Warren High School (Downey, CA) defensive lineman Kainoa Fuiava became the 26th member of BYU’s signing class earlier this afternoon. The 6-5, 295-pound lineman from Southern California is happy to be a Cougar for a myriad of reasons.
“BYU is a dream school for me because it is a church school and I have family that has had good memories there,” Fuiava explained. “I went [to BYU] on an unofficial there when I was really young so I know what it's like out there. I feel like Utah is like home because I have a lot of family out there as well. I also feel it’s easier for my family to drive ten hours to come to Utah to see me play rather than have the hassle of flying to Hawaii.”
Fuiava signed his National Letter of Intent to attend BYU earlier this afternoon at an event at his school, surrounded by family, friends, and high school teammates.
BYU entered the recruiting sweepstakes for Fuiava late but he is happy a simple email changed his collegiate future.
“My (high school’s) recruiting coach sent an email to Coach (Steve) Kaufusi with my film & Coach Kaufusi called us back like two minutes later,” Fuiava said. “I have been talking to Coach Kaufusi for 2 weeks now. He gave me a call on Tuesday night and he made the official offer to me.”
An LDS athlete who doesn't plan on serving a mission, Kainoa had been planning on signing with the University of Hawaii yesterday, seeing as the Rainbow Warriors had been his lone offer, but everything changed on Tuesday night.
“On Tuesday I told [Hawaii defensive line] coach Legi (Suiaunoa) I was going to sign with Hawaii and right after I got done talking to him, Coach Kaufusi called with my full ride scholarship offer to BYU,” Fuiava explained.
“[BYU]’s a dream school of mine,” Kainoa continued. “So I called Coach [Suiaunoa] back immediately and let him know ahead of time that I was going to sign with BYU so that he could go ahead and find someone else for Hawaii to sign.”
Kainoa Fuiava will be joining some of his cousins in suiting up for BYU. Keanu Saleapaga, who signed with BYU yesterday, and incoming Notre Dame transfer Tyler Luatua are two of Fuiava’s cousins that will be playing with him in Provo.
In talking with Coach Kaufusi, Kainoa got an idea of where he’ll be lining up for the Cougars.
“They want me to play all around the defensive line as both a 3 and 5-technique,” Kainoa said. "[At Warren] we played both a 3-4 & a 4-3 defense depending on how we matched up against the offense we were playing so I am comfortable playing both of those positions BYU wants me to play.”
In conclusion, Fuiava wanted BYU fans to know of his eagerness to be a BYU Cougar. He considers today to be an early birthday gift (He turns 18 on February 9th, 2016).
“[Today’s] a big day and I’m excited,” Said Fuiava. “I will be up there (on campus at BYU) this summer and I am ready to get started.”