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Bodie to BYU: Bodie Schoonover signs with the Cougars after strongly considering UCLA

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Bodie Schoonover poses for photos after announcing that he will sign with BYU for football during signing day at American Fork High School in American Fork on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

AMERICAN FORK — The Schoonover family has a unique and strong connection to BYU’s LaVell Edwards Stadium, a connection Bodie Schoonover will work to enhance after signing on to play with the football program on Wednesday.

Bodie is a 6-foot-4, 220-pound linebacker prospect from American Fork who will likely take the field for BYU almost 30 years after the foundation of his adoptive family first began.

The year was 1992 and Bodie’s father, John Schoonover, was looking for a special place to pop the ultimate question to his now wife, Sidnie Schoonover. For John Schoonover, LaVell Edwards Stadium was really the only place that made sense.

So, the couple endeavored to sneak into was was then called Cougar Stadium late at night, proceed to the 50-yard line, where John asked for Sidnie’s hand in marriage.

“I was a lot skinnier back then, so yeah, we were able to sneak our way through the bars,” John Schoonover recalled.

Several years later, the Schoonovers adopted their third child, Bodie, and according to mom, knew almost immediately he would develop into an athlete.

“I always tell it, but seriously, he already had abs as a 2-year-old,” Sidnie Schoonover said. “He looked like an athlete even when he was that age, so yeah, we’ve always known he had a good chance to become a great athlete.”

Bodie Schoonover took to football early, beginning play in the fourth grade and quickly validated his mother’s prediction of developing into a standout athlete. As could well be imagined, both parents had one school in mind when thoughts came that Bodie could very well progress into a collegiate athlete.

“It’s obviously been BYU for us throughout. We’ve remained huge fans,” John Schoonover said. “So yeah, we always envisioned and hoped he would have the opportunity to play football for the school we both love, although wanting what was best for him was the first priority.”

Turns out, Bodie Schoonover was right on board with his parents throughout his recruiting process, and several years before that.

“I never really thought like I was decommitted. I didn’t ever rule BYU out. BYU was always the choice for me.” — Bodie Schoonover

Bodie Schoonover has fond memories of attending BYU games with his family since he was 6 years old, with his connection to the program increasing throughout his childhood, up to the point when Cougar coaches offered him a scholarship. Bodie Schoonover immediately jumped on the offer — committing clear back in the summer of 2018, although certain things came into play, making his original decision a bit tougher.

According to John Schoonover, his son would ignore almost every message sent him from coaches from programs other than BYU, but personally pushed him to explore all his opportunities.

“Really the only reason he looked at UCLA, or any other school, was because I pushed him to do so,” John Schoonover aid. “He needed to make the best decision for him, not what he felt was the best decision for us, as his parents.”

So Bodie Schoonover did put other schools in play, although UCLA was really the only other school he strongly considered.

“Right when I got there and looked around it just felt good,” Bodie Schoonover said of taking a visit to the UCLA program. “I felt like I could probably go (there).”

A lot of the connection to UCLA was due to the program’s outside linebackers coach, Jason Kaufusi, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ Latter-day Saints like the Schoonover family, who was a graduate assistant coach at BYU. All of it led to Bodie Schoonover informing Cougar coaches right before the December signing period of his decision to hold off signing until fully considering all his offers.

But although UCLA received strong consideration, BYU was always the program foremost in his thoughts.

“I never really thought like I was decommitted,” Bodie Schoonover said. “I didn’t ever rule BYU out. BYU was always the choice for me.”

Bodie Schoonover plans to serve a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints prior to enrolling at BYU, where he’ll most likely play at either outside linebacker or defensive end. For his parents, it’s a dream come true for them, although the bigger dream involves Bodie Schoonover following the path that’s best for him, personally.

“We’re just really proud of the decisions he’s made and it really has been a dream of ours, as his parents, but also a dream of his to play for BYU,” John Schoonover said. “He’s a special kid on and off the field. We’ve been so blessed to have him as our child and today is definitely a happy day for us.”