BYU offer possibly on the way for Leiataua

Dominquez High School defensive end Uriah Leiataua currently has six scholarship offers: Utah, Wisconsin, Colorado, Colorado State, Washington State and U.C. Davis. He could receive another offer – one that he's been hoping for – by the end of this month if everything goes as planned.

Although a coveted scholarship offer from BYU has all but eluded Uriah Leiataua for some time now, he has been in constant contact with BYU's offensive line coach Garett Tujague. The two have formed a good friendship over the recruiting period.

"Coach Tujague has been keeping up with me and everything, and he's been excited about me coming up here soon on the 24th [of June]," said Leiataua. "He's really chill and we've been keeping in touch on Facebook. He's kept me up to date on everything and we always talk about life and normal things like that. He's really cool and I like him."

With Leiataua coming to BYU during the last week of June, that BYU scholarship offer he really wants just might not be so elusive by the time he leaves.

"Yeah, I asked them straight up one about that," Leiataua said. "I said, ‘If I make it out to the camp am I likely to get a scholarship?' They said, ‘You're more likely to get one than not get one if you come up.' I was like, ‘Oh, okay! That sounds a lot better!'"

The last time Leiataua visited BYU was during spring camp. While he didn't receive an offer then, the thought that one could be on the way has made him cautiously optimistic.

"Yeah, I'm excited about it and I'm hoping they do [offer me]," Leiataua said. "I'm just letting the time pass by until then. I don't want to jinx anything, but I'm really excited about going out there to see the coaches again."

An offer from BYU would bring his scholarship total to lucky number seven.

"Man, to get a scholarship from BYU is like a mountain," he said. "It's like I've finally made it to the top. It's like I've finally made it after working so hard and trying to get a scholarship."

An offer from BYU would obviously mean a lot to Leiataua.

"Oh man, where do I start?" Leiataua said. "It's like a long journey, you know what I mean? BYU has always been my dream school since I started playing football. During my freshman year, I would always watch Kyle Van Noy and I used to think he was really cool. I like BYU and I like the scenery. I also like the whole coaching staff.

"Well, BYU just feels like home to me and I love the campus view and environment. I remember when I was there I went into the team room with Coach Kaufusi. It just felt like I was already a part of the team when I was there. I was watching him and listening to what he had to say. It was just really cool. What really matters is how you fit into a school. It would just be a really good feeling to know that they think I'm good enough to play with them."

Leiataua thinks very highly of Coach Kaufusi for many reasons.

"He's a really cool and he's a really smart man and I like him a lot," Leiataua said. "It was really cool how he told that just by playing for BYU it's like doing missionary work, and by winning we're able to put BYU on the national map. That's how we share the values of BYU, and I thought that was really cool."

When it comes to missionary work, Coach Kaufusi has a great interest in sharing his beliefs. Not only is Kaufusi the assistant defensive line coach at BYU, but he is also the bishop of a student ward on campus as well.

"I mean, how many LDS athletes can say they're being coached at the college level by a bishop?" said Leiataua, who will serve a two-year LDS mission. "It's just a unique situation to have and pretty much something you can expect at a college like BYU. It's like having a dad as your coach, and Coach Kaufusi has a son playing for him on the defensive line. He's like that father figure who not only teaches you about life and the gospel, but he's also the one who teaches you how to play and be successful at the college level. I just think it's really cool."


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