Release from BYU clears way for Logan LB Chasen Andersen to join dad at Wisconsin
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As you've undoubtedly read or seen by now, BYU had three rather significant announcements at its third-annual Football Media Day today at the BYU Broadcast Building on campus. 1) Coach Bronco Mendenhall signed a three-year contract extension which keeps him at BYU through the 2016 season. 2) BYU and USC have agreed to a three-game series, with the first game in 2019 in Provo and the second and third games in Los Angeles. 3) BYU has accepted an invitation to play in the Poinsettia Bowl in San Diego in 2015 and one more year before 2020. You can read my recap of those three announcements here, and Tribune columnist Kurt Kragthorpe's take on Mendenhall's extension here. Bronco talked candidly to print reporters after the announcement about the process he went through to determine if he wanted to coach at BYU beyond his current deal's expiration date (Dec. 31, 2013). Obviously, there was much more news Wednesday than just those three announcements. For instance, Mendenhall confirmed rumors that at least one high school player who signed with BYU back in February won't be enrolling at the school. Chasen Andersen, the linebacker from Logan High who is the son of former Utah State and current Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen, was granted a release from his Letter of Intent by Mendenhall and plans to eventually play for his father at Wisconsin. "He will not be coming to BYU. It is a pretty simple matter," Mendenhall said. "There are two contributing factors: He played in an all-star game and realized his knee wasn't ready to play. And then also, considering and getting a taste of what the BYU experience was going to be, with his lifestyle and standards, he realized it probably wasn't going to be the best fit for him, which is great. So he talked to his dad, and the intent will be for him to play for his dad at Wisconsin. Which is a great thing. What I respect about Chasen is that he was just really honest. And so even in the recruiting process, we try to give as clear an idea of what it is going to be like. That's different than actually living it. So Chasen had a taste of it, and the combination between his knee needing more time, and realizing during that time that he might rather be with his father [he left]. And that's OK." Andersen has not returned several telephone calls seeking comment. Mendenhall said the decision to grant the release was a no-brainer. "Oh yeah, instantly," he said, when asked if he gave Andersen the release. "There will rarely be a case for me that if someone wants a release from BYU that I wouldn't grant it. This is about college kids. Yeah, you can teach principle in saying they need to have accountability. But in my opinion, BYU is already a unique place. I want kids to be happy here, and kids that want to be here. So it didn't make any other sense than to support him."Mendenhall said Andersen will greyshirt at Wisconsin this fall and enroll in January of 2014."I feel like I made a really good decision," the coach said. "I appreciated his honesty ahead of time. He's a great kid, and he's honest and he's straight-forward and I think he saved us both. I think he is allowing himself to have a better experience than he would have had. Which is great."———————————- Mendenhall gave an interesting answer when I asked if he can use Andersen's vacated scholarship on someone else."I can replace it, but it doesn't make any sense to replace it right now. We will just hold it over for next year, because we have so many missionaries that are coming back, we only have four scholarships right now for next year's class. When you consider how that works, when an entire class goes [on missions], there are advantages and disadvantages. So these next three years for us are basically like that, so in Chasen's case, this gives us a chance to manage that a little bit better. What it really means is that when you send out missionaries, you better be really [eager] to get them back as players, because it limits your choices. But if they go first — and now the majority of kids will go first — just sending them off and hoping they develop as a player, that can't be the case anymore. They have to be really good, before they go — I am talking football-wise."The coach said Andersen is the only no-show so far among players who are on scholarship, or will be. He said junior college transfers OL Edward Fusi, DB Robertson Daniel and DL Kalolu Utu are all enrolled in summer school at their respective junior colleges and will need to pass to be eligible to suit up for the Cougars. "Which means they will come into camp, and you won't see their transcripts yet, and they will practice 14 days, and hopefully they will all be [eligible]. But I don't see any other issues that could be newsworthy."