BYU recruiting player with a familiar name

For many years Romney Fuga was an anchor and a force in the middle of BYU's defense. His ability to take on double teams and dictate to the flow of the offensive line allowed players like Kyle Van Noy to have great success. This weekend, Romney's younger brother Teancum – or Tico as he is affectionately called – will be on BYU's campus, where he might receive an offer.

Named after a great military leader in the Book of Mormon who defeated many in order to achieve the greater objective, Teancum Fuga has followed a similar path as a football player. Playing both ways as an offensive and defensive tackle, Fuga has played a vital role for Edison High School's football team over the past few years.

"I'm 6'1" or 6'2", and around 310 pounds," said Fuga, who will be a senior next year. "I play offensive guard and my coach likes to pull me a lot to the blind side. On the defensive side I play defensive tackle. I also can play the one – or nose tackle – position. I like playing nose and making the run go outside and seeing [that] linebackers can make the tackle because I'm occupying a lot of linemen. Last season I had six sacks and 27 tackles and three fumble recoveries."

As an offensive guard, Fuga also has a number of pancake blocks against hapless defensive linemen. He possesses a large amount of natural strength that can be seen in his film as defenders fall by the wayside with a single shove or glancing blow.

"Yeah, I would say I'm pretty strong," said Fuga with a chuckle. "I bench 435 and I squat 515."

His success as a football player has landed him three offers so far, with other programs taking interest.

"Right now I have offers from Boise State, Utah State and Utah," Fuga said. "I'm also getting a lot of interest from Pac-12 schools and Mountain West. I'm also getting some interest from BYU but they haven't contacted me as much, but we'll see what happens."

Fuga happens to be the younger brother of former BYU defensive standout Romney Fuga. Although the younger Fuga has yet to receive a scholarship offer from BYU, the Cougars have been recruiting him and he'll be making a trip out to BYU this weekend.

"I'm going up to BYU next week for a sports camp, and it would be nice to get an offer from the, but we'll see," he said. "When I talk to my brother he always has a lot of great things to say about BYU, but I think they might think that I'll commit there because of my brother. Right now I'm leaning more towards, Utah but we'll see."

Fuga likes the environment that BYU has.

"That's the positive thing about BYU," Fuga said. "I like the program there and I like the honor code and values that BYU has. I like how they stay on top of you academically and really push the players in the program. My brother loves BYU and he thinks it's the ideal school for an LDS kid to go to. He talks about his experiences there all the time and talk about how positive it was in his life.

"I'm heading up to BYU this Saturday for a sports camp. If they offer me a scholarship I would definitely take it into consideration. For me, if a school offers and they'll let me serve a mission, I'll take that school into consideration. I know that BYU will let me serve, so that's why I'll take them into consideration. I guess we'll see."

The question of whether or not Fuga will receive a BYU offer will more than likely be answered this weekend. Romney feels that BYU just might extend an offer, and is excited for his younger brother.

"My brother said they're leaning towards it, because he stays in contact with Coach Kaufusi and Coach Mendenhall," said the younger Fuga. "At first I wasn't really planning on going up to the BYU camp because I wanted to explore other campuses and everything, but the coaches wanted me to come up there. My brother said that I might get an offer and he's excited to see what happens, so we'll see."

During his BYU visit, he'll be hosted by a familiar face.

"Yeah, when I go up there my brother will be my host," said Fuga. "He'll show me around campus. When he was there I watched him a lot. When he was there I always cheered for him and I cheered for BYU. I always supported my brother, but after every game I used to tell him what he did wrong. He used to get mad at me a lot, but I'm the baby in the family. When I'm with my brother we don't really talk a lot about football because he'll start criticizing me."

Just because big brother played at BYU doesn't mean that a commitment from the younger Fuga is automatically in the bag should the Cougars offer him scholarship.

"Well, right now I'm leaning towards Utah," Fuga said. "I have an offer from them and I guess we'll see what happens after this weekend. Right now I'm kind of leaning towards Utah."

That's a situation that doesn't sit well with his big brother Romney.

"Well, we've talked about it and he doesn't really like the idea," Fuga said. "My parents told me to go wherever I can get my education. My parents told me that they want me to go wherever I feel comfortable going, so they've kind of left the decision up to me.

"With my brother having been there, I kind of know what goes on at BYU. For me, I want to go to a place that is family oriented and where there is a lot of respect. I know what BYU's program is and what it stands for and I like that. My brother preaches it to me every time I see him because he knows I'm leaning more towards Utah right now. We'll see."

It will be interesting to see what happens if BYU does offer the younger Fuga a scholarship. It might shake things up a bit, making a final decision a little more difficult to make.

"Yes, I'm praying to know what is the right thing for me, and I'm praying to know where I can have the most success," said Fuga. "I'll go where the Lord wants me to go."

The BYU coach currently responsible for recruiting Fuga is Coach Howell, whom Fuga said is a good guy.

"He's a strong member of the Church and a family guy," said Fuga. "He represents BYU's program really well with the way he interacts with people. He said he's excited for me to come up and talk with me. I try not to talk to too many college coaches because I don't want to be distracted from my schoolwork and workouts, but whenever I talk to him he always says, ‘We're excited for you to come up because we know what you can do.' He always just says they're excited for me, so we'll see."

BYU's defense was ranked third in the nation last year in scoring defense and total defense, and his older brother Romney played a major role in that success. Continuing the family legacy at BYU is a thought that has crossed Teancum Fuga's mind.

"Yeah, I've thought about that a lot," he said. "For example, my family has been at Edison High School since 1969 and I'm the last in my family that will play there. My brother always tells me, ‘It would be great seeing you at BYU,' so I always think about continuing the family tradition. Whenever I talk to BYU they talk about my brother and tell me that I could anchor the defense like he did and be that force in the middle."

So, while Utah currently leads for his services, deep down inside Fuga is hoping that BYU does extend an offer to him, giving him an opportunity to continue the Fuga family legacy at BYU if he so chooses.

"It would mean the world to me actually," Fuga said. "Just knowing that I would have the opportunity to go to the same university where my brother played would really mean a lot. I've always been compared to my older brother, so it would give me a chance to go and make a statement at BYU that I'm the better Fuga. I'd be able to make a statement and continue the family tradition."

Regardless of his final decision on where he'll play his college ball, one thing is certain for Teancum Fuga: he'll serve a church mission.

"I want to go right after high school because I turn 18 right after I graduate," said Fuga. "It really just depends on what the university wants me to do. If they want me to stay for a year or two, I'll stay then go, but I would like to go and serve right away to be honest with you."

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