"Just getting offered from BYU is a huge thing because of my background," said Hunt. "I'm LDS and I've grown up in Utah knowing about BYU. When I got the offer, I honestly was just honored and humbled. When Coach Mendenhall said I was being offered I honestly was just speechless. I didn't know what hit me and it was exciting."
Upon review, it is easy to understand why the coaches of BYU have extended a BYU scholarship offer to Hunt. Last season he recorded 61 tackles and 8.5 sacks as a rush defensive end for the Brighton Bengals, who Hunt plays for in football because The Waterford School doesn't have a football team. Last Wednesday, the Hunt family ventured down from Sandy, UT to Provo for an unofficial visit to BYU's campus. Although Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall was in California at the time, Hunt was able to meet up with BYU Outside Linebackers Coach Kelly Poppinga not knowing an offer was about to come his way.
"I went down there to BYU with my entire family last Wednesday," Hunt said. "I had no idea I was going to get an offer. I knew that BYU was strongly interested in me, but I had no idea that I was going to get an offer. When we went up there Coach Poppinga told us that Coach Mendenhall was in California and that he (Coach Mendenhall) was my recruiter. He said that I needed to call him after our visit."
After Hunt toured the campus to get a better understanding and feel of what BYU can provide, Coach Popping dialed up Coach Mendenhall and put Hunt on the phone with him.
"After the [unofficial] visit and my meeting with Coach Poppinga was finished, he (Poppinga) called Coach Mendenhall and I was able to talk with him," said Hunt. "He asked me what I learned, what I saw, how I feel about BYU, and what my goals are. We talked for about 10 minutes and it was a really good discussion."
The call to Coach Mendenhall was an exciting moment for Hunt. While touring the campus and soaking in the experience, he had forgotten that his unofficial visit to BYU would culminate with a phone conversation with Coach Mendenhall.
"When I was there that night I totally forget that we were going to call Coach Mendenhall," Hunt said with a chuckle in his voice. "I was just soaking everything is like the academics, the spiritual side of BYU, the football program and everything like that. When Coach Poppinga called Coach Mendenhall and then he told me that he wanted to offer me a full ride scholarship, I don't know, I didn't know how to feel because I was pretty much just speechless. I didn't really know what to say and told him, 'I'm just grateful and honored.' I was just speechless. I know this is only the start but I was thinking about all that hard work and how it's finally paying off. I just feel blessed for sure."
Mufi Hunt is a tall, rangy prospect. Hunt measures in at close to 6 foot-6 inches and 215 pounds. While Hunt is proving to have all the athletic ability of a successful high school football and basketball player, it is his character and perspective on life that separates him from most his age.
"The most important thing in my life has to be Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father, because without them I wouldn't have been blessed with these athletic abilities and been blessed with the offer," said a humble Hunt. "I'm just grateful for my Heavenly Father and all that he's done for me and my family. For me in my life that's the number one thing. The second thing that's most important in my life is my family.
"I just want to make sure that I take advantage of the blessings he's given me to bless my family, and to make sure that at the end of the day my mom and dad don't have to work anymore. I'm just so grateful for my parents and the sacrifices they've made for me. The third thing that is important in my life is academics. Academics are a big thing in my family. My mom always says, 'Without school there is no football' so I think one thing that I want to do is use what God has given me to bless my family and not let it go to waste."
From a young age, Mufi learned the value of service from his father Eugene. Following the close of his high school career, the talented football player will set aside his football cleats to serve a two-year LDS mission.
"Growing up from when I was little I've always wanted to go on a mission," Hunt said. "Nothing is going to change my mind. Going on a mission to me is one of the more important things to me. Taking two years out of my life to go serve and be able to teach the children of Heavenly Father is something I'm really looking forward to. People ask me, 'Okay, you're an athlete and you're going to be able to play college football, why would you want to go on a mission?' I always tell them, 'It's just two years of my life that I have to give back to my Heavenly Father for blessing me with that athleticism and opportunity to go to college. I have to give back to him.' I really look up to missionaries and think, 'One day I'm going to wear that nametag.' I look at missionaries as being up there with NFL players."
With Mufi's eyes squarely fixed on the missionary horizon, any college who recruits the talented Utah product will have to do so knowing he has more immediate priorities before ever suiting up at the college level. As of right now, Hunt has three scholarship offers on the table and is making his list of what he's looking for at the college level.
"I have one (offers) from Oklahoma, BYU, and Utah," Mufi said. "I've always just been the kind of kid that wants to stay close to home and be close to my family. One thing that I'm looking for is… gosh the coaches play a huge part. I definitely think the coaches play a big part. If I can get along with my coaches, and if he understands me and my goals of wanting to play at the next level, we can have a good relationship where I can play hard for him and the team I think that's a huge thing. The third thing is I want to be around great kids who are like me. I don't want to be around kids that are trouble and could influence me to get into trouble. As far as school goes, I believe pretty much no matter where I go I can get a good education. So, I think the biggest thing for me is pretty much being close to home and my relationship with the coaches."
Having spent some time with Coach Kelly Poppinga while visiting with his family on BYU's campus, Mufi Hunt has caught a glimpse into the man who helped coach up players like Ziggy Ansah, Spencer Hadley, Alani Fua, and All-American Kyle Van Noy.
"Gosh, Coach Poppinga… I love him," said Hunt. "He's definitely a player's coach and he's so energetic. He's pretty young and he's pretty fit, so I'm not going to mess with him."
Hunt continued to share his thoughts about Coach Poppinga.
"He knows and is really good with getting to know the players. Coach Popping is a coach I feel like I can really get along with. He knows what I want to do and where I want to go. Like I said before he's a player's coach and really energetic, and he's someone that you want to play for. On the spiritual side he's someone that's been on a mission, so he has that side of him that can relate to who you are on a spiritual level. BYU is the total package. Even at Utah with Coach Kalani Sitaki and the coach at Oklahoma, I feel like they're all just great people, but Coach Poppinga… one thing that I thought was he's just really energetic. I love that about him."
Totalbluesports.com will continue to follow the recruiting Mufi Hunt and report on any further developments in the near future. He wants to make a decision on where he will commit prior to the start of his senior year in order to focus on his last season without any distractions. Stay tuned!