Handsome Tanielu Tantalized by BYU Offer

BYU first got a good look at Hawaiian defensive lineman Handsome Tanielu four years ago when he was 17 years old during the All-Poly Camp held at Kapolei Park. Now he’s a little older, served a two-year LDS mission, and is currently playing JUCO ball at Snow College. Last Friday, prior to BYU’s "Friday Night Lights," he officially received a scholarship offer from Bronco Mendenhall.

Prior to this past Friday, Snow College defensive lineman Handsome Tanielu had been given a verbal offer from BYU as he waited for actual scholarship offer to come in from BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall. Last Friday, Coach Mendenhall made it official and extended Tanielu an official BYU scholarship offer.

“It’s definitely a privilege and I’ve always been a fan of BYU,” Tanielu said. “You've gotta love it and it’s just another way of sharing the gospel. I’m happy about my scholarship offer.”

When asked, “What makes BYU different?” Tanielu replied, “This is a program that’s led by good people and it’s a good staff,” said Tanielu. “It’s not like there aren’t other good coaching staffs or anything, but they have a perspective that others don’t have. They have a sense of leadership, motivation and focus that other coaches don’t have.”

BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi has been evaluating and recruiting Tanielu for a long time. Kaufusi first met Tanielu, who was a top defensive lineman performer at the All Poly Camp, during the summer of 2009 when he was 17 years old. That same coach that recruited Tanielu back then brought him into Bronco Mendenhall’s office to receive his official scholarship offer. It had been a long time coming, but years later Tanielu was now ready to receive the honor.

“Well, Coach Kaufusi brought me into Coach Mendenhall’s office and he’s been the coach that was recruiting me since I was in high school,” said Tanielu. “He coached me at the All Poly Camp back in 2009. We had a good talk and we just talked about how we can make a difference in the world and not just by football but be good examples both spiritually and mentally.”

BYU has had some recent success sending outside linebackers to the NFL. Coach Mendenhall spoke to Tanielu about being a pioneer and establishing a similar trend along the defensive line position.

“He talked about a trend of having four or five star recruits coming here and starting a trend of coming to BYU and then going to the NFL,” Tanielu said. “I had two thoughts in my mind. I had the thought of being someone who could start the trend of bringing in the four or five star recruits [to BYU] or should I go somewhere else? My thoughts are definitely very high and my interests are very high with BYU. I feel like I have a lot of praying to do.”

Being in attendance for BYU’S Friday Night Lights, Tanielu watched as BYU’s offense and defense scrimmaged under the lights of Lavell Edwards Stadium. He enjoyed what he saw and feels if he came to BYU, he could contribute right away.

“I feel like I can contribute,” Tanielu said. “I’m excited and if it’s meant to be and I’m here then I plan on making an impact.”

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