"Ever since I was little, BYU was it for me," the 18-year-old Sandy native said.
So when his long-shot application to Princeton was accepted, he was flattered and excited — but not swayed.
Students like Griner and Cody Pettit of Savannah, Mo. — who turned down Penn State and the University of Missouri for BYU — have pushed the Provo-based university to the top of the "Most Popular Schools" list compiled by U.S. News & World Report, ahead of Ivy League stalwarts Harvard and Yale.
The ranking is based on "yield," the percentage of accepted students who actually enroll at that university.
BYU and Harvard have danced around the No. 1 spot for the last three years, said BYU spokesman Todd Hollingshead. The first year it was a tie, and then BYU fell to second and this year it pulled ahead.
"To be above them means a whole lot to us," he said. "It means that the people who apply to BYU really want to be here. They take it seriously when they apply, that if they get in, they'll enroll."