Wayne Kirby Commits to BYU

Highland High School defensive lineman Wayne Kirby recently received a scholarship offer from BYU. It didn’t take long for the agile lineman to commit to BYU, fulfilling the dreams of a father who recently passed away.

James Kirby loved football. He also loved BYU and would cheer the Cougars on from his Idaho home. His adopted son, Wayne Kirby, plays defensive tackle and one day hoped that BYU would follow in the footsteps of colleges like Nevada, Army, and Washington State with a scholarship offer.

“I’m 6-3 and weight around 305. I bench around 410-pounds and was clocked at a 4.7 forty at our camp,” said Kirby. “It was hand timed, so I probably really run around a 4.8, but that’s really good at 300-pounds. A lot of people are shocked when they see me run. I haven’t maxed out in my squat for so long but the last time I did it, I did around 455-pounds. I’m sure I’m a lot stronger now.

“I have offers from Army, Nevada, and Washington State. I was about to get offered by Boise State, UNLV, and some other schools.”

Kirby recently attended the All Poly camp where in a single day’s performance was named one of the camp’s MVP's.

“I was the MVP at the All Poly Camp,” said Wayne Kirby. “I just tried to go in and played as hard as I could. I won every rep I went in on and won every one-on-one drill. I was only there for one day but I guess I did good enough to win the MVP.”

After attending the All Poly Camp, Kirby went down and attended the linemen camp at his father’s favorite college, BYU. After his MVP performance at the All Poly Camp, Kirby followed it up with a dominant performance at BYU. That’s when he received an offer that would have made his father proud.

“I had been recruited by Robert Anae and he came down to our school during the recruiting process,” said Kirby. “He wanted me to come down to their camp after the All Poly. I went and did all the one-on-one’s and afterwards they pulled me out and talked to me for about a half an hour. After the camp that’s when they offered me.”

The reason why it would have made his father proud is because James Kirby never got a chance to see his son receive his BYU offer. He suddenly passed away recently.

“Yeah, it was crazy man,” a somber Kirby said. “He had heart and kidney failure. It was crazy because one day he’s fine and just talking to everyone, and then the next day he was just gone. We all just sat there and were all gathered around him while he was in bed. Me my two brothers and my mom were around him as he took his last breath. It’s something I’ll never forget. It just motivates me to be the best I can for him.”

Sitting by himself in Bronco Mendenhall’s office, Wayne Kirby received a piece of paper which he read. It stated that BYU was offering him a scholarship to play football. With a smile on his face, his thoughts instantly turned to his father, James, thinking how proud he would have been of him.

“I was in Coach Mendenhall’s office and I read the piece of paper they give you saying that you’ve been offered,” Kirby said. “He talked to me about how special it is to get an offer from BYU. The first thing that went through my mind was my dad. He passed away about a month or so ago. I knew BYU was where he wanted me to go, so when I got the offer I thought about my dad.”

Adopted by the Kirby family when he was one year old, Wayne Tei-Autagavaia Kirby’s family is originally from the islands of Samoa. His father James Kirby cheered on the Cougars of BYU and wanted his son Wayne to play there one day.

“When BYU first offered me I was thinking about my dad and how proud he would have been of me,” Kirby said. “He loved BYU and always cheered for the Cougars. It’s been really hard on the family since he passed away. My father wasn’t here to see me get the offer but I know that I made him proud. I’m sure he’s smiling.”

Not long after Coach Mendenhall extended the scholarship to Wayne Kirby, he committed. He felt it was the right thing to do feeling BYU was the perfect fit for him honoring the wishes of his father James.

“Yeah, a big part of me committing to BYU is because my dad,” Kirby said. “My dad was a big BYU fan and my mom and brothers all wanted me to go there. I just felt like it was the right thing to do and that BYU is the right place for me. Everything about BYU is just right for me. It’s the best place I can go and the right fit for me in every way, so I felt there wasn’t a need to wait it out any longer and decided to make my decision.

“When I first told Coach Mendenhall started laughing and like, ‘Really?’ I actually called up Coach Kaufusi first and told him that I was committing. He was really excited as well and said he’s excited to coach me. He thinks I can really help them out a lot. Coach Anae was really excited too.”

The reason Robert Anae was excited about Wayne Kirby committing is because he possibly has his eye on him as a two-way player who could possibly play tight end for him much like the “bash brothers” tandem of Tanner Balderree and Steven Richards.

“Well, Coach Anae thinks I can possibly play tight end as well, so I might be doing both at BYU but we’ll see,” said Kirby with a chuckle in his voice. “I have a big body and he thinks I have the athleticism to play tight end. When I was out there he worked me out at the tight end position when I was at their camp. He liked my hands and athleticism and they threw me a bunch of balls. Plus I’m really fast for my size, so there was some talk about me playing tight end. We’ll see I guess.”

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