BYU receives tall 2013 receiver

Coach Mendenhall received a verbal commitment from Mountain Crest High School wide receiver/safety Moroni Lee Laulu-Pututau. With his verbal commitment to BYU, Laulu-Pututau is the fourth prospect from the 2013 class to throw his hat into the Cougar ring. According to his head coach Mark Wootton, BYU got a very good prospect.

Mountain Crest High School head coach Mark Wootton believes that 6-foot-4-inch, 190-pound junior Moroni Lee Laulu-Pututau has a lot of potential that hasn't been fully tapped yet.

"He's a pretty good receiver and actually had six interceptions this year too, so he's a really good athlete and kind of skinny for a Polynesian kid," said Wootton. "He's lifting really hard and going to be a 230- or 240-pound kid that can run.

"He runs very fast and really smooth and is just a tremendous athlete. He's really motivated and starting to lift and we would like to try and put on 20 pounds on him this year if we can. I mean, he'll add 30 pounds and be around 230 but still look like he's only 200 pounds."

Laulu-Pututau caught 46 passes for 737 yards and nine touchdowns as a wide receiver this past season.

"Yeah, that's right, and he also had a lot of tackles for us as a safety on defense and returned punts as well," said Coach Wootton. "He has a real nose for the ball, and like I said, he had six picks for us last year. As a sophomore he had three interceptions in one game in that East [High School] game. He's one heck of an athlete."

Not only does Laulu-Pututau excel on the football field, but he also started his sophomore year on the Mountain Crest High School basketball team.

"He's a really good basketball player and just runs so well," said Wootton. "He's such a gentle kid but he's starting to become more physical and understand what he can do."

However, Laulu-Pututau's athleticism doesn't stop at football and basketball, as he also runs track.

"He's so lean and so fast," said Coach Wootton. "He also competes in the hurdle, so he's got really good body control and really good speed. He's a legit 4.5 kid that could maybe go faster as he continues to develop. He looks pretty when he runs and he's a glider. He's got that real long stride, but because he's a little bit wider, he's really quick with his feet. He can cut, and like I said, he returned punts for us last year. He had some great punt returns and almost broke several."

According to Wootton, Laulu-Pututau had been offered by BYU a while before he actually committed.

"BYU had offered him early this year and he just committed," said Coach Wootton. "They had been looking at him, and other people had seen him, but I don't know why they didn't pull the trigger on him. I mean, he's a stud, and so when BYU saw him they jumped on him and offered him. They had his family down and he didn't commit right away. After he thought about it he just said, ‘Yeah, that's where I'm going to go.'"

Former Mountain Crest quarterback and current Cougar Alex Kuresa is actually good friends with Laulu-Pututau.

"Alex Kuresa's down there and he played for me," said Coach Wootton. "I'm sure that had something to do with [his commitment to BYU.] They're both really tight and both friends and hang out a lot, so it's really a good connection for him. You know, next year I'm sure he's going to have a ton of offers, but BYU jumped on him early and got a really good one. They know they do."

Coach Wootton feels that with the type of size and athleticism Laulu-Pututau has, he could have the opportunity to play a couple different positions at BYU.

"He's going to be fun to watch," Coach Wootton said. "I don't know where the BYU coaches will play him, but if they wanted to get him up to 290 they could play him at d-end. You just don't know how big he's going to get, but he's got that height and athleticism where he could possibly play a couple positions depending on how big he gets."

According to Wootton, BYU wasn't the only in-state school to show some interest in Laulu-Pututau, although it was the only one to really go after him.

"Utah came up and they were looking at a kid and they saw him and said, ‘Oh my heck, I have to go back and talk to Coach [Whittingham].' Then the one coach from Utah State called and said, ‘Hey, we want Moroni to come up to the college and we're going to offer him. We just need him to come up.' I told Moroni, ‘Hey, you need to set up a time to go up there,' and they never really set up a time and no one really called him or anything. No one ever really called him. There's going to be colleges that wondered why they didn't pursue him more because he's right here under their noses. All they had to do was come and visit him, you know?"

BYU got a great look at Laulu-Pututau when Mountain Crest came to BYU for a passing league.

"We went down to BYU over the summer and won the passing league and that's when [they first took note of Laulu-Pututau]," Coach Wootton said. "Then they called me at the first of the year and said they were going to jump on him, so they brought him and his parents down there and they offered him. Bronco [Mendenhall] always makes a kid think about it before he commits."

After thinking about it for a bit, Laulu-Pututau decided to make his commitment to BYU official and called the coaching staff to let them know he would become a Cougar. The news actually surprised his head coach.

"I didn't really know he was a BYU kid and I asked him, ‘You know, is this something that you would consider?'" said Coach Wootton. "That's when he said, ‘Well, yeah.' That was about a month ago. I was kind of surprised when he committed. He came into my classroom one day, a couple weeks ago, and said, ‘Hey, I just called BYU last night and committed.' I was actually kind of surprised and said, ‘Really?'"

Coach Wootton feels BYU not only got a great athlete but a great young man who will represent Coach Mendenhall's program in a manner that's expected.

"He's so even-tempered and so sweet, and then he'll do things at times [on the field] and you'll go, ‘Holy cow!' That warrior side comes out and you're just like, ‘Wow!' I coached Junior Ioane that played for the NFL Raiders and the Texans out there at North Sanpete, and that's a kid you could watch and go, ‘That's a kid that could play in the league.' Then you watch Moroni Lee and see his athletic ability and you know he's also legit. BYU knows they got a really good one and that's why they offered him early."

Chances are BYU's newest commit will come to BYU for a year and then leave to serve a mission.

"Yeah, I'm pretty sure he'll be a mission kid," said Wootton. "You know how those Samoan moms are. That lady [Sunny Laulu-Pututau] tells him to do something and he does it out of love, so, yeah, I'm sure he'll go on a mission. What will happen is he'll go down to BYU and play for a year, then go. So he's just a good young man and a clean kid. He has a clean mouth and is very respectful and just a pure kid. He's got little brothers too."

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