An offer now with a twist

Recruiting is often a gamble on both ends. College programs and coaches invest a lot of time, effort and money in an attempt to find, evaluate and court potential recruits to their programs. Offers are often made based on position needs, and if an offer isn't snatched up quickly, recruits can often find themselves in a precarious position.

One of the first linebacker prospects for the 2013 class to be given a BYU scholarship offer was Herriman High School athlete Tueni Lupeamanu, who has been training hard for his senior season of high school football.

"I've just been training hard over the past two months of the offseason for the summer," Lupeamanu said. "We just barely started padded camp and the offense is looking good. I think our offense and defense will be one of the tops in state."

Lupeamanu will play both ways again this year, much like he did his last season.

"I'll be playing middle linebacker and quarterback. Hopefully, someone will step up at quarterback so I can just focus on linebacker this year. We'll see."

With linebacker Kalolo Manumaleuna Utu's commitment to BYU, things have changed a little for Lupeamanu if he wants to come to BYU.

"BYU had a linebacker commit over there, so in order for me to go to BYU I would have to either greyshirt a year or go on my mission," Lupeamanu said. "It's just like a numbers game and anything can happen like this."

How does Lupeamanu feel about the change in the scholarship situation now that waiting may have cost him a chance to come right in at BYU?

"Well, I don' know," he said. "I still love BYU, don't get me wrong about that. There's a lot to love about BYU, but I wanted to let things play out till my senior year. Now I'm just focusing on taking state this year, so that's what I'm focusing on now."

If he commits to BYU, he'll have to find a way to pay his own way until eventually receiving a scholarship.

"I'm not sure what I'm going to do and I'm still debating," said a humble Lupeamanu, who sighed with a deep breath. "Yeah, I'm in a grey area right now with all of that and just going throughout my senior year right now. I'm just not sure because I just turned 17 in April this year, so I would have to go to school for an entire year before going on a mission. They just want me to greyshirt my first semester there, and then I would have a full-ride scholarship after that. If I do decide to go on a mission I would have to go to school an entire year before leaving. I'm just not sure yet what I'm going to do."

While he admitted that the whole situation has been tough, he didn't look to blame anyone.

"I was disappointed at first but it really isn't anyone's fault," he said. "They have to make sure they have a linebacker and my intention wasn't to make BYU a downplayed school, because, like I said, they are one of my top three. At the same time I just wanted to wait and knew it was a numbers game. They need a linebacker and have to get one with only so many scholarships to give and I understand that. It's just … it's not just the best situation to be in and I know that, but it's the situation that I'm in now and there's nothing I can do about it."

Despite his current situation, Lupeamanu says BYU is still recruiting him hard. The Cougar staff has been honest and straightforward with him.

"Oh yeah, they've always handled things the right way and I appreciate that about the coaches," Lupeamanu said. "They're always straight with me and always came out and let me know. It's been nice. I would have to greyshirt my first semester now if I wanted to go there. I'm just grateful that they're still recruiting me."

Despite the fact that options have changed a little for him, Lupeamanu says BYU is still a top school for him.

"BYU still really wants me there," he said. "They really do and I appreciate that very much. I really do want to go to BYU and they're one of my top three schools. I just wanted to wait and not make a decision before my senior year. I just wanted to wait."

Aside from BYU, the only other offer Lupeamanu has is Utah State. He is receiving interest from Utah, but it would appear that Utah is making a big push for Uaea Masina, which is more than likely why the Utes haven't offered Lupeamanu.

"Utah is showing a little interest in me and so is Stanford," he said. "I'm going out to Stanford on the 23rd of this month to check things out."

In the meantime, Lupeamanu will continue to stay the same course he's had in the past. He'll continue to wait and will try and figure things out.

"I'm just going to play everything by ear and that's kind of been my mindset," he said. "That's kind of how my dad wanted me to do too, so that's what I'll do and figure it all out later. I know BYU still wants me there, but they just have to be creative now. I'm happy with the way they're handling things and don't have anything to complain about with how they've recruited me. I'm just grateful they offered me and showed all the interest in me to begin with."


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