Olomua talks about commitment to BYU

Having played defensive end and tight end for head coach Vinnie Moore of Mesa High School, Aulelio Olomua committed to Coach Mendenhall last Monday following a visit to the University of Arizona. Ranked by Scout as one of the top five tight end prospects in Arizona, Olomua is expected to play defensive end for BYU.

Last Monday Coach Mendenhall and Coach Tidwell paid a visit to the Olomua home. Aulelio Olomua had just spent the weekend with his uncle Robert Anae, who is now coaching at Arizona, on a recruiting trip. It was during the visit with Coach Mendenhall and Tidwell that Olomua committed to BYU.

"They sat down and talked with me and my parents," Olomua said about the visit with Mendenhall and Tidwell. "They talked to me about serving my mission and my GPA and ACT score. I need to retake my ACT test so I can get a better grade on it, but I'm taking an ACT preparatory class right now. We talked about that and I just felt good about my decision to go to BYU and committed to them when they were in my house."

Although Anae resigned from Mendenhall's staff following the end of last season, Olomua hold Coach Mendenhall in high regards.

"He's a great guy and is very straightforward," Olomua said. "He tells you what he expects and he wants guys on his team with character, and he told me that I have that. It's the main reason why he wants me there."

Meanwhile, Mesa High School head coach Vinnie Moore gave a glowing assessment of Olomua.

"There's none finer," Coach Moore said. "He's a chip off the old block and his family is the same way. He has incredible character and they're just good people. He's very people-centered and just a very good young man."

According to Olomua, the fallout between Anae and BYU wasn't an ugly one.

"No, there wasn't any hard feelings," Olomua said. "[Anae] just said it was strictly business and there wasn't any hard feelings. He never really talked to me about why he left BYU."

Although Olomua is now committed to BYU, he was hoping the Arizona Wildcats that his uncle will now coach for would have an extra scholarship for him.

"They said all the scholarships were taken, but they said they really liked me. What they said was I could go on my mission and then they might have a scholarship."

"The bottom line is I think it just came down to, ‘If you pay for my school, I'll come play for you,'" Coach Moore said. "Other people wanted to wait and see and wait until after the mission and that kind of stuff. BYU was committed to him, so he committed to them."

Despite no scholarship availability, Olomua enjoyed his trip to Arizona.

"My trip to Arizona was fun. First my uncle Robert picked up me and one of my cousins Sam Meredith, who was also tripping there, and we went and ate at In-N-Out. We ate a lot and there was a lot of eating on that trip."

Although he's pledged his commitment to Coach Mendenhall, Arizona appealed a great deal to Olomua.

"I really wanted to go to U of A and stay in state because it was closer to home and I like their program and stuff," Olomua said. "I also like BYU and even though it was my only other scholarship I really like the program. That's why I committed to them."

Having tripped to both BYU and Arizona, Olomua did notice a difference in the atmosphere between the two universities.

"BYU, well, I don't really know how to describe it. It was definitely more spiritual than U of A, but U of A was a little more relaxed and I liked the campus. BYU has a lot of tradition and I like Coach Mendenhall's style of church, family and football all in one."

Coming in at about 6 feet 5 inches and 235 pounds, Olomua is a candidate to play a few different positions at BYU.

"Coach Mendenhall told me it was up to us what we think we're best at and where we can best help the team," said Olomua. "I'm thinking probably at the defensive end."

"He's probably a defensive end or a tight end just like he was in high school," said Coach Moore. "He's long and he's lean and I'm sure he's going to put on another 20 or 30 pounds minimum and be able to run and jump like the deer that he is. He has a good first step and a good burst. He just needs to learn how to do it all the time. That's something that got better and better as the year went on. He played better against Hamilton at the end of the year than when we first played them at the beginning of the year. He's good in space when he's off his feet. He can turn and he has good kinesthetic learning, which is good and will be a benefit to him. There's no doubt about that. For as long as he is, he's pretty dang fast. BYU got a good one, but he'll be a work in progress, which is what most kids are anyways. He'll be able to go on his mission and then come back and get after it."

Offensively, Olomua finished his senior season with nine receptions for 130 yards and two touchdowns. On the defensive side of the ball he totaled 50 tackles and six sacks in his first year playing in Arizona 5A football.

"He came to us from Red Mesa High School where he was all-world, and that's a smaller school," said Coach Moore. "There was obviously a transition period there because everybody at our level was working at a different level. That's not to say that at the other level they weren't working hard, but just the quality of the athlete and who got to play was different against the other. I think that was a huge benefit for him. If I had him for one more year, he could have choose anywhere in the world to go to play football."

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