Solofa Funa Explains BYU Commitment

Just down the road from BYU is a versatile athlete plying his trade on the gridiron for the Spanish Fork Dons. Solofa Funa is just beginning to get recognition for his commitment to BYU but it’s a commitment he gave some months ago and doesn’t plan to break. He’s excited for the opportunity to be a BYU Cougar.

Solofa Funa may be a name many BYU fans are unfamiliar with but should get to know. The 2016 prospect plays for Spanish Fork High School, just down I-15 from BYU. He’s a jack of all trades on the field, playing middle and outside linebacker on defense in Spanish Fork’s 4-3 defensive alignment and playing running back and slot receiver on offense. The 6’1”, 215-pound athlete could play a myriad of positions at the collegiate level so where will he be lining up for the Cougars?

“They want me to play at linebacker at BYU,” Explained Funa. “As of right now, it’s looking like I’ll play inside linebacker but I have another year for them to decide where they want me to play.”

In talking with Funa, it became apparent that he was not a recent commit to the BYU football program. In fact, he committed last summer after attending BYU’s summer camp.

“I went to BYU a couple weeks after their padded camp last summer to meet with Coach Mendenhall,” Solofa clarified. “My dad and uncle were with me. We were in his office and he handed me the sheet of paper with my scholarship offer on it.”

After getting the offer, it was an easy choice for Funa.

“I grew up following BYU and my entire family knew I was a BYU diehard,” Funa said. “When they offered me, I committed right away.”

Funa isn’t sure why news of his commitment didn’t make the headlines last summer but media and the fans alike weren’t alone in their surprise of his having an offer and committing. It even caught the BYU recruiting department by surprise.

“I went to the scrimmage last Friday (“Friday Night Lights”) and a member of the recruiting department asked me if I had been offered,” Funa explained. “I told him I had been offered and committed last summer. He was surprised. It was kind of surprising to me [that he didn’t know], but it’s OK.”

Funa is a big proponent of what Brigham Young University stands for as well as its football program. His decision to commit to BYU was based on more than just football.

“For me growing up, I grew up with LDS church standards,” Said Funa “It’s what has kept me going day-to-day and also in football. When Coach Mendenhall said that BYU holds each of their students to that standard, it [stood] out to me and it gave me the impression that it was the place for me.”

When [Coach Mendenhall] mentioned the education aspect of BYU, it was big for me. My dad’s number one priority for my siblings and me was to go to college and get an education.”

Funa has been receiving interest from Utah and Utah State but neither program has extended a scholarship offer. BYU inside linebackers coach Paul Tidwell and running backs coach Mark Atuaia, as well as defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi have built solid relationships with Funa during the recruiting process.

“Coach Tidwell has been the main coach who has been talking to me,” Explained Solofa. “I have also talked with Coach Kaufusi and Coach Atuaia. I love Coach Atuaia. He’s very funny.”

Funa is glad BYU wants him as a linebacker. He feels it suits him better as a player.

“I love defense,” Stated Funa. “It pumps me up knowing that I get to go out and hit a lot of kids on the field. I love playing linebacker.” Finally, Funa is grateful to Coach Mendenhall and the entire BYU football program for allowing him the opportunity to suit up as a Cougar in the future.

“I just want to thank BYU (publically) for the offer and the opportunity to commit there.”

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