“My relationship with BYU is great and I always call K-Popp (Kelly Poppinga) and we have great talks,” said Heimuli-Lund. “I’m trying to get back down on campus soon. BYU is really up there for me, but people have counted them out for whatever reason. I love BYU.”
One reason why Heimuli-Lund still hold BYU high on his list is because of the unique LDS environment found on campus, and within the football program, that can’t be found at such a level anywhere in the country.
“Yeah, that’s exactly why,” said Heimuli-Lund. “The religious factor plays a big part in everything. Also Coach Tidwell, I just love Coach Tidwell. There is just something about that man that makes me want to play for him and also Bronco as well. That’s why BYU is just so awesome.”
When it comes to relating to the values, needs, and concerns of LDS athletes, BYU coaches have an inside track. They understand the pressures of living the lives taught to them by their parents within the home in today’s society. It’s on this level that Sione Heimuli-Lund can connect and relate with the BYU coaching staff on a more personal level.
“Yeah, I think it’s because we have more of a connection outside of football as well,” said Heimuli-Lund. “Whenever I meet with Coach Tidwell he’s honest and tells me how it is and what I have to do. I just like that about him and think one reason why he’s like that is because of his faith and who he is. I just like that about him where most colleges will just tell me everything I want to hear. When I talk to Coach Tidwell, he tells me how it really is and how it will be when I get there. I really like that and, of course, the life outside of football is something he’s honest about. That’s why I have a better relationship with Coach Tidwell.”
Collegiate recruiters can often times paint a glorious, yet unreal picture in an effort secure the services of young athlete like Heimuli-Lund. The stripped down and candid honesty from the likes of Paul Tidwell, Kelly Poppinga, Bronco Mendenhall and the rest of the BYU staff has become a breath of fresh air for Heimuli-Lund who has been inundated with college recruiting sales pitches.
“It has been very refreshing,” said Heimuli-Lund. “[Coach Tidwell] told me about the roles that I would play and about some of the players of the past that I compare to. He told me the roles that I would play and I love that! I saw myself doing that and it makes me excited too.”
Heimuli-Lund’s play is very comparable that of former BYU middle linebacker Uani Unga, who racked up 143 tackles his senior year and recently signed a three year deal with the New York Giants. BYU fans should be very happy to know that a local player in Heimuli-Lund, with similar skills to Unga, still holds BYU at the top of his list for the Heimuli-Lund sweepstakes.
“Oh yeah, of course they should be happy!” he said. “I mean, I’m all for BYU and I love BYU and I’m not trying to hide that. Many are counting BYU out because of the other offers that I have, but I’m a hometown kind of guy and BYU has always been the school for me ever since I was younger. I’ve always been a huge BYU fan.”
In closing, Heimuli-Lund had one thing left to say to BYU fans to ensure them that BYU is still right in the fire for his services.
“Just let everyone know that I love the Cougars,” said Heimuli-Lund. “Like I said I’m not trying to hide that.”