The still-untold story of former Cougar Brian McDonald

George Frey

Football, Injury, Conversion, Missionary Work, and Life.

For some reason, I have always remembered Brian McDonald.

The Cerritos JC talent played two years with the Cougars (2000 and 2001) and quietly sailed into the real world and out of the public spotlight. My memories of McDonald, then McDonald-Ashford, revolve around his role in the great comeback against Virginia in 2000 and his efforts against Tulane and Cal during the magical 2001 season.

McDonald was the primary backup to Luke Staley on that 2001 squad, and were it not for Brian's career-ending knee injury against Utah State, perhaps he would have made a more indelible imprint on the BYU fanbase as a whole. Translation: Brian could have helped the offense a little more than Ned Stearns once Staley went down with injury. (No offense intended, I love you Ned.)

So, why am I writing about Brian McDonald? This is a man who accounted for just 741 yards of rushing during his two seasons in Provo. I stumbled upon this video of McDonald opining on the Honor Code. He explains how it shaped his time at BYU and was the means for real character change as he grew into adulthood.

McDonald relates of his conversion to the LDS Church and his subsequent service as a full-time missionary. The conversion of all-time BYU great Curtis Brown is well known -- as is the story of Jamal Willis. While this clip only briefly mentions McDonald's path, it sure opened my eyes to a story I am ashamed I did not know about until today. I know I would like to know more about his experience. The true purpose of BYU Athletics on display.

The short clip is worth your time.

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