Although Handsome Tanielu has been committed to the University of Utah for some time now, the number three defensive lineman in the nation has recently had BYU on his mind. The reasons stem more from the idea that BYU represents something more than just a university.
“Well, honestly I’ve been thinking about BYU for a while,” said Tanielu. “I was just thinking that I really need to consider what I’m doing with my life, and where I need to be and what I need to do to get to where I want to be. I’ve always wanted to be around coaches that can be trusted and BYU is one of those schools that I love because of what they stand for. I’m definitely considering BYU. I haven’t committed but I’m definitely considering them. They’re in my tops right now, and I just love what they stand for. I love what they have to offer, and I love what the program is going to be going through in the next couple of years. It’s definitely something that I would love to be a part of.”
As far as a final choice on where Tanielu will play his college football, that question is still in flux as he goes through the process of figuring out what he feels is most important and where he needs to be.
“It’s just something that is so hard to just go through so quickly,” said Tanielu. “I’ve been going through this process for a while now, so, you know, it is part of the process. I’m sure what school I go to is the one that I need to be at. I’ve just been thinking about BYU and have put more thought in to it. I feel like I have a lot in common and will be able to figure it out.”
The Hawaiian native is currently playing at Snow Junior College is doing some soul searching. He’s digging deep within sifting through the fog to find what’s meaningful to him.
“Well, I’ve kind of gone through this stage for a while now and have ask myself, ‘What are the things I’m looking for?’” said Tanielu. “So far everywhere that I’ve been, and that I’m interested in has what I’m interested in. You know, like the education or the game time experience and things like that. I look for a feeling and ask myself things like, ‘Can I live there?’ or ‘Is this a place where I can see myself being at?’ or ‘Does the alumni support?’ Yes, BYU does have that factor where you can find a good girl to marry, and you can be LDS and have that opportunity to be among those of your own religion.
“I try not to use the religious factor but it is so critical that you do use it sometimes. You have to ask yourself, ‘Where do you want to live that will help you live the life you believe to be best for you?’ I believe I can go anywhere and represent myself as a latter-day saint, but at the same time I know at BYU it will be a little easier to live the life that I want to live. At the end of the day my decision is going to come after my last official visit to Missouri next weekend, I feel like the next couple of days to come across the answer I’m looking for.”
The Cougar staff at BYU believes that when players are successful on the football field they then become part of a larger national discussion that promotes the values of the university. For example the often discussed media topic of Tanner Mangum’s success despite not having played football for two years due to a LDS mission.
“That’s just more questions,” said Tanielu. “I mean when you think about being LDS and going to Oregon State, they’ll see me play and make plays but they’re not going to ask me about my mission. They’re just going to ask me about my play. At BYU, when you make plays and stand out they ask you, ‘Man, where did he serve his mission?’ That’s because at BYU it’s accepted and people care. Everywhere else it’s just about what you did on the football field.”
For Tanielu the final answer on where he should play his college football will come down to a simple feeling; a feeling of where he needs to be.
“It does really come down to that,” said Tanielu. “It’s about a feeling. I’m not going to go somewhere where I feel uncomfortable. When I took my official visit to BYU I had some of the best times. I wouldn’t have changed it any other way.”
So what was it about his official visit to BYU that was different from the rest he’s experienced?
“You know, honestly, it was just the feeling I got there,” Tanielu said. “It wasn’t too flashy, and it wasn’t too fancy, and it wasn’t what everyone else has. It was more about, ‘This is who we are and this is what we stand for and what we’re trying to do. This is what we’re facing in the next couple of year and we would like you to be a part of it.’ The players there want to be there and they work hard. You know, some of the players that I knew from the past that have been good friends of mine. It was good to be around them.”
The friends that Tanielu is referring to are Travis Tuiloma and an old friend from his home state of Hawaii, Graham Rowley. To be reunited with his friends of old who hold the same standards and values as him was quite refreshing for Tanielu. It was like coming home again.
“Oh definitely!” said Tanielu. “It was definitely a blessing to come across my old friends like Travis Tuiloma and Graham Rowley. It’s just good to be around those guys and I thought, ‘Man, it would be good to be around those guys next year. It would be good to be around the whole team but the d-line especially. You know, they weren’t trying to be something they weren’t. They were friendly and just being themselves. They weren’t trying to be gangsters and all-stars. They were just being who they are and being themselves. It just felt like home. It was all family oriented and it just felt like being at home again.”