Christmas came early for East High School (Salt Lake City, UT) sophomore Paul Maile. Last month he received an offer from BYU’s defensive coordinator, Ilaisa Tuiaki, who came up to East High to personally extend the offer as Maile sat alongside his head coach Brandon Matich.
“It was pretty exciting because BYU offered me last month in April,” said Maile. “Me and one of my teammates came to school and during one of my classes we were pulled out by our football coaches. We met with the coaches and with Coach Tuiaki. That’s when he offered me and Sam Vakalahi a scholarship. He’s an offensive tackle too.”
Paul Maile plays on one side of the offensive line and Sam Vakalahi plays on the other side as bookend tackles. When the two were at first called out of class they were afraid something was wrong. When they saw Coach Tuiaki all fears were quickly set aside.
“I didn’t even know Coach Tuiaki was down there to see us,” Maile said with a chuckle in his voice. “When we first got called out of class by our coach I thought we were in trouble with Coach Matich for something. I didn’t know what was wrong and wasn’t sure what was going on. I was in shock when I looked up and saw Coach Tuiaki standing there. That’s when I felt a lot better.”
The two Tongan boys received an opportunity to further their education, and the news being they had an offer from the BYU Cougars to do such a thing excited the both of them.
“We were just excited about that whole experience,” said Maile. “It was a really cool thing to experience to have that with one of my close teammates. Sam [Vakalahi] was really excited about it too. Coach Tuiaki told us about the summer camp and wanted us to come down there. After that we just both went back into the classroom. It was a humbling experience but we were both really excited.”
Already in possession of good size for a high school sophomore, Paul Maile is a two-way player for East. However, Coach Tuiaki is looking at Maile to play on his side of the ball.
“I’m 6-3, 260-pounds and I play mostly d-line and offensive line,” Maile said. “I played mostly on offense last year and played a little on defense. BYU wants me to play defensive end and I’m open to that. I’m just grateful they want me to play for them.”
Maile is a very humble young man, who after receiving the BYU offer didn’t shine the spotlight upon himself. When his teacher asked him what had happened, he had the chance to boast in front of his classmates. However, he played coy and didn’t say much about the offer. He kept the exciting experience to himself.
“Yeah, I didn’t say much to anyone,” Maile said. “I just kind of kept it quiet and didn’t want to really say anything. When people started asking me about it I would just say, ‘Go Cougs!’ Yeah, I didn’t want to brag or anything and just kept it to myself. If they really push me then yeah I tell them. I just hope we can bring college looks to the other kids on our team.”
Maile intends on going to Provo to attend BYU’s summer camp this year. He wants to better know BYU’s new coaching staff and get a feel for what it would be like learning and playing under the new BYU staff.
“I want to go down to BYU this summer to go to the summer camp,” said Maile. “I went down there last year and it was a lot of fun. It was good to see all the coaches and be with them. I’m looking forward to seeing the new coaching staff and getting to know them. I’m excited now that I have a BYU offer.
“I’m really excited about my BYU offer because I really like the atmosphere down there. I’ve been to a few games this past years and a few years past that. My uncle Steve [Kaufusi] coaches out there at BYU, so I really like it out there.”
Paul Maile looks up to his uncle Steve Kaufusi, and while he would have the honor of being coached by him at BYU, the fact that a relative of his is down there won’t be the deciding factor on his final decision.
“Yeah, Steve is my uncle and he’s a very humble guy,” said Maile. “I don’t know how much that will affect me to go to BYU. It is a good thing to have family there though. I’m only a sophomore so I have a few years left to figure it all out.”
While his playing days at a specific college is currently unknown at this point in time, Maile does have one goal in mind firmly planted.
“After high school I do plan on going on my mission,” Maile said. “That’s one thing that I really want to do and then go from there. I have a few years to go before I leave on my mission too.”