BYU offers third J.C. defensive tackle

The Cougar coaching staff is on the prowl looking for defensive tackles to fill the void that will be left with the graduation of numerous seniors after this upcoming season. As of now, the staff has extended offers to three junior college defensive tackles, and could extend a fourth soon.

Coach Kaufusi has been mining the California junior college ranks for top quality defensive linemen for the 2013 class. So far, he and the other coaches have found four that fit the BYU mold.

One is 6-foot-3-inch, 330-pound Marquel Combs of Pierce Junior College, who currently has about 21 offers. Combs has given a soft verbal commitment to Ole Miss but wants to check his options.

Another offer has been extended to 6-foot-3-inch, 280-pound Tutulupeata "Deuce" Mataele of Mt. San Antonio College. BYU was the first to offer the former Granger High School prospect.

The Cougars are evaluating 6-foot-5-inch, 330-pound Ma'ataua Brown of Cerritos, but have yet to extend an offer. Brown will be out at BYU next weekend.

The latest defensive tackle to be offered is Cerritos lineman Kyle Peko.

"Coach Kaufusi came down and talked to me a little bit about the school," said Peko. "I gave him a call about a week later and we talked for a little while and they said they have an offer for me. I got to talk to Coach Kaufusi a lot and spoke to him for about an hour.

"We were talking about football and about the program and key guys that he coaches. It's a pretty big deal. My coach called me and told me that they have a scholarship offer for me. I was really excited about that and it kind of blew my mind."

Peko is a monster in the weight room.

"I'm 6'2", 300 pounds and I run a 4.9 forty," Peko said. "I played here at Cerritos my freshman year. I bench 400, squat 500, clean 350 and for incline press I got 325."

Peko also has offers from Tennessee, Pittsburgh, Utah, Michigan State, Kansas State and Northern Colorado, so why would a scholarship offer from BYU – as he said – blow his mind?

"Well, I have a good friend in Joshua Quezada that plays for BYU and he's been talking to me about the school," Peko said. "He's had nothing but good things to say about the school and it would be good play with him again. Last year we were talking a bunch about BYU and about how he likes it up there and all that. He's said nothing bad about BYU and how it's a religious school, so you have to be good both on and off the field."

Peko feels fine about the standards expected of those that attend BYU.

"I think it's good because it will help you stay on the right path and help you make better decisions in life," Peko said. "I think it's good because it keeps you focused on what's most important."

Originally from La Habra High School, Peko – who is Samoan and from Pango Pango – was close with Quezada, who is also of Samoan descent.

"I'm really proud of that kid," Peko said. "He's been doing good up there. We were the only two Polynesians at our high school. It was rough when his brother passed away not too long ago. It was crazy actually and we were close in high school."

Peko is excited about the possibility of coming in right away and getting early playing time should he choose BYU.

"They told me that they needed guys coming in and playing right away for them," Peko said. "They just said that I could be a possibility to come in and do that. I just want to take my trips and come in and meet the coaches and check things out first. I want to visit some schools first before I make a final decision, so that way I have a better understanding of where I might be playing over the next few years."

Peko is looking to learn more about BYU from his friend and former teammate.

"Oh yeah, I'll be talking to Josh a lot now," he said. "I'll also be talking to his older brother Jesse, who is a mentor to me. He helped me out a lot in high school and so I want to see what kind of words he has for me. I'm sure they'll help me with my decision."

With Quezada already at BYU and now Peko's Cerritos teammate Ma'ataua Brown being recruited by BYU, Peko feels that playing for the Cougars would be a good opportunity.

"That would be awesome because me and Ma'a [Brown] have become really close with each other over this past year," Peko said. "I know he's heading up to BYU this Friday. I think that's also something to think about too because playing with him, if he goes to BYU, would be cool. So, playing with him and Josh would be cool.

"Being able to play at a school like BYU is just a great opportunity for me. Having people already there that I know like Josh, and with Ma'a possibly being up there, I'll already have people I know up there with me. It's something that I really need to look into."

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