on my mission when I turn 19 so I can have five years of football ahead of me and not all spread out by playing, leaving and then having to redshirt.”
Serving a mission is a big priority for Fitzgerald, who is excited about the schools recruiting him. He currently has two offers and neither school has a problem with him serving a mission. He also likes UCLA for this reason as well.
“I’ve gotten a couple of offers from schools,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ve gotten a couple of offers from top schools like the U of U and BYU. BYU offered me and that was great and really exciting for me. That was sweet and I was stoked about that. The U of U and BYU are my top schools and UCLA is another one of the schools that I really like. I’ve been talking to their coaches quite a bit and really like them. They haven’t offered me but they’re still talking to me and they came down to my school. They’ve been keeping in contact with me.
“That was the big thing if a school was going to let me serve my mission. There aren’t many schools that are into that, but the University of Utah was and BYU is of course and UCLA is fine with me serving a mission. That’s what I really like about them too.”
In regards to BYU, Fitzgerald believes that attending a university sponsored by his church would be help him prepare for his two year duty as a missionary.
“For this first year before I go on my mission, I think BYU would be a great place to go because it would help prepare me for my mission,” Fitzgerald said. “I won’t be playing football and I would love to go to BYU because of all the great things they have going on there with institute and the great stuff. As far as football goes, I like having a good football program, which both BYU and Utah have, but the education, which BYU is kind of better at, has kind of more of the LDS atmosphere. That’s what people in my ward have been telling me. They haven’t been telling me to go to BYU, but they’ve been telling me the difference. A lot of people in my ward went to BYU and they say, ‘Well, you’re going to go on a mission and you want to look for a wife—BYU is the place.’ Just stuff like that and just the whole atmosphere and the kinds of people you’re going to meet and be surrounded by. It’s just going to help you with the gospel better.”
With this so much to attract him to BYU, is Fitzgerald going to commit to BYU anytime soon?
“Well not yet,” Fitzgerald said. “It’s a big decision and I’m going to trip to both schools and everything. I really like BYU, but I also like Utah. It’s tough to say because I like both schools. I like Coach Roderick and how he has recruited me and treated me. I just really have respect for Utah and that school. I know they also have a really good football program.
“It’s a win-win situation with either school. There are great things with either school. It’s just kind of the one the Lord thinks I should go to. It’s a big decision that I need to pray about to see. I could rationalize in my head which school I want to go to, but it’s a more important decision where I just kind of need to have the Lord’s help with this one. So I’m just going to take the trips and see how it goes and hopefully then I’ll know where I need to go.”
Fitzgerald has an idea about what he wants to study but is not close to a firm decision.
“I kind of like business and they both have good business programs,” Fitzgerald said. “I’m thinking of majoring in business but I’m not too sure about that. I would have to look into it but it would probably be business or something.”
Coming from a high school powerhouse, Fitzgerald has gained recognition for his performances on the football field by the local media of Orange County, California.
“We just finished,” Fitzgerald said. “It a pretty big time football school. We’ve been known to have really good teams. We’ve been ranked like first in the state the last couple of years and second in the nation. We had a good season going on this year but we kind of lost the semi-final game in the CIF playoffs to Hart High School. It was pretty bad and not fun at all.
“I don’t know exactly my stats from the year actually. I had 11 touchdowns, but as far as catches and yards I’m not too certain about that. I would say I had around 40 catches or something like that, but as far as yards I have no idea.
“I got First Team All-League for the South Coast League,” Fitzgerald said. “I got First Team All-CIF and that’s pretty much all I know right now. I find out later if I was All-County later this month. I probably didn’t get All-State though but those things come out later this month.”
Fitzgerald’s grades and test scores are easily high enough to qualify him to play Division I sports.
“I scored a 24 on it which I guess is good,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ve got a 3.65 GPA. It’s pretty hard to get into BYU. You have to have really good grades and a good score. I have to apply for that first year because I’m not going to be playing football.
“I’m taking a trip to BYU on the 13th of January and then I’m taking a trip to Utah the following weekend on the 20th.”
Former BYU receiver and current Utah coach Aaron Roderick has been recruiting Fitzgerald. “He kind of just gave that peace of advice to me and just kind of told me that it works out a lot better that way for people who do that,” said Fitzgerald.
Coach Patrick Higgins id recruiting Fitzgerald for BYU.
“I like Coach Higgins,” said Fitzgerald. “I don’t him that well but he is a really nice guy, a great guy. As far as coaching goes, I would like to be coached by him. I’ve been coached by him before when I went up to BYU’s camp during the summer. I just ran some routes and caught the ball and he was kind of coaching me. He was telling me some stuff and as far as football wise he seemed like a really good coach who is really easy to get along with. He just seemed like an all around cool guy. You can tell he is really a smart guy.”
Fitzgerald has seen Coach Mendenhall from afar and has briefly spoken to the new head coach.
“He’s a really friendly guy,” Fitzgerald said. “He’s younger though but I thought he was a really nice guy, and he’s very blunt and straight foreword. I haven’t been to any of the BYU games this year unfortunately, but from what I saw of him I like him and think he is a very respectable man. He’s very respected by his coaching staff and his players too.”