Recruiting can get crazy -- a fact we were all reminded of with the 24-hour JonRyheem Peoples drama this week (item one here). So early this week when I read a story about the Big 33 Classic, an all-star football game between Pennsylvania and Ohio high schoolers, I grew very curious when I saw defensive back Connor Noe listed as a player committed to BYU. He appears on no commitment lists, and Deseret News recruiting guru Brandon Gurney had never heard of him when I asked via tweet.
Instantly, my mind thought of Adam Ah Ching, the 2012 linebacker in South Carolina who seems to like telling stories.
Ah Ching claimed offers from BYU, Utah, Oregon State, UCLA, and Georgia Tech, and also claimed he was recruited by Jerry Sandusky to Penn State 13 years after Sandusky was an employed coach there, a fact denied by his high school athletic director. It remains unclear if any of those schools offered Ah Ching, who appears to remain uncommitted to any school despite seeming in high demand.
Could Noe be like Ah Ching? After all, how could nobody have heard of a BYU commit like Noe who appears in pictures signing a letter of intent? My mind was racing. Remember Kevin Hart, the Nevada high-schooler who held a fake press conference to choose between Cal and Oregon, two offers he never even had? Did BYU have its own Kevin Hart?
Nope. No salacious stories here. Just a humble player from the greater Cincinnati area who will be walking on in the 2012 class. So what's Noe's story?
"I was a baseball player my entire life until my junior year in high school, I picked up football and track," Noe told me via email. "I worked extremely hard and had a great senior season and got noticed a little by some people."
Noe didn't seem to plan on sports in college, he was going to enroll at BYU all the same. But after a strong senior season, his love for football grew. Brian Castner, Noe's high school coach, helped him get in touch with BYU coaches Ben Cahoon and Nick Howell. The 6-2 defensive back took a trip to Provo in April, where coaches liked what they saw on film. "Being so late in the game in terms of recruiting, they didn't have a scholarship -- whether they would've offered or not I'm not positive -- but they are expecting me to come in the fall and play," Noe said.
So what about the picture of him signing a letter of intent? This is curious for a non-scholarship player, which is what helped fuel my original conspiracy-theory train of thought and brought to mind Kevin Hart. Well, it was just Noe's coaches and school being excited for his opportunity.
"My coach was pretty excited about having a player from Cincinnati going out to BYU," said Noe, "so he gave me the opportunity to be a part of the school signing day."
Noe will walk on and play one year before serving an LDS mission. He says BYU coaches have talked of playing him at safety.
We wish the best to Connor Noe, and fans interested can see a highlight video here.