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Recruiters still pursuing Soi

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PROVO — Timpview's BYU-bound defensive tackle Brian Soi may have committed to sign with the Cougars last month, but on the eve of his official campus visit, the 6-foot-2, 300-pound senior says Pac-10 recruiters won't leave him alone.

As late as Monday, an assistant coach from Arizona State showed up at Timpview High School. When Soi's last class ended, the ASU assistant coach wanted Soi to make an official trip to Tempe. Since Soi and teammate Dallas Reynolds committed to Gary Crowton in mid-December, both USC and Oregon coaches have each called Soi at least 20 times, according to the national top 100 prospect.

"They're always calling me, but I either don't pick up the phone or just speak to them for a few minutes," Soi said. On Monday, he visited with the ASU coach for "about two minutes" before leaving.

Soi tripped to USC and Oregon before announcing his decision to sign at BYU. USC defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator Ed Orgeron is the Trojan who most frequently calls Soi. Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti and defensive line coach Steve Greatwood take turns making contact.

"They want me to change my mind," but Soi remains committed to BYU, he declared Wednesday.

"The whole idea of committing early was to take pressure off my senior year and allow me to concentrate on school. Well, it hasn't stopped, but I'll get through it," Soi said.

VISIT LIST: The Cougars' big visit weekend kicks off tonight. Prospects will be attend the BYU-UNLV game. In addition to CNN-SI All-American offensive lineman Ofa Moheatu from Euless, Texas, visitors include Timpview linemen Soi and Reynolds; Granger offensive lineman Jason Speredon; safety Viliami Nauahi and lineman R.J. Willing from Oahu, Hawaii; and Colorado tight end and defensive lineman Brett Denney. All but Moheatu, Willing and Nauahi have committed to sign with the Cougars in February.

HUNTER INTEREST: At tonight's BYU-UNLV game, most eyes will be on Rebel guard Marcus Banks, a candidate for MWC player of the year. But UNLV's other guard, Demetrius Hunter completes the Rebel backcourt, and BYU's Steve Cleveland calls the duo the best in the league. The Cougars recruited Hunter when he announced he'd transfer from Georgetown.

"We had a relationship with him and he knew all about us," Cleveland said. "Hunter wanted to return home to Las Vegas where he could be close to family and friends, and he's having an outstanding career as one of the toughest defenders around."

SHOOTING ROSE: Houston, Texas, sharpshooter Michael Rose is the only high school player BYU signed in the early letter-of-intent period last November. But Rose, nephew of Cougar assistant coach Dave Rose is lighting it up. A 6-foot-2 guard, Michael Rose just finished a holiday tournament where he averaged 27 points in a five-game tournament. He is averaging 51 percent shooting from beyond the arc this year.

In a six-quarter scrimmage involving three teams last fall, Michael Rose hit 14 consecutive 3-point shots and was 14 of 15 against rotating teams going against his squad. "He's a heck of a better shooter than I ever was," said his uncle, who played for the University of Houston and the famed Phi Slamma Jamma squad that lost the NCAA title game to North Carolina State and the late Jim Valvano.

VIDEO EJECT: Crowton has fired BYU video coordinator Chad Bunn, a 22-year employee at the university and former president and co-founder of the Collegiate Sports Video Association.

"He called me in last Thursday and said he wanted to go another direction," Bunn said. "I was devastated but harbor no ill feelings. I'm going to continue doing basketball through March and hope there are some other jobs at the university that can use me." Bunn's duties include gathering game films on opponents and coordinating game tape exchange with teams on BYU's schedule. Bunn said Crowton wanted someone with more computer (digital game film) experience.


E-mail: dharmon@desnews.com