“I had talked to my high school’s head coach that morning, and he said that I should give Nick Howell a phone call,” Hifo recalled. “I gave Coach Howell a call and then I gave Coach Mendenhall a call after. He really didn’t talk to me about sports or anything. He just talking to me about school, family, and church. Then he broke the news to me. It was shocking.”
Aleva Hifo couldn’t believe the news. BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall had just offered him a scholarship to play at a school he’s had his sights on since he was in the eighth grade. The offer by Coach Mendenhall was the fulfillment of a long journey.
“I’m very excited and I didn’t believe it at first,” said Hifo. “I questioned him like, ‘Wait what?’ and he said it again, ‘I’m offering you a scholarship.’ It’s been a long time coming.”
From the time Hifo was in junior high, Hifo had always wanted to play football at BYU. So, naturally, when he received the news from Coach Mendenhall that he was being offered he couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“I couldn’t believe what he was saying and kept questioning him about it,” Hifo said. “BYU has always been my dream school since the eighth grade. I had been going to camps out there since then, and I’ve been drawing interest from them ever since I had been going out there for camps. It’s just always been a goal of mine to go out there since that time. I still don’t believe it.”
The conversation between Hifo and Mendenhall was typical in nature between BYU’s head coach and a recruit. Hifo had planned on committing to BYU following the offer Friday but will wait until the entire family is together today.
“It’s not just about football but more than that,” said Hifo. “It’s also about getting an education and growing to become more than a football player. I’ve seen how BYU has changed my cousin [Sione Takitaki]. I can see how much he’s changed and how much BYU has affected him after only a year. I can only imagine what he’ll be like after four years both on and off the field.”
“I didn’t have a chance to talk to Coach Mendenhall yesterday. I’ll do that today when my parents are home, so we can talk to him together. We should be able to do that tonight when both my parents are home.”
Following the phone call from Coach Mendenhall, Hifo received another call. However, this time it was from his first cousin Sione Takitaki who knew all along, but kept it quiet, that his younger cousin would be receiving a BYU scholarship offer.
“Yeah, I talked to Sione last night,” Hifo said. “He called me and told me that he was holding it all in because he knew already. He didn’t want to break the news to me. He wanted it to be a surprise, so after the coaches called me he was like, ‘I told you. I did my part.’ He was happy for me.”
Hifo not only plays football but also plays baseball where he holds a .350 batting average. He had hoped to possibly play baseball and football at BYU but will wait to see if that happens or not. He’ll play cornerback and possibly special teams.
“They offered me as a cornerback on the defensive side,” said Hifo. “They told me they were going to have me be an athlete and play more than just corner back. They also want me returning kicks or punts too, so I’ll be playing on more than one side of the ball. I’ll mostly be playing on the defensive side and then we’ll go from there.”
Hifo plans on going on a two-year LDS mission after high school graduation and then returning home to play at BYU.
“I’ll go on a mission and then come home and play football for four to five years,” Hifo said. “I have a pretty strong mindset on doing that. I’ll go on my mission and then after two years I’ll know where I’ll be. I’m just excited about this whole opportunity and still can’t believe that I’ve been offered by Coach Mendenhall to play football at BYU. It’s been a long time coming and this is a dream come true.”
Congratulations to Aleva Hifo on receiving his BYU scholarship offer. It’s been a long goal set many years ago, but the hard work and patience has finally paid off. Welcome to the BYU football family.