Lupeamanu leading Herriman rugby

When BYU Cougar recruit Tueni Lupeamanu isn't throwing touchdowns as a quarterback or making tackles as a linebacker at Herriman High School, he's scoring tries and making hits on the rugby field.

At about 6 feet 2 inches and 220 pounds, Tueni Lupeamanu is one of the more athletic players for the Mustang program. He plays quarterback, linebacker and punts the ball on special teams. He currently has an offer from BYU and recently attended Junior Days at both BYU and Utah.

"BYU's junior day was really good, and so was Utah's," Lupeamanu said. "We watched a practice for a while but we had to leave because we had a rugby game."

There are quite a few very good rugby programs in the state of Utah. Lupeamanu plays for his high school team.

"We're actually third in the nation and some Cali teams are ahead of us," he said.

"We actually beat Highland a few weeks ago. We're number one in the state right now, but I'm not sure who is number one in the nation right now. Frances [Bernard] is also on our team and he plays inside center and I play number eight. I like playing number eight because I like the action. I like to hit."

That's probably why Coach Tidwell is recruiting Lupeamanu to play linebacker at BYU.

"Coach Tidwell has been saying to me that he's thinking of having me play in the middle," Lupeamanu said. "He thinks I'm more of a bruiser."

In the meantime, he hopes to continue winning in rugby.

"We already have a set team going to nationals, but we could take state," Lupeamanu said. "That's what we're hoping to do."

As for football, Lupeamanu and Bernard – who plays running back – have been visiting BYU's campus.

"BYU's Junior Days are good and me and Francis Bernard have been to a couple of BYU's Junior Days," Lupeamanu. "It just keeps getting better. They showed us around and we don't have to worry about exposure. BYU is getting the exposure like any other school, if not more."

The highlight of Lupeamanu's visit during BYU's Super Elite Day came when he was able to speak directly to some current Cougars.

"I thought it was really good because we got a chance to speak to the players one on one," he said. "We got to ask some questions about BYU and get to the truth.

"Coach DuPaix is still recruiting me pretty good. We keep in contact here and there. They're recruiting me as a linebacker mostly, but I'll do whatever they want me to do, whatever gets me on the field."

In the meantime, BYU fans will have to be patient when it comes to Lupeamanu choosing a school.

"Yeah, I'm just letting it play out," Lupeamanu said. "I plan on letting my senior year play out before I commit anywhere."

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