During halftime of BYU's 91-47 rout of Colorado State Saturday at the Marriott Center, the school honored the Cougar football team, which posted an 11-2 record and ended up with a No. 12 final ranking.
After thanking the fans for their support, coach Bronco Mendenhall handed the microphone to running back Harvey Unga, so he could personally tell them he's coming back for his senior season.
Of course, that news was officially announced last Thursday, but it gave Unga the opportunity to hear the reaction to his decision -- deafening roars of approval.
Afterwards, Unga met with reporters for the first time since announcing his return. He said the main reason for coming back in 2010 is the chance to earn a degree.
"The biggest factor for me was easily the education part," he said. "I had the chance to meet with a lot of former players. Some of whom finished college and some who didn't. The feedback I got from all of those that graduated, mainly, was that they were glad they got their education. Those who didn't graduate told me if they could go back and do things differently, they'd definitely get their education done."
As part of his decision-making process, Unga sent in paperwork requesting an NFL evaluation, which gave him an idea of where he might be drafted. He declined to talk much about that evaluation.
"Coach Mendenhall and I were the only two allowed to talk about that stuff," he said. "It's between he and I."
Considering that BYU is replacing three-year quarterback Max Hall and consensus All-America tight end Dennis Pitta, many believe the Cougar offense will revolve around Unga next season.
"Personally, I don't see it that way," said Unga. "There's going to be quarterbacks fighting for that starting position. I don't think anyone really knew about Max Hall before John Beck, and when he came in out of nowhere, he kind of shocked everybody. Can we replace Max? I think we've got some good guys to take that spot and take off where he left off. We'll be okay. Our coaching staff has done a good job recruiting. They've done a great job with schemes with our offense and we'll continue to grow and learn a lot in the off-season and take it from there."
Unga, who is BYU's all-time leading rusher, said that he's going to do everything he can to improve his game as he prepares for his senior campaign.
"There's tons of things I want to work on," Unga said. "That's one of the biggest things that motivated me to stay. A lot of times I sat there and thought, 'What else can I do?' A lot of people might think, 'He doesn't have much left to do here, considering records.' But in my eyes, there's a lot left out there on the field for me to accomplish as a college athlete. This season will definitely push me to reach those goals and endeavors that I've set in front of me."
Unga is looking to continue being a go-to guy for the offense while honing his abilities for the next level.
"With Dennis and Max and a few others gone, I think there's a sense of urgency to make big plays on offense without those guys there," Unga said. "Blocking is always a big thing in the NFL that they look at. Can I work on blocking?
Definitely. There's a lot of nit-picky things, but those are the main things I'm going to work on."
While Unga has been hampered by a variety of injuries during his career, he's not fretting about injuries hurting his chances to eventually play in the NFL.
"If I worry about injury, it's going to take away from all of the other aspects of the game," he said. "As far as I'm concerned, if the injuries happen, they happen. It's something I definitely do not worry about."