Ross Apo was a wanted man. Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Cal, Kansas State, BYU, and Tulsa all wanted him. Most importantly, the marquee team in his home state wanted him—the Texas Longhorns.
Two years ago, Apo was a four star high school football prospect. He was considered by Scout.com to be the 14th best wide receiver in the entire country.
Apo told Texas head coach Mack Brown that he would sign a letter of intent to play college football at Texas. He also told Jake Heaps. Heaps didn’t receive the news as well as Brown. In the end, Heaps won. He and Apo became BYU Cougars in 2010.
This Saturday, BYU and Texas will cross paths. Apo will have an up close look at what might have been. Was he right or wrong to choose BYU?
The Texas Path
Even without Apo, Texas signed six wide receivers in 2010. Right from the start, Apo would have been “just another face in the crowd.” A rather distinguished crowd, for that matter. Two of those receivers were considered better than Apo. Mike Davis and Darius White were rated the third and sixth best wide receivers, respectively, coming out of high school that year. A third receiver, Chris Jones (rated #18), was on par with Apo.
Apo would have stiff competition from his own recruiting class, to say nothing about the established upperclassmen, if he was going to play. That probably wouldn’t have happened last year. Davis proved to be the real deal and was the team’s second leading receiver last year with 47 receptions for 478 yards and two touchdowns. White logged one reception for five yards. Jones redshirted.
Earlier this year, Texas signed three more wide receivers, one of which was Jaxon Shipley—the sixth best wide receiver in the nation. Shipley played in the season opener against Rice and caught two passes for 54 yards and one touchdown. Davis and White caught passes as well. Jones did not.
The BYU Path
Apo was the only wide receiver signed by BYU in 2010. BYU signed zero receivers in 2011. No receivers came home from a mission, either.
Apo played in the very first game of his college career that he was eligible against Washington. An unfortunate injury to his hand during practice the next week forced Apo to redshirt the 2010 season.
Healthy again in 2011, Apo took the field in the season opener. He led the team in receiving yards and scored the Cougars’ only offensive touchdown.
BYU or Texas?
Apo is already making an impact at BYU. The starting quarterback loves him. Apo will play a role in the offense as long as he is a Cougar. BYU values him and is depending on him.
As a Longhorn, Apo is probably just like Jones. Jones is still looking for his first catch. Jones is dispensable. After waiting a year for a chance to play, Jones was forced to watch a guy a year younger than him come in and play right away. That probably won’t be the last time that happens. Texas has two more top 10 wide receivers committed for 2012, and is actively recruiting a third.
Two years later, the answer appears clear cut: BYU.
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