BYU gets powerful running back commit

After he attended church on Sunday, Darrin Laufasa called up Coach Mendenhall. The Washington prospect informed the Cougar head coach that he has decided to be a BYU Cougar.

With Darrin Laufasa's commitment, BYU just got a powerful, aggressive, competitive back from the state of Washington. Coming in at 6 feet 1 inch and 230 pounds, Laufasa committed to BYU on Sunday.

"I went to church today and after I got out I decided to call up Coach Mendenhall a couple of hours ago," Laufasa said. "I called him up and let him know that it's official. I'm going to be a BYU Cougar and it's so exciting."

Coach Mendenhall was excited upon hearing the news.

"He was pretty psyched about it and we talked about it for a while," Laufasa said. "He told me to keep working hard and to prepare myself to be a Cougar. I'm really excited to be committed. I want to bring my competitiveness to BYU and I hate to lose. I not only want to compete against all those teams BYU is going to be playing across the country, but I also want to compete against my own teammates to help them get better and to help me get better."

His father John said he was almost moved to tears after Darrin received his BYU offer on Saturday. Needless to say, John was also very excited about the big news on Sunday.

"Oh, my dad is just loving it and just soaking it all up," said Laufasa. "This is definitely one of those things he was praying for. He just feels blessed that I've been given the opportunity. It's been a blessing that I've been able to stay healthy this long and play ball at the next level. He's just really happy."

Laufasa and his father came away from their visit to BYU over the weekend very impressed.

"I loved it out there," Laufasa said. "Being on campus and watching the team practice was great. Seeing how the coaches interact with the players and just everything about it I loved. I just feel blessed to have come this far. Not everyone has the opportunity to play for a team like BYU at this level. Not everyone gets a chance to play for a top-notch program like BYU. I just feel blessed that I was given that opportunity."

Laufasa, who is of Samoan descent, was being recruited by some schools to play linebacker. However, he wants to play running back in college, and BYU recruited him as a running back.

During his visit to BYU, Laufasa hit it off rather well with all the current running backs at BYU.

"I loved being around the running backs out there at BYU. Those guys are a group of great guys and some of the nicest guys I've been around. I just loved being around those guys and they definitely welcomed me in like I was already a member of the team.

"They showed me around and, like I said yesterday, I talked with Mike Alisa, Iona [Pritchard] and Jamaal Williams about being out there. Mike talked to me about being a running back, and if I wanted to be a running back, I can be a running back. That just kind of stuck out to me today and that's the reason why I committed to BYU."

It's already known that Laufasa is a powerful runner; his film doesn't lie. He gets almost giddy at the thought of running over defenders who step up to challenge him. But there is more that Laufasa wants to bring to BYU than just a power game.

"One thing that I'm definitely going to work on is my speed," Laufasa said. "I was talking to Coach a little bit and he said how they loved my physical ability and how that all comes out on the field. But he also said that he wants me to work on my speed to get faster. That's what I'll be focusing on now and after the season."

Laufasa has a few goals in mind to help him increase his overall speed.

"Yeah, I was talking to BYU's nutritionist, and I'm at around 230 pounds right now," Laufasa said. "He wants me to get down to about 215. I'll be doing a lot of sprints and they'll also send me a little workout thing to help me get to where I need to be."

Laufasa will follow a long line of powerful Polynesian running backs that have created a storied running back tradition at BYU. That includes players such as Vai Sikahema, Hema Heimuli, Lakei Hemuli, Harvey Unga, Fui Vakapuna, Manase Tonga and now Michael Alisa.

"That's kind of a cool thing to be a part of. I was telling Coach DuPaix that when I was younger I would watch guys like Harvey Unga and Manase Tonga run. My brother kept showing me videos, saying, ‘Man, you gotta run like these guys.' So they're guys that I based my game around. I'm definitely excited to come in and continue something that was started at BYU a long time ago. I'm excited and it's an honor to do so."

In his first season at BYU, the Cougars will be playing a brutal schedule that includes games against Wisconsin, Texas, Notre Dame, Georgia Tech, Boise State and others.

"That's the kind of schedule that I want. I want to play the best of the best and we'll be able to show how far BYU has come against those teams, so I'm excited to suit up and represent."

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