Bruiser holds BYU number one

The BYU Cougar staff is courting a Washington two-way prospect who plays running back, fullback and linebacker. Known for powering through defenders, this ball-carrier of Samoan descent will be on campus this month to check out BYU's fall camp.

The Cougars are taking a serious look at 6-foot-1-inch, 225-pound Bothell High School prospect Darrin Laufasa, who is known for his punishing style of play.


"I think one of my best playing attributes - on both sides of the ball - is being physical and having a lot of power," he said. "I use my strength to my advantage because a lot of guys at the high school level aren't as powerful. I also have some speed, so I use the combination to run the ball with some authority."

Scout analyst Greg Biggins sees Laufasa playing on offense in college.

I definitely see him as a fullback at the next level," said Biggins. "He's a tough, physical player with pretty good athleticism. He has pretty good speed and some wiggle to him but as he bulks up, I think he'll develop more in to a fullback who can also carry the ball enough to get a defense honest. He has always shown good hands catching the ball out of the backfield and I like the way he runs the football. He's a downhill kid, decisive runner who is tough to bring down and can deliver a blow. I think he's a real solid prospect for sure."

Laufasa's game film doesn't lie. Time and time again, he was seemingly stopped, only to bust through a large defensive group of would-be gang tacklers.

"Yeah, I have a lot of strength. My bench press, I can do three reps of 275 pounds," Laufasa said. "I squat four plates and can max around 415 pounds. My power clean, I'm putting up around 275."

Over the course of nine games in 2011, he had 151 carries for 920 yards and 11 total touchdowns.

As for recruiting, Laufasa has had contact with a couple BYU coaches.

"I've been talking to Coach Poppinga and Coach DuPaix from up there at BYU," he said. "Coach Poppinga is the one that first noticed me. He came down to our school and our head coach had talked to him previously. He came down and checked me out to see what I was all about. Ever since then we've been in contact on a weekly basis.

"Coach DuPaix has also entered the picture and I've spoken to him on the phone a few times. He's also been keeping in contact with me through Facebook and we've been talking about football. He's been talking to me about where I'm at and where I might end up and things like that."

Although he doesn't have a BYU offer yet, he likes the Cougar program.

"BYU is at the top of my list right now," Laufasa said. "I mean, right now BYU is looking like a really good program for me. I'm pretty excited to head out there on August 10th to check things out. They seem really interested in me and I'm excited to see what BYU is all about. Hopefully everything is works out.

"Right now, I have three offers from Portland State, Wyoming and Idaho and have been keeping in touch with all of them. I'm also letting them know that they're also on the top of my list because of the interest they've shown me."

Meanwhile, Laufasa said that Washington State is close to offering him.

"I went to a camp over there and they really liked me. They want me as a linebacker, and so I've been keeping in touch with them. They have a pretty good program out there."

One reason that Laufasa, a member of the Catholic faith, holds BYU at the top of his college choices stems from the normal reasons most pious young men look for a safe harbor in which to dock at the college level.

"They have a high expectation because of the Mormon aspect," said Laufasa. "That's another reason why I like BYU. I'm Catholic and I take my religion very seriously. Going to church is very important to me, and so having high morals is a big part of my life. That's something that's definitely not going to be a problem as far as the honor code and higher expectations."

Another factor that placed BYU at the forefront is that Coach DuPaix likes Laufasa's style of play.

"They're recruiting me for running back, so that's another reason why I like BYU," Laufasa said. "Everyone else is recruiting me as a linebacker or defensive player. BYU wants me on the offensive side of the ball. In the past, BYU has had three running backs with similar skill sets that I have.

"I mean, in comparison to other colleges that have smaller, quicker running backs, BYU uses bigger power backs like myself in their offense. I'm just looking forward to see how I stack out there with that."


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