It would be easy to assume that Brigham Young University, a Mormon institution, might be getting a little help from a higher power while on the recruiting trail. You know, kinda like those who say they can hear the rosary beads clicking in the stands when the Notre Dame football team gets into crunch time in a game.
But apparently, Arizona State University is countering with its own star power.
While Danny White is a mere mortal, his exploits in the game of football are near-legendary. He took over the starting quarterback role midway through his sophomore season at ASU and finished out his career in Tempe with 6,717 passing yards and three Fiesta Bowl wins. Along the way he set seven NCAA passing records.
Besides having his jersey retired, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame, the State of Arizona Sports Hall of Fame and the ASU Athletics Hall of Fame. In 2000, he was named Arizona Athlete of the Century by The Arizona Republic.
He gained even more fame professionally as a quarterback for the NFL Dallas Cowboys, throwing for 21,959 yards and 155 touchdowns in his 12 years in Dallas. He was a Pro Bowler who led the Cowboys to three straight NFC championship games and broke several team records, including most yards and touchdown passes in a single season. After he retired, he spent another 12 years as head coach of the Arizona Rattlers, leading them to a pair of Arena Bowl championships and, after another 11 years coaching the Utah Blaze, was inducted into the Arena Football League Hall of Fame.
So, when Danny White speaks, young football players usually listen. And ASU head coach Herm Edwards hopes one of those youngsters, Jacob Conover, took away something positive about the Sun Devil program during a recent chat with the famous ASU alumnus.
An Arizona Republic article by Richard Obert disclosed that White, who is serving as a ‘consultant’ for his alma mater’s football program, got a chance to chat with Conover before the Chandler High School junior makes his final selection on a college program in what appears to be a down-to-the wire contest between ASU and BYU.
White is in a perfect position to relate to the youngster, a four-star prospect who led Chandler to back-to-back state titles, since he is a local product from Mesa’s Westwood High who, like Conover, is a Mormon and also had to choose between starting his college career upon graduation or going on a two-year church mission.
According to White, he just told the youngster to look to God to help make the right choice. But the fact that such a prominent figure in both his church and his sport was representing ASU can only help Edwards with his pitch.
Conover wants to make his decision before his senior year begins, even though he played in just 10 games this past season. After getting injured in the second game on the schedule, he didn’t have a full complement of games to build his stats. Nonetheless, he still threw for more than 3,000 yards and completed 66 percent of his passes. Numbers good enough to reinforce his stature as a top national prospect.
He wrapped up his junior year by leading the Wolves to a 55-20 win over Miami Northwestern in the Dec. 23 Geico State Champions Bowl Series, a post-season event featuring state champions from four different states. He threw for 341 yards and five touchdowns.
BYU has made his decision even more difficult by signing up one of his teammates. Gunner Romney, a four-star wide receiver on the Chandler squad, is a senior who will be playing for the Cougars in the fall. This past season he had 80 receptions for 1,554 yards and 19 touchdowns — and would no doubt welcome the opportunity to be playing again with the guy that got him the ball to enable him to build an impressive stat sheet.
Conover, who says he could make up his mind as early as next month, will be making an official visit to ASU in a couple of weeks, and follow that up with a visit to Provo.
It’s probably safe to assume that Danny White will be available during the tour for a follow-up discussion.