Pau'u among top 30 California underclassmen

ESPN's Greg Biggins said California's 2012 high school recruiting class could rival the best in state history. Cal-Hi Sports selected their top California all-state underclassmen, comprised of the top 30 football player prospects in the state. There is one on the list BYU fans already know about.

Among the top 30 junior prospects in California selected was Butch Pau'u, a 6-foot, 210-pound LDS middle linebacker from Servite High School.

"It was really awesome that I was chosen as one of the top underclassmen in California," Pau'u said. "I was selected as a California first-team junior all-state underclassman. That was just a really cool deal for them to choose me. They picked a first team for the offense and a first team for the defense, and I was chosen for the first team defense. It's the best of the best in California and that's a great honor for me."

Although Pau'u is happy he was chosen to be among California's best, he isn't letting it go to his head.

"I don't know what to say, really," Pau'u said. "It's a really cool thing to be chosen like that because I've worked so hard. It's a nice little thing to have on the resume I guess, but it's something that you can't let go to your head. You have to stay humble and keep working hard to continue to grow."

Pau'u was also selected to be a part of the Army All-American Combine held recently in San Antonio. The Servite High School linebacker not only had a great experience, but he also learned how he measured up against some of the best talent in the country.

"It was such a fun experience, I mean, the opportunity to go out to Texas and compete with some of the best of the best in the country," Pau'u said. "It was good to be able to play with other linebackers, receivers and go against other running backs that are being recruited to see how well you stack up. Competing against guys that are being recruited by colleges across the country helps you to know what you need to work on, and overall it was just a really good experience to be out there."

Pau'u came away from the experience feeling good about how he compared to the others.

"I thought I did really well," he said. "Compared to the other linebackers that were there, I thought I did really well. We did one-on-ones, and I thought my rerouting technique was really well. There are guys there that are really, really fast, and so you learn a lot when asked to do certain things with fast guys like that. It helps you to get faster and know what you need to work on and get to where you want to be with the goals that you've set to get better. Overall I felt that I did really well in comparison to the other linebackers that were there. I didn't let anyone get past me and made sure everything stayed in front of me. That way I could just come up and tackle them. I thought I ran better with the running backs than some of the others did."

Another LDS linebacker that was a part of the Army All-American Combine was South Carolina native Atamu Ah-Ching. Ah-Ching met Pau'u after the two attended BYU's summer camp their freshman year.

"He did really well, but on the one-on-one drills he sort of tackled the kid," Pau'u said about Ah-Ching. "He told me he got an offer from BYU last year when he went to the camp."

Over the upcoming summer, Pau'u intends on keeping very busy.

"I'm going to a lot of different camps and combines this summer," he said. "I also plan on heading out to BYU's summer camp this summer, definitely. My head coach [Troy Thomas] really wants me to go there. There's a Nike camp that's going to be down here in Southern California that I'm going to go to. I believe it's on April 13th. I wanted to go to the Nike Combine last year that was held at BYU, but I had some family stuff that kind of got into the way and so I couldn't go. This summer, I'm definitely going to go to BYU's summer camp."

When he goes, he won't be doing so alone.

"I'm going to bring a friend and one of my teammates with me when I go to BYU's summer camp," Pau'u said. "His name is Jeremiah Leuta and he was our second-string running back and our first-string defensive end. He's part Tongan and Samoan and is Catholic, but I told him about BYU and he said he would love to go because of the environment. We are going to set it up."

In regards to recruiting, Pau'u hasn't heard much from BYU. The Cougars have already extended scholarship offers to Vince Biegel and Adam Ah-Ching for the 2012 class. However, it might be a difficult thing to pass up on one of California's top linebackers.

"Missouri has started to come into the picture, but my parents want to hear from BYU. I just don't know what's going on. Oregon and Nebraska are still going strong and sending me letters, and so is LSU. UCLA and USC, Stanford and most Pac-10 schools are still sending me letters. Missouri really started coming in strong a few weeks ago, and then Boise State started sending me letters too."

Pau'u, whose mother graduated from BYU, said he believes BYU would be a great fit for him.

"I went over to their football camp as a freshman," Pau'u said. "The campus is really beautiful and you can really feel the Spirit over there with all the events that happen there. BYU is an LDS school and I plan on serving a mission and I know BYU is a school that will give me that opportunity. My whole family has supported the BYU Cougars. The school also has great academics as well. It's just a great school and a great football program. I think the one thing that hits me the most about BYU is the spiritual/academic side. To be able to go to school with other kids that have the same spiritual beliefs as me would be great."

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