BYU receives defensive tackle commit

He was evaluated at the All-Poly Camp as being in the upper talent level of the camp. Now the Cougars of BYU have offered a full-ride scholarship offer to the 6-foot-2-inch, 305-pound defensive tackle. It didn't take long for Coach Mendenhall to receive a commitment in return.

On Tuesday Coach Mendenhall offered East High School defensive tackle Merrell "Meti" Taliauli a scholarship. Following camp activities Tuesday morning, Coach Mendenhall and his staff had seen enough.

"Coach Mendenhall was explaining to me how this school is different than any other school out there," Taliauli said. "He handed me a piece of paper and just said, ‘Go ahead and read the first paragraph.' I read the paragraph and it said my name, then it said that I was being offered a full-ride scholarship to BYU. I didn't stop reading and read the whole paragraph."

Taliauli grew up in Glendale, Utah and has always been a BYU fan ever since he was a little boy.

"I was so excited and didn't know what to say," Taliauli said with a laugh. "I wanted to let it all out but I had to be a big dog in there, you know? So, I just smiled and was so happy. I just told Coach Mendenhall, ‘I'll take it. I want to commit to you right now and be a BYU Cougar.' Coach Mendenhall said, ‘There are no hesitations?' I said, ‘No, I'm here. I'm here and this is where I want to be.' Coach Mendenhall said, ‘That's what I want to hear. You just have to work hard now.' Man, I got teary eyed, but yeah, it was just exciting."

There was reason for Coach Mendenhall to question his quick commitment. Taliauli is expecting to receive some more offers.

"Boise State is supposed to call me and offer me," he said. "Idaho is another and Utah is as well. Weber State is another one, but I'm good. I'm committing to BYU."

The experience was a family affair.

"My whole family was in Coach Mendenhall's office and it was just a great experience for us," Taliauli said. "Me and my little sister are BYU fans, and so it was just a great experience for our entire family. My parents are really proud of me and so happy. It's been a really good day for me and my family. My whole family is just excited."

Prior to attending BYU's camp, the family had talked about BYU and the possibility of Meti receiving an offer. The family discussed what the plan of action would be.

"We kind of had a family meeting and talked about it earlier," said Taliauli. "We talked about it and my parents really like BYU, so they kind of knew that if I ever got offered by BYU that I was going to commit. My parents liked what they had seen and what Coach Mendenhall had already told them. We also heard from other football players there about BYU, so it was all good."

At 17 years old, Taliauli is young but will graduate early in December and be enrolled at BYU by next spring camp.

"I do really well in the classroom and have a 3.8 GPA," Taliauli said. "I'm kind of young and have a late birthday, but I'll graduate early in December. My school councilors told me that I could graduate early and go play anywhere I wanted to, so that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to graduate early and go to BYU. After a year or so I'll then go on my mission. I can't wait."

In closing, BYU's newest Cougar commit wanted to express his thanks and let people know that he's coming to BYU.

"I just want to tell BYU fans around the world that I'm coming," Taliauli said. "I'm ready and I'm coming to BYU, so get ready! I just want to thank everyone. I want to thank my family for helping me and supporting me in everything I do.

"I want to thank Coach Mendenhall and Coach Kaufusi for recruiting me and giving me this chance to receive an education and play football for BYU. I want to thank everyone who supported me and let everyone know that I'm coming!

"This is just an overwhelming experience," Taliauli concluded.

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