Taulapapa Offered by BYU

BYU has offered one of Hawaii’s top running backs from Punahou High School. To his surprise, Wayne Taulapapa, who is LDS, received a scholarship offer via telephone from BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall.

Considered one of the top running backs in the state of Hawaii, Punahou High School’s Wayne Taulapapa is well on his way to being the best. During his junior season last year, Taulapapa ran wild against powerhouse St. Louis High School. He ran the ball 15 times for 162 yards. Taulapapa averaged nine yards a carry in the 2014 season, which is good given the talent level in Hawaii.

“I’m 5’11”, 202-pounds right now and had 130 carries for 1,171 yards for nine yard per carry,” said Taulapapa. “I also caught the ball 14 times for 114 yards and one touchdown. For rushing touchdowns, I had 20 for a total of 21 touchdowns.

During his sophomore year in 2013, Taulapapa had 158 carries for 986 yards, averaging 6.2 yards per carry while scoring 14 touchdowns. He recorded 10 receptions for 150 additional yards scoring three more touchdowns. On the season he totaled 1,136 yards, 17 touchdowns, averaging 103 total yards per game.

“My style of running is I run hard and try to keep going,” he said. “I’m more of a physical north-south runner and try to use my speed to either run past defenders or over them. I try to be a powerful, physical runner who never gives up.”

Recently the Tualapapa family spoke to Bronco Mendenhall via telephone, where Coach Mendenhall was placed on speaker phone for the occasion. He addressed the family and then sprung a surprise on Wayne.

“Coach Mendenhall called my family on the phone and we had him on speaker phone,” said Taulapapa. “With all of us listening he just told us what he was looking for and it was great. Then he offered me a scholarship on the spot. I also got a chance to talk to Coach Atuaia and build that relationship with him. If I go to BYU he’ll be my running backs coach so it was great to talk with him. Coach Mendenhall was very kind and gave me the offer and gave the blessing to us.”

Hearing he was offered by BYU while sitting in his living room, Wayne Taulapapa was excited. The humble young man from Hawaii feels blessed to have such an honor.

“I was at a loss for words and didn’t know what to say,” said Taulapapa. “It was exciting at the same time. I was surprised but overwhelmed with joy and so were my parents. It’s just one of the first. BYU is one of the schools that I keep at the top. It’s exciting.

“It’s just an honor that I was able to receive my BYU offer, and I was able to speak to Bronco Mendenhall and Mark Atuaia, who were able to tell me a little more about the school. I also introduced them to my family. Hopefully we can continue to build a relationship and connection with the school.”

Taulapapa is LDS and knows a little about BYU because of his faith. The fact that BYU is his church college places the university at the top of his list.

“BYU is definitely on my mind because it is a LDS school with a great community around it,” said Taulapapa. “The fact that it’s also a LDS school just makes it that much better because it will help me in the future to always stay focus and to know where I’m from. I’m a Mormon and I’m just glad BYU is looking out.”

With offer from BYU and Colorado currently, and Navy and Vanderbilt showing interest, Taulapapa will take his time before making a final commitment decision.

“I also have an offer from Colorado and Navy and Vanderbilt are looking at me,” said Taulapapa. “Vanderbilt has asked for my transcripts and they’re showing interest so we’ll see where that goes.

“I’m just trying to keep my options open right now and stay focused. I’m just going to focus on my school and next season and just continue to try to get better. I just want to continue to work and in time I’ll make my decision when the time is right for me.”

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