Cougars land Texan offensive lineman

The Cougars of BYU hit the road this past weekend for a slugfest with the Cougars of Houston. In attendance to watch the game were a few BYU recruits, one of which is a first-team all-state offensive lineman from Texas who decided BYU is where he wants to be.

Earlier in the month Tejan Koroma made an official visit to Arkansas State. While Koroma has yet to step foot on BYU's campus, the 6-foot, 260-pound center from Allen, Texas was in Reliant Stadium this past weekend to watch the Cougars of BYU take on the Cougars of Houston.

"That was a fun game to be at, that's for sure," said Koroma. "I was happy that BYU came out on top. After the game I made a decision."

Koroma had scholarship offers from Air Force, Army, New Mexico, UTEP, Arkansas State and BYU. Following BYU's tough 47-46 win on Saturday, Koroma decided to end the recruiting process by committing to BYU.

"I guess I was just very impressed by what BYU had done down in Houston," he said. "After the game, I called up Coach Tujague and I let him know that I was committing to BYU and that I'm ready to be a Cougar of BYU. Coach Tujague was really excited and said that he was ready to coach me over the next four years."

Upon learning of his decision, the entire Koroma family celebrated.

"Oh yeah, my family was very excited," said Koroma with a slight laugh. "My mom was telling people that I had committed to BYU before I even did and like the day I got the offer. She was telling people, 'Oh yeah, he'll be going to BYU next year for sure.' She was already set on BYU."

With the decision process finally over, Koroma can finally let it all sink in and enjoy the fact he can now live his dream of playing college football at BYU.

"I mean, it's almost like I can't put it in words, that's how excited I am," said Koroma. "There are a lot of people that wish they could have the opportunity to go play football at BYU, and I'm actually a blessed one that gets to go do it. I guess that's the word you could put to this whole situation. I'm just blessed to have this opportunity and live the dream."

Koroma chose BYU in part because of the strength of the football program and its fan base.

"BYU really is just a big-time program. I consider BYU to be on the same level as Texas, Oklahoma, and you name it," said Koroma. "BYU is a name that's up there with all the big name programs, and they have fans all over the country. When I was at the Houston game there were so many BYU fans there supporting BYU, it seemed like there were just as many as Houston fans. BYU plays the best around the country and if you want to be the best you have to play the best. BYU does that and I want to be a part of the program."

Because of varying issues that have plagued BYU's front five, the offensive line has been a continued work in progress. BYU's offensive line hasn't quite lived up to the standard Coach Tujague and Coach Anae have envisioned thus far.

"I'm excited because the coaches at BYU believe that I can come in and help the program in the future," said Koroma. "I believe I can do that as well and be able to go there and help the offensive line. I'm just grateful they've given me that opportunity and it's exciting to know they believe I can be the type of lineman they're looking for. It's exciting for sure."

Koroma is LDS and lives by the standards of his beliefs, and now that he has committed to BYU, he feels there is a mantle of responsibility to be better in every way.

"I love going to church and being around the members of my faith," Koroma said. "I just need to continue what I've been doing and maybe take it to the next level. I just really want to try and represent BYU right now and I'm going to do my best to represent the university that I've committed to. I want to be the best person and athlete I can be because BYU represents more than just a university.

"When I had gotten that offer from BYU there were so many people who reached out to me congratulating me. I had people tell me and tweet me and all that saying, 'Good job and congratulations on your BYU offer.' It's just so exciting and a lot of people realize that BYU is a pretty big deal because of what BYU stands for. I'm honored that the coaches feel I can go there and uphold those standards. I just have to continue to prove that I'm worthy of the opportunity. I have to now prove that I'm worthy and ready to be a part of BYU."

Koroma currently benches 365 pounds and squats 500. Last season he was named among the top offensive linemen in the state of Texas. He was named a first-team all-state performer as a center, and used strong leverage to pancake opponents.

"It's about mid-season for us and we've got about another nine games," said Koroma. "I'm hoping I'm on track to beat last year's pancake [block] record. I'm about at the same point I was last year because we're passing a lot more this season. I'm at around 30 pancakes or so. Last year I ended at around 60, so I have to keep working hard to beat that number."

Koroma wants to come in and try and see the field as soon as he can at the center position.

"As of right now the plan is to just go to BYU. I don't have any pans at this time to serve a mission," Koroma said. "I'm just going to do my best and hopefully I can see the field as soon as possible. I'm just excited for the opportunity to come in and try my best. The next few years should be an exciting experience for me and, like I said, I just feel blessed for the opportunity to be at BYU."

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