“I’m interested in seeing how he’ll do out there,” Longson said. “It’s going to be kind of neat to see how he comes along. I’m kind of excited to see how well he does. I can’t wait to meet him in person and see what he can do.”
And so too many of the BYU coaches who have taken a big risk in offering the Tongan, who has never played high school football before, a scholarship. However, as Bronco Mendenhall pointed out on signing day, ‘You can’t coach 6’7” and 410 pounds’ but he can ‘teach the rules of the game.’ It will be interesting to see if and how quickly Langi can develop and compete against experienced and more polished players like Kieffer Longson.
“I say bring it on!” Longson said with a chuckle in his voice. “He’s a really big guy and I really can’t wait to meet him. It’s going to be great if you ask me because it will just mean greater competition. I don’t know how good he’ll be, but if you’re moving 410 pounds out of the way every day it will definitely help get you better.”
It’s not often that one meets a 400-pound player on the football field, but Longson has already had the privilege not once but twice. The first time was during his sophomore year.
“There was actually a player that I faced before that was around 400 pounds,” Longson said. “It was during my sophomore year and he would just dive at my knees every time. I had to wheel barrow him, but he wasn’t 6’7” or anything like that. He was more like 6’4” or 6’5”.”
Then he recalls a time when he faced another 400-pound football player that, well, sort of stunned him visually at first. This time Longson wondered how he would be able to move his opponent off the ball due to his odd shape.
“Then there was another kid that was around 5’8” and he was around 400 pounds,” Longson recalled. “That guy scared me! Well, he didn’t scare me but I was like, ‘Whoa!’ I’ve never seen a guy built like that. I didn’t know what to think. When I went up against him it wasn’t too bad. I just kind of pushed him over easily enough. He just kind of stood there and I would just push him over.”
When Longson first heard that BYU was bringing in their own 400-pound player, he was excited to see who is was and what he could do.
“I was like, ‘Great!’ and I heard this kid has never played football before,” said Longson. “I can’t wait to meet him and hopefully he’ll turn out to be a great player. I’m kind of excited because I can work with him, and we can get each other better by working each other as hard as we can. I’m actually looking for to playing with him and against him for a few different reasons. I think it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Unlike the previous 400-pound players Longson has already faced in his high school career, he’s seen how Langi carries his weight. He does, however, wonder how Langi’s size would affect him in a go fast, go hard offense if playing on the d-line doesn’t pan out.
“From what I’ve seen he holds his weight really well,” said Longson. “If he doesn’t he’ll probably be moved to offensive guard. I think once he gets going his weight will probably drop, but who knows what will happen and maybe he’ll just stay at around 410 pounds. I’ve been told he moves really well with his weight, and it’s exciting to see what can come of this. It’s exciting to see that kind of size to our D-line or O-line.”
Longson was told by Coach Tujague that if Langi can’t pick up the nuances of playing nose guard then he’ll probably be moved to offensive guard.
“I think it would be cool to have him next to me at the guard position. Coach Tujague was telling me that he wanted him as an offensive guard,” said Longson. “I don’t know really. I just think it would be tough to be at that size and play in this offense. Even for me at 300 pounds it’s going to be tough because of the pace in which the offense runs. I actually think I might have to lose some weight so I can perform at a higher level for a longer period of time within this offense.
“Coach Tujague even said he would like me to lose a few pounds. I can’t imagine what he would want [Langi] to do being at around 410 pounds. I don’t know, maybe he can perform at a high level at that size. I just don’t know and think it would be tough. Also guards are also pulling a lot, so I can imagine that would be something he would have to get a little lighter for. I guess we’ll see.”
Like Longson, I guess we’ll have to just wait and see what plays out when Motekiai Langi returns from the mission field in time for the 2017 football season.