Defensive lineman JonRyheem Peoples is candid about why he sought and received a release from BYU: head coach Bronco Mendenhall set goals, and he wasn’t able to meet them.
Peoples hails from Rigby, Idaho, where he was ranked as the No. 4 in-state prospect by Scout.com.
He redshirted in 2013, coming to BYU at 360 pounds after having been billed around 300 in high school.
Peoples told The Tribune by phone Wednesday night that Mendenhall and he came to an agreement: He had to trim down to 310 with 25 percent body fat, and he had to maintain a B average. If he didn’t, he wouldn’t have a scholarship in fall 2014. Peoples said he’s currently 332 with 30 percent body fat, and he’s just shy of the GPA mark, so Mendenhall pulled his financial aid.
“If I don’t have a scholarship, I don’t have that money,” Peoples said.
He says BYU has “great coaches, great program,” and that Mendenhall was a man of his word, but that, “Maybe it’s just a sign that maybe BYU wasn’t quite the place for me.”
He was down to 320 at one point, but he says he lost muscle after a tonsillectomy and that when he then returned to the weight room, he packed on the pounds. He believes 320 is his ideal playing weight.
Having only just begun to look around, Peoples expects to pick a school in the next two to three weeks. His father played at Idaho State, and Peoples says their pharmacy program is a draw for his fiancee. Other present options include Weber State and North Dakota.
Peoples wavered in his commitment to BYU out of high school, appearing to give serious consideration to Utah before releasing a video in which he sets fire to a printout of a U. logo.
Mendenhall’s release came with no restrictions, Peoples said, so he’s available if his onetime rivals have no hard feelings and again show interest.
“If Utah wanted to offer me, then they’d probably get me, to be honest,” he said.