Devin Kaufusi continues family legacy

The Kaufusi name has long been intertwined with BYU football, going back to 1985 when Steve Kaufusi joined the team. Now the current defensive line coach, his sons Bronson and Corbin have followed in his footsteps and joined the Cougar football program, and his son Devin just committed to be a Cougar as well.

When it comes to a football pedigree, it's hard to find one associated more with BYU than the Kaufusi name. Many years before becoming BYU's defensive line coach in 2002, Steve Kaufusi transferred from Dixie College to BYU and redshirted in 1985 before playing the following two seasons. His younger brother Rich also transferred from Dixie and played at BYU in 1989-90. BYU fans would have to wait 22 years before seeing another BYU jersey with the Kaufusi name on it.

Steve's son Bronson, a top defensive lineman out of Timpview High School, played for the Cougars in 2012 after serving a mission. But, the Kaufusi name doesn't stop there. Steve's son Corbin, a National Honors Society honoree who is currently serving a mission in Korean, is slated to play on the Cougar offensive line when he returns home.

And now, the next Kaufusi brother has decided to be a Cougar as well after being offered by Coach Mendenhall.

"I was really caught off-guard about it and it was kind of overwhelming to read those words that I was receiving a full-ride scholarship on that paper," said Devin, a junior this season. "[Mendenhall] just said, 'You know what, you can go home and think about it, walk around the block, you can tell me in a year, or you can tell me now.' I just told him, 'This is the place where I want to be. I want to join the BYU family,' so I committed to him right there."

It was on Friday that Devin was surprised with a Cougar scholarship offer.

"Before my game yesterday, my mom [Michelle] pulled me out at lunchtime during school," said Devin. "I really didn't know what was going on, but we went over to BYU and we met with Coach Mendenhall in his office. That's when he gave me a piece of paper and it was a full-ride scholarship to BYU."

Devin had always hoped he would be found worthy enough to follow along the same path taken by his father and older brothers. On Friday, that became reality as his efforts and hard work were rewarded with an opportunity to wear the blue and white jersey of BYU.

"Oh man, I just felt so grateful!" said the humble and unassuming Devin. "My dad didn't even know until they told him the day before. It was a big surprise for me, so when I got the paper from Coach Mendenhall I was really grateful for the opportunity."

Although he knew his son would receive that coveted BYU scholarship offer, Steve kept it a surprise.

"They told my dad the night before, but he didn't really say much to me about it," Devin said with a laugh. "He just said the coaches really like me, and that was about it. He was kind of caught off-guard that all the coaches were talking about me."

After receiving the offer, Devin saw the look in his father's eyes and knew he had made him proud.

"It's just so great and I saw how happy my dad was for me," Devin said. "I could see how happy he was and could see it in his face. I think I received my scholarship from being raised right and from the example I received from my parents and my brothers. They really set the path for me to follow. I just tried my best in everything I do, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity that I have."

As it turned out, Steve wasn't the only member of the family that knew beforehand that Devin was going to be offered.

"It was awesome because I think my dad and my brother Bronson knew the day before," Devin said with a laugh. "When I got down there, Bronson was acting kind of funny and stuff. Coach Mendenhall called us in and I just looked up at him and was like, 'Are you guys kidding me? What's going on?' So, they knew about it, but I just found out that I was going to get an offer right then and there."

However, just because someone has the last name Kaufusi doesn't automatically ensure a scholarship offer. Devin had to work hard to earn it.

"Well, I went to the BYU camp over this summer, and I just tried to show them what I had to offer," said Devin. "We kind of talked about trying to get my name out there when I got there, so I went out there and tried to do my best so they would notice me. I guess it worked."

Further evaluations were held after he caught Mendenhall's eye, and young Devin didn't disappoint. His size, speed and untapped potential were enough for Coach Mendenhall to know this was a player he wanted in his football program.

"Yeah, that's what Coach Mendenhall said," said Devin. "I just tried my best and I guess I caught their eye. Coach Mendenhall said there was a play that I made where I came all the way across the field to make a cross-field tackle. Mendenhall didn't know it was me at the time … He drove his golf cart all the way over to see who it was that made the play. It just happened to be me, he said."

Cougar fans are going to see full well what big brother Bronson can do this season on the defensive line. In the near future, Corbin will bring his talents to the field as an offensive lineman. But when it comes to Devin, he brings his own set of unique skills to the field.

"I started out at outside linebacker but then played d-end in the second half of the game against Sky View," said Devin. "I'm around 6'5" or 6'6" and I weigh around 200 pounds, and so I started out at the backer position for the first half. Later the coaches moved me to the defensive end position."

A member of the 2015 class, Devin is a versatile athlete who will play multiple positions for Timpview High School this season. Meanwhile, what position Devin will play at BYU has yet to be determined.

"I think they see what my potential is with my physical body and stuff," Kaufusi said. "I think they've seen how my brothers have grown and are just kind of waiting to see how I grow. I played both outside linebacker and defensive end in our game last night. During my sophomore year I played d-end and tight end. I'm not sure where I'll play at BYU and I guess it depends on how I fill out."

There is one position in particular that is appealing to Devin.

"I'll play wherever they need me," Devin said. "It just really depends on where they need and I'll play that position. BYU's defense is a great program, and my dad was telling me that hopefully I could put the weight on and play on the defensive line. If not, then I can play outside backer and help out there. It would be awesome playing under my dad. It would just be great having that family bond as a player being coached by his dad at BYU."

Meanwhile, in addition to playing for BYU just like his brothers, Devin is planning on following their footsteps in another way.

"I want to serve a mission after high school and that's something that's important to me," he said. "Just knowing that my life is heading down the right path by being able to do what I love in serving the Lord and play the sport that I love is great. I couldn't be happier, and I'm so grateful for everything."

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