Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Kyle Van Noy: The Game Changer

It has been over a month since the Detroit Lions selected Kyle Van Noy in the second round of the NFL draft. That has given Lions fans a fair amount of time to get familiar with Van Noy. The 2014 football season is still three months away, so why not keep learning about Van Noy, both the player and the man? A new book does just that.


From the first day he set foot on BYU's campus in January 2010, Kyle Van Noy was a marked man for two reasons. First, he was a four-star football recruit coming out of high school, and those types don't come around Provo very often. Second, he also had a checkered past that included a well-documented DUI. Those types don't come around Provo very often, either. During his four years at BYU, Van Noy lived up to the hype and expectations on the field, and live down his bad-boy image off the field. Now, a new book captures both sides of the legacy Van Noy left at BYU.

While BYU has been widely recognized over several decades as an offensive powerhouse, it has had its share of great defensive players. None, however, were quite like Van Noy. Guys like Jason Buck, Derwin Gray and Rob Morris made names for themselves as dominant defenders, but they lacked a certain quality that Van Noy possessed: the ability to change a game. When Van Noy made a sack, or interception, or fumble recovery it often had a way of changing the game.

"Kyle Van Noy: The Game Changer" gives a detailed description and analysis of 17 games during Van Noy's Cougar career in which he made a game-changing play. Some plays, like the fumble recovery for a touchdown against Ole Miss in 2011, were game winning plays. Other plays sealed the win, like the fourth-down pass he knocked down with less than 30 seconds to play versus Wyoming his freshman year. There were also momentum-changing plays and tone changing plays. For the last four years, it seemed like Van Noy was the one who rose to the occasion when BYU needed a big play on defense.

That is Part 1 of the book. Part 2 of "Kyle Van Noy: The Game Changer" goes away from the field and examines how BYU was a game-changer for Van Noy in the game of life.

In January, Van Noy wrote an open letter to fans. Part of the letter reads: "I have grown a great deal in the past four years. I have matured as a person. ... This growth is directly attributed to my time at, and the positive influence of, BYU."

For many BYU alumni, it wasn't surprising to read these words from Van Noy because they have already experienced the life-changing effect of BYU first hand. In the case of Van Noy, the effect was more dramatic. He didn't really fit the BYU mold. Come to find out, that didn't matter because BYU doesn't really fit the mold for institutions of higher education.

BYU provided a coaching staff that cared about Van Noy the person more than they did Van Noy the football player. The staff helped him learn to be humble. Being at BYU helped change Van Noy through service opportunities and unique friendships. Playing at BYU put Van Noy in the spotlight where others, especially children, would look up to him as a role model. Van Noy embraced that role and became a better person for it. All this culminated in Van Noy living the school's honor code all four years, which, because of the DUI, was something many people questioned his ability to do when he arrived.

Through interviews with Van Noy's former coaches, teammates and friends, "Kyle Van Noy: The Game Changer" brings to light never-before-heard stories. These include how Van Noy helped BYU win the recruiting war for Fred Warner, how the firing of defensive coordinator Jaime Hill shaped Van Noy's career, and why Van Noy took Cody Hoffman and Ross Apo to a Provo area elementary school. It also has a story that could be the origins of why Van Noy has been wearing that no. 95 jersey at Lions' mini-camps.

The book also includes exclusive insights and commentary about some of BYU's biggest games the last three years from former Cougar football players.

"Kyle Van Noy: The Game Changer" is available as a paperback book or an e-book for Kindle devices and can be found on Amazon.com. For each copy sold, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Holly and Bronco Mendenhall Foundation and International Aid Serving Kids

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at bluecougarfootball@gmail.com

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