After playing on both sides of the ball at BYU as a linebacker and fullback, Iona Pritchard left to serve a two-year LDS mission. Baker Pritchard
, who will be a junior at Bingham High School this coming year, recently had a chance to talk to his older brother during Mother's Day to get an update on missionary life in the Marshall Islands.
"He said he had his first baptism and he was really happy about that, so he's doing good out there," said Pritchard about his missionary brother. "He said the language barrier and serving among the people out there, seeing how they live out and how different it is from how we live here in the United States, has really he made him more humble. He said he's become more closer to the spirit."
The Pritchards are a close family and are very supportive of each other. Prior to leaving BYU to serve his mission, Iona often spoke to his younger brother Baker about life as a football player at BYU.
"My brother Iona told me that BYU is a great school to go to," Pritchard said. "BYU is already one of the top schools in the country, but it's only a matter of time before it becomes more recognized for its football program across the nation.
"One thing my older brother Iona told me was about the tradition at BYU. He told me about the program and how there are a lot of [Polynesians] there and no matter if you're white, black or Polynesian, they're all like brothers in a family on the team there. He said there are no outsiders there, and said when he first came to BYU as a freshman he was treated like he had already been there for a long time. When the time comes it will just be a decision that me and my family will make on where I should go."
Pritchard's head coach Dave Peck recently shared with him some interesting recruiting news.
"Coach Peck told me that I've been getting a lot of attention from both BYU and Utah," said Pritchard. "He said that he would not be surprised to see me get offers from both of those schools before the season starts. It's always good news to hear that there are people and colleges out there that want you to come to their school to play football and get an education for free."
In the meantime the hope continues and the waiting game begins. Pritchard is excited about the potentials offers headed his way, including one in particular.
"Personally yeah, I'm excited and hoping that BYU does offer me because it would give me a chance to play with my older brother," said Pritchard. "So it's very exciting to know that I might have a chance to go to the next level and play with my older brother if BYU offers me a scholarship."
Last season Pritchard spent a lot of time working out at SPARQ, and this year hasn't been any different.
"I'm just getting myself ready for the BYU summer camp, and getting myself ready for the next season," said Pritchard. "Right now I'm 6'3", 250 pounds and the forty time I ran at SPARQ two weeks ago was a 4.8, and my pro shuttle was a 4.41. My bench right now is 300 pounds and my squat is 425. My vertical is 30 inches and my power clean is 255."
As an upcoming junior, Pritchard already has good size. His pro shuttle time at SPARQ also shows he's very quick for his size, and because he possesses both qualities, Coach Peck is looking to utilize those physical skills at multiple positions if possible.
"For this up-and-coming season, Coach Peck has me listed as our Sam linebacker right now," Pritchard said. "He said he wanted to put me in at defensive end for teams that run a spread and pass a lot so I can provide more pressure from the outside. Then he said he wanted me to play Sam linebacker when we play against teams that play smash-mouth football and run a lot. I also think I may be getting time at fullback also. Last year they gave me a shot at playing fullback and I liked it."
In a recent interview with Bingham High School running back Harvey Langi, he mentioned that Pritchard would just focus on playing on the defensive side of the ball this coming season. And while the Miner coaching staff doesn't want to overload Pritchard, there is still nevertheless a chance he may see some time on offense.
"Coach Lamborn talked to me about [playing offense] too," Pritchard said. "He told me that if I can get my defensive schemes down then he'd try and bring me over to offense and let me play both ways. Me and Manoa Pikula will probably get that chance if we can get our defensive schemes down. I would love to block for Harvey."
Over the summer Pritchard will be making his way to the Cougar campus a few times.
"Yeah, I'll be attending BYU's Junior Day next month and I'm excited about that," Pritchard said. "Then a few weeks after that I'll be attending their padded summer camp."
While he waits for offers to come in, Pritchard has several things in mind when evaluating what school would be right for him.
"Well, I'm kind of looking for the same things my older brother was looking for," said Pritchard. "I want to look at the academics of the school and at the quality of the football program. My brother told me that Bronco Mendenhall's mentality on how football should relate to life is what we are taught by Coach Peck. I would play for BYU because their football program is very similar to our program at Bingham High School."
A multipurpose athlete at Bingham High School could be among some of the top instate junior prospects next year. Baker Pritchard is both big and quick for his size and age, and that's something that has already gotten the attention of a few top instate colleges that are positioning themselves for a recruiting run.