Junior college linebacker favors BYU

Recently, an outside linebacker from California flew to Utah for an unofficial visit to BYU. By the time he left the Provo campus, he had a much clearer picture of BYU and a whole different outlook.

Sione Sina is a 6-foot-4-inch, 250-pound outside linebacker that his coach, Tim Tulloch, feels is one of great character and athleticism. BYU one of the first to offer the San Mateo Junior College athlete, who recently paid a visit to BYU.

"Everybody was so open and welcoming," Sina said. "The people there are just so nice. Once I got there the players on the team were just so welcoming. I felt like there was a lot of camaraderie they had going on over there at BYU. Everything was great and I found out a lot about BYU and stuff. It was a very good experience."

Although Coach Howell is the Cougar assistant coach that first evaluated Sina both on and off the field, Coach Kaufusi spent some time with Sina while he visited BYU. Being a Tongan football player, Sina got to know Coach Kaufusi and came to the realization that he's someone who isn't only interested in developing great football talent.

"He's a good guy and he's always looking out for the Polynesian players because he wants them to excel," Sina said about Kaufusi. "He's always making sure and always wants to see them succeed in life and be better than they are. He's been through the same struggles we've all been through in life and knows how it is. I think that's why he's always pushing for the Polynesian players to be better in every way. Like I said, he cares and is a great guy."

As a Christian who attends church on a regular basis, Sina experienced firsthand the unique environment found at BYU.

"It was different than the stereotype that everybody believes about BYU," Sina said. "The people there aren't as uptight as everyone might think. Everyone is just more chill and laid back, even though they try and live their lives the right way. I don't know, it was just different and welcoming and just really cool. It was a good feeling I had after visiting BYU. I was really considering BYU after that.

"It's a good school and I liked everything about it. I liked how the coaches are and how they're looking out for the better of their athletes than just for themselves or their own success. They really want each player to succeed and I really liked that. I liked it and it was a good experience."

As mentioned earlier, Sina really liked the people he encountered at BYU.

"The players on the team are really close, welcoming and really love the game of football," Sina said. "They like to play the game and have fun doing it with each of their teammates. They're all up there just having a blast, and at the same time they're working hard while having a blast. That's what I like and a place where I can see myself being at. BYU is a place where the players have fun doing the thing they love in a good, clean atmosphere.

"Then you have coaches like them at BYU and they're all just great people who care about you as an individual. They want to make sure that each of their players are reaching their potential as people and in the classroom. I liked the coaches as people and how they're always looking out for the athletes."

While on his visit to BYU, Sina's host was middle linebacker Uona Kaveinga.

"We were at his house for a day and just having a good time," Sina said. "He had a whole bunch of the football players come over just so they could introduce themselves to us and get to know each other and hang out. We were all just talking about the game of football and just chilling. It was a good time and it was cool."

To get a better understanding of what BYU is like, Sina spoke to Kaveinga about his experiences at BYU.

"He was telling me about how he once played at USC," said Sina. "He was telling me that over there it's more business and they're looking out for the better of USC rather than the individual success within each player. It was more about establishing the success of USC rather than helping to set up the athlete for future success after he's done playing football there and graduates. BYU wants you to win in life after you graduate and that's their focus after you're done."

With that perspective in mind, Sina feels BYU is a place where he could possibly end up at.

"Yup, I just might, I just might," said an excited Sina. "I'm just going to go out and take my other visits and hang out at the other schools and see how it feels and how I fit in. Right now BYU is top of the board and they're looking really nice.

"BYU, I love everything about the program: the academics, the facilities and everything. It was great over there and I could see myself playing there and being a part of that program. Everything was great and I loved it over there at BYU."

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