Kaufusi striving for another championship

Corbin Kaufusi has grown a little and even passed up his older brother Bronson in the height category. Now at 6 feet 8 inches and 230 pounds, the future Cougar football player is making a run for another state championship that would make him a two-time champion in two different sports.

He's no longer 6 feet 7 inches tall, as if that wasn't big enough. Corbin Kaufusi has grown an inch since this past football season ended, and has added some weight to his frame as the Thunderbirds make a run at a different state championship in basketball.

"It's awesome and last year I wasn't as tall as I am now," said Kaufusi. "It's kind of a whole new dimension for me to play at this size, and Timpview is a great place to be playing too because I've got all my friends playing here. I think we have a great team to take a run at the title."

During the BYU Nike Camp, Kaufusi was one of the quicker linemen during the agility drills despite his size. He may have the face of a young man, but he is growing into one heck of an athlete.

"I can hit the three-pointer in practice but I don't quite have the green light in game," Kaufusi said. "I just play center mostly. When I'm in there I just try and score as much as I can. I'm so much bigger than everyone else that I can just power down low and use my quickness and size to make shots. That's kind of my strength. I think that having power in the post, and because a lot of guys aren't as tall as I am, and having length and quickness are some of my strengths."

Because of size and chemistry, Kaufusi is confident in his Timpview High School basketball team. He does, however, feel there will be some tough competition along the way.

"I think we can take state this year," said Kaufusi. "If we just continue to elevate our game I think we'll be good to go. I think this year we'll probably have our toughest run for it because of all the good teams out there this year. We could probably take Olympus or Bountiful in our first playoff game, but that's not going to stop us hopefully. Everyone that we're going to play is going to be tough for sure."

A win would add yet another state championship to his resume.

"If we win another state championship game in basketball, I think I'll have around four championship rings," Kaufusi humbly said. "If we win it's just another ring, you know. It's nothing too crazy. I have two rings in football and one in basketball, and if we win another title in basketball that would make a total of four, but it's not that big of a deal."

Kaufusi will come to BYU's football program this fall as an 18-year-old. He will turn 19 next year and will greyshirt this upcoming season in order to work out and continue adding strength. Then he will leave on a mission so he can return with a redshirt season to burn if needed.

"My dad [Coach Steve Kaufusi] and I talked about it and we feel that this would be the best thing to do," he said about his current plans at BYU.

Meanwhile, there is a lot of size in this recruiting class. In addition to the 6-foot-8-inch Kaufusi, there's the 6-foot-8-inch Matt Sumsion, 6-foot-7-inch Colby Jorgensen, 6-foot-6-inch Stehly Reden and 6-foot-7-inch Ului Lapuaho. It almost appears that BYU's head football coach Bronco Mendenhall beat out basketball coach Dave Rose in recruiting. Would a tall and nimble Kaufusi ever think to possibly play basketball for Coach Rose?

"Oh, I don't know," said a humble Kaufusi with a laugh. "We would have to wait and see how that goes if that would ever happen at all. There hasn't been any talk of that yet, nothing like that."

Nah, of course not, not when one's father is an assistant coach on the football team. One could only imagine the degree of uncomfortable silence there would be at the dinner table from such a mutiny. The truth is, Corbin Kaufusi is excited to play football at BYU and is especially excited about the possibility of being coached by his father.

"Oh, that would be a dream come true for me," said the young Kaufusi. "I would love to be coached by my dad, and it would just make things all that much better. I would really love that and hopefully that will come true."

During BYU's press conference on signing day, Coach Mendenhall spoke about the possibility of having two 6-foot-8-inch Kaufusi brothers on the outside at defensive end. That would be a unique situation in and of itself, but the fact that they would be coached by their father would make it a one-of-a-kind scenario.

"For me, that would make me elevate my game because between me and my brother, everything is a competition," Kaufusi said. "It would be a race to see who could get to the quarterback first every play. I think it would be a dream to play alongside my brother and be coached by my dad. In high school I wasn't able to play with my brother because he got injured his senior year. We never got to play together, so I think being able to do so at BYU would be a neat experience."

As for his older brother, Bronson is currently serving a mission in New Zealand and having a lot of success. The former First-Team All-State defensive end and 19th ranked defensive end nationally is currently working among the Maori people on an island they called "the land of the long white cloud."

"He's doing great and loving it!" said Corbin about Bronson. "He's a district leader and working hard to teach the gospel. We email him every week and keep him up to date on how everything is going. He told me that everything is good, but he can't believe how big I'm getting. He's about 6 feet 7 inches and a quarter, and never thought that I would pass him up. I'm now 6'8" flatfooted and he can't wait to see the pictures of me."

The Cougar nation received devastating news recently when Alexis Kaufusi – daughter to Coach Kaufusi and sister to Corbin and Bronson – had been diagnosed with cancer. A member of BYU's women's basketball team, she had played in 20 basketball games this season before being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma, which is a cancer of the lymphatic system. It's a hard and difficult time for the Kaufusi family, but Corbin is hopeful and optimistic.

"She's doing pretty good and just going through all the stuff that deals with the whole cancer thing," he said. "She's getting treatment and getting tested for things. She's doing alright."

Once BYU fans heard of Alexis Kaufusi's situation, a call of prayers was sent out. Corbin was very, very appreciative to know that occurred and asked with a heartfelt plea that such prayers continue.

"She went up to Salt Lake City to the Huntsman Cancer Clinic up there," Kaufusi said. "They got a few tests done [Wednesday] and she'll probably get home soon, but, yeah, she's doing alright and I'm so grateful for all the support she's been getting. I'm just so grateful. I just want to thank everyone for their prayers and hope they would continue. It's been really rough lately but we've been working through it together as a family."

We would ask that the TBS family keep Alexis Kaufusi and her family in their prayers every day as they continue to fight through this most difficult period.

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