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Former Bountiful High, BYU standout Brady Christensen is ready for the NFL

DAVIS COUNTY — It was the last week of recruiting before National Signing Day when Bountiful High School’s head football coach Larry Wall picked up the phone. On the other end was then-BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall. Wall, one of the most successful high school coaches in the state with four state championships and six region championships under his belt, had a record of producing college-bound players. Mendenhall was curious if he had players that perhaps had gone under the radar during the recruiting cycle.

One name came to Wall’s mind: Brady Christensen.

While he had earned all-state and all-region honors in his senior season with the Braves, Christensen wasn’t heavily recruited. On his final list of schools were Weber State, Southern Utah and Air Force. Division 1 offers were few and far between. Wall invited Mendenhall to send an assistant to come watch Christensen work out that morning. The assistant came, watched Christensen show off exceptional footwork and agility for a big man, asked Wall a few questions, and took time to visit with the prospect.

The scholarship offer arrived later that afternoon.

That was 2015. Fast forward to now and a lot has changed. Wall has since retired, hanging up the clipboard in 2016 with an all-time record of 238-116 over 31 years of coaching at Bountiful. The stadium at the school is now named after him. Mendenhall left BYU and took the top job at Virginia. Kalani Sitake had replaced him as the Cougars’ head coach.

Things have also changed a lot for Christensen as well. He served a mission in New Zealand, got married, and wrapped up a solid career playing for the Cougars. Oh yeah, he’s also gained 60-plus pounds of muscle, grown 2-3 inches, been named a first-team All-American, and has skyrocketed up draft boards across the NFL.

https://twitter.com/BYUfootball/status/1347356205262495749

Some mock drafts project the left tackle going in the later part of the first round. The consensus is that Christensen is more than likely a top-100 pick.

“I do see stuff on Twitter and whatnot, but I try to ignore it because it’s really out of my control,” Christensen said with a laugh when asked if he’s keeping an eye on mock drafts. “I have no idea where I’m going to go. I just got to work hard and try to get drafted as high as possible.”

Christensen doesn’t have a preference where he plays to start his NFL career. He grew up a fan of the Tennessee Titans after receiving an Eddie George jersey as a gift from his older brother. Although he admires their powerful running game, led by NFL rushing champ Derrick Henry, Christensen admits his fanhood might be fading now that he’s interviewing for a job across the league.

“Now I can’t really have a favorite team,” he joked. “They’re all my favorite teams.”

While he hasn’t played in a game since the Cougars wrapped up their extremely successful 2020 campaign with a win over UCF in the Boca Raton Bowl on Dec. 22, Christensen hasn’t taken a break. After declaring for the draft and forgoing his senior year, Christensen, who was named a consensus All-American — BYU’s first since 2009 — has been working out in the Dallas area. With Pro Day coming up and the NFL Draft set for April 29, Christensen is determined to hear his named called as early as possible.

“There’s a lot of good guys, talented o-lineman here. I feel like I’ve surrounded myself with a lot of great guys,” said Christensen from Texas.

He’s well acquainted with being surrounded by talented football players. In the 2020 season, Christensen made his name by protecting gunslinger Zach Wilson, who many pundits predict could be a top-5 draft pick. Christensen called his final year with the Cougars “a remarkable season in every aspect,” giving Wilson a lot of credit.

“It was awesome because he just loved the game, and you could tell how confident he was. He would go out and throw a dime and he’d be like ‘great block,’” Christensen recalled Wilson saying. “He kind of had a lot of people doubting him throughout his career so just seeing him have a great last season was amazing.”

It’s doubtless that Wilson’s strong season definitely increased Christensen’s own professional outlook, but to his high school coach, it’s not a surprise to see him at the precipice of the NFL.

“Brady was always a young man that did what he needed to do. He was a great leader,” praised Wall. “I think he always had some good goals in mind and he’s the real deal.”

Wall also added that he had been in contact with a few NFL teams who were doing their due diligence on Christensen. When one team asked how Christensen had been as a student at Bountiful High, nothing that their offensive schemes were among the most technical in the NFL, Wall was proud to assure the inquiring party that Christensen had been an excellent student.

The admiration goes both ways as Christensen gave credit to Wall, saying his time as a youngster at Bountiful High, roaming the same halls as his friend, teammate and future NBA draft pick Sam Merrill, for shaping him into who he is now.

“I have the most respect for Larry Wall,” said Christensen. “I think that the most amazing thing about him was he saw my potential before I even saw my potential.”

It’s in Christensen’s future plans to end up back in Bountiful and give back to the high school and community one day.

But first, the NFL awaits.

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