BYU still in the picture for Fanaika

Brandon Fanaika, Utah's top offensive lineman for the class of 2012, is still waiting to make a decision regarding which school he will commit to. He is basing his decision on much more than simply football, and is take an unconventional approach to the recruiting process.

Pleasant Grove High School offensive lineman Brandon Fanaika wanted to decide on a college after his prep season concluded. The Vikings came up a bit short of reaching the state playoffs, but Fanaika has yet to make a decision.

"Well, nothings much has happened yet and I just kind of reopened myself up to everything again," Fanaika said. "It's good and I've just kind of been taking my time with all of this stuff. I'll probably start picking it back up again here soon."

In order to not have any outside voices clouding his mind or persuading him towards one direction or another, Fanaika stopped talking to recruiters.

"To be honest, I really just wanted to take my time with all of this because I wanted to pray and fast about things to get a better understanding of what I should do," he said. "I kind of just stopped talking to all the coaches to kind of give them all a fair chance, you know, when I'm praying and fasting about the different choices.

"I thought this was just a way to kind of make it fair for everybody while getting the best understanding of each opportunity. You know, that way I don't really have any opinions or things like that. You know, really the way I look at it is I'll go wherever the Lord wants me.

"You know, if he wants me out east, I'll go east. If he wants me here at BYU, I'll be at BYU, and if he wants me at Stanford, I'll go to Stanford. I kind of just wanted to use this situation to better develop a relationship with my Heavenly Father through all of this. I wanted to turn all the noise off and talk with my Heavenly Father to know what I should do."

Fanaika has leaned more on the arm of God as he's sorted through the varying paths before him.

"In my prayers I've kind of approached it as, ‘Well, this is where I'm thinking, so should I go here?' Then I would say another prayer and say, ‘You know, I'm thinking over here and should I be other there?' It's been great and I've kind of had the feeling that I kind of need to evaluate things more, but I feel like I'm doing the right thing even though I haven't received a complete answer as to where I'm supposed to be yet. Things are becoming clearer to me but I'm getting the feeling that I need to evaluate things more. I feel like I should learn more first what's there, then through prayer get an answer.

"It's definitely taught me some valuable lessons in patience as I go through this process. I know that if I keep doing what I'm doing I'll get my answer. I definitely feel that I'm close and that I'm going down the right path."

While he may not have a definitive answer yet, Fanaika is getting an overall better picture of the situation. He's grown through the process in a way that has helped him to understand what's most important.

"Through the process I am definitely seeing places that suit me better," he said. "I've been learning to look at this situation from a different angle and that's been helping me. Rather than just look at things from one perspective – say, just from a football perspective – [I've learned] to look at this from all angles.

"It's really helped me to focus on the little things that might matter more in life. I've been able to humble myself a little bit more and see what's really most important through this whole thing. It's definitely been a learning experience for me. It's been good."

Prior to his final season, Fanaika looked at the opportunities he had from the perspective of a football player. However, since he's taken a new approach to the recruiting situation, his perspectives have drastically changed.

"For sure, I really came to realize what I have and I think this whole process has been a blessing in disguise because I get to lean on Him more," Fanaika said. "It's really helped me to know what it's like when I need Him. It truly has allowed me to become more thankful for the opportunities that I have.

"Before the season, I thought that Brandon Fanaika had something great that he was supposed to do. Now it's more like there's something great that I'm supposed to do and it's not through football but through life and school and with people. It's not just through football anymore, so it's definitely been a really good eye opener in seeing the more important things. It's good."

As for BYU, Fanaika is still considering the Cougar program.

"I got to have an amazing evening with Coach DuPaix and Coach Doman recently for an in-home visit. They spent a couple hours here with me, and going into it I wasn't sure. After hearing what they had to say, asking questions and [getting] the answers I've been getting, BYU is definitely still one of the more important options for me. Coach Weber came by later for a visit and gave me the answers I wanted to hear and far more.

"I definitely know the difference between feeling hyped up about a college and knowing that a place could be the best place for me. I've felt what it's like to be hyped up about a college and knowing what's most important. I definitely know the feeling that I have for BYU now is a part of the answer that I've been looking for. It's a part of it, you know, and we set up an official visit for me in January. If BYU is where I'm supposed to be, then that's where the rest of it will come."

Fanaika had very good things to say about BYU's coaches, including Brandon Doman.

"Coach Doman is just an amazing person, and that goes without saying. He's an amazing coach," Fanaika said. "He just different and BYU's staff in general is different than any other staff that I've been able to come in contact with. Coach Doman told me about all the benefits of going to BYU, and the thing that really, really, really stood out to me was it will not only make me a really good football player, but the type of person that BYU will help mold me into. I haven't been able to hear that from any of the other college coaches, and he shared with me some of the statistics about those that graduated from BYU."

BYU's coaches left a unique impression on Fanaika.

"They are just different than other coaches and bring a different feeling to the home," said Fanaika. "Being around Coach Doman and those coaches is a different feeling. In reality, the feeling you have with them is the same feeling you have when you're with your parents.

"Everything your parents want for you, you get that same feeling from them in how they want you to exceed in every aspect of life. The feeling I have with them is the same feeling I get with my parents. It's a different feeling because of the incentive that's behind everything, and that's what's really good about them and makes them different."

Clearly, BYU is attractive to Fanaika for more reasons than just football.

"Coach Doman and Coach DuPaix talked about some of the reasons why people who come from BYU … are so wanted when they leave," Fanaika said. "It's because of the type of people they've become on top of the type of education they've received at BYU. It definitely seems like BYU offers some amazing things to turn me into the type of person that I want to be and that's definitely what I want. Again, everything that they do over there is through the Lord, and that's the other thing that definitely stands out to me is that they have the Lord on their side because they use their position for the greater good. It was a very humbling experience for me."

Fanaika plans on taking trips to several different schools in the near future.

"I've got one set up for Stanford and then I'll take one out to UCLA," Fanaika said. "I've got a trip set up for BYU in January and I might just take those three, and so we'll see. I might take an unofficial out to Utah this month, but we'll see. I'm not sure yet.

"You know, it's always easier to look at a school for all the wrong reasons and make a decision based on that. I just feel like I'm blessed to recognize some of the smaller, more important things that in the long run will benefit me more. I definitely feel like BYU is a main place and definitely a potential home for me. It's definitely made me think why many football players come to BYU from out of state is because there's no other place like BYU. There's no other place that can help you become the best you can be and achieve your long-term goals as far as what you're supposed to do. It's definitely an amazing place."

Fanaika feels that once he takes his trips he'll have enough of a confirmation to make a final decision.

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