It was a great day for Ale Kaho who journeyed from Reno, Nevada to Provo, Utah this week in hopes he could achieve a goal he had long had in mind. Having been picked up at the Salt Lake City airport, Kaho attended BYU’s summer camp earlier this week with his uncle, Pulu Otukolo. During the morning drills, Kaho dominated to the surprise of every coach, who wondered who this kid from Reno High School was.
“Every drill I did each coach would ask me for my name, where I was from, and how old I was,” said Kaho. “Towards the end of Wednesday’s practice a coach came up to me and asked me about my transcripts, so I kind of had a feeling that something was going on. Then I heard coach Reno Mahe talking to my uncle [Pulu Otukolo] asking him about that Reno kid. I kind of had a feeling that something might happen but I didn’t want to jump to conclusions.”
Kaho hoped his gut feeling was correct. With hope and cautious anticipation, he waited while moving forward with an eye fixed on the prize. With the sound of the whistle he brushed aside opponents at every drill.
“I just kept doing what I was doing every drill during every segment of the camp,” said Kaho. “The whole camp I just stayed focused on doing my best. Then the coaches came to me and said that I was a good fit for their program, and that I was the type of player they wanted. I was really excited because they were showing interest in me, but I just stayed focused on my mindset of coming to BYU with the goal of what I wanted to do from the beginning, which was to get a scholarship offer.”
His steadfast demeanor and hard work paid off. In the end, Kaho was brought into the office of BYU defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki who presented him with some welcome news.
“I had a meeting with Coach Tuiaki in his office,” said Kaho. “He showed me stuff on the board and said, ‘We really like you and we like how you play. We want to give you time to talk to your parents first, but we want to offer you a BYU scholarship to come play for this program.’”
Kaho came to BYU with the hope he would achieve a BYU scholarship. His faith led him to tell him parents the day before that he believed he was going to receive an offer and told his parents that when that happens he was going to commit.
“When coach Tuiaki told me he was offering me a scholarship and wanted me to talk to my parents first before I made any decision, I told him that I already talked to them the day before,” Kaho said. “I believed that I was going to get an offer, so I already talked to my parents about it. Right after I told him that I already told my parents already, I told him that I’m committing.”
In reality, the one who was surprised was Coach Tuiaki. Kaho already believed he was going to receive an offer, spoke to his parents about it, and then waited for when BYU gave him the offer so he could surprise them with a commitment on the spot.
“After I was offered, Coach Tuiaki said, ‘Just go and talk to your parents about it,’” Kaho said. “After that I said, ‘Well, I already talked to my parents about it and feel that BYU is the right place for me.’ I told him, ‘Coach, I’m going to commit.’ Right after that he had a big smile on his face and got up and gave me a big hug. I think I really surprised him.”
With Kaho’s commitment to Coach Tuiaki, BYU is getting an outstanding outside linebacker who plays both ways for Reno High School. At 6-2, 220-pounds, Kaho plays running back and outside linebacker, having a blend of speed and physicality beyond his years.
“I just have a feel for the game and it just comes natural to me,” said Kaho. “What I like to do is target where I’m going to hit, then strike! I have really good instincts.”
Kaho was first offered by Utah after he attended a morning session at BYU. He and his uncle Pulu Otukolo made a trip up to Utah where he attended a camp session there. Utah offered him following the session, joining Nevada has the two colleges to do so. BYU wanted Kaho to return to their Provo camp, which he did the following day, in order to extend an offer in person.
“After the first session at the BYU camp, we had a lunch break,” said Kaho. “I went and visited Utah. It was just an unofficial visit and I thought I was going to just tour the campus. I met with the linebacker’s coach and they took me in a room where they watch film. The linebacker’s coach [Justin Ena] was the same coach I had last year at the All Poly Camp, and he told me that I had matured and was a much different player than I was last year. He told me that he liked how I played the game, how I tackled and get leverage. He likes how I’m fast and a smooth runner, and then he asked me if I was going on a mission. He said he wanted me to be committed to myself first of all and then to working hard. After that he said he wanted to offer me a scholarship.”
The following day, Kaho came back down to Provo to receive his highly anticipated BYU scholarship offer and commit to Coach Tuiaki. There were many reasons why Kaho chose to commit to BYU, one of which was to follow in his idol, and fellow Reno, Nevada native Kyle Van Noy’s footsteps.
“I think BYU is a good fit for me too,” Kaho said. “Being around the coaches and being at BYU reminds me of home. I’m LDS and growing up I watched Kyle Van Noy play at BYU. He’s also from Reno, Nevada and was kind of my idol growing up. Having that BYU scholarship right there in front of me, seeing the type of coaches that are there, seeing the environment at BYU, and feeling the atmosphere around BYU made me feel like I was at home. I’m also LDS and want to serve a mission and BYU is my church college. I believe that when I’ll play for BYU, I won’t just play for a college football program. I’ll play to represent a people and a faith and my church, so I’m choosing to play at BYU because I want to play for something more.”
Now that news of Kaho’s offer from BYU is out, many colleges have quickly taken interest in learning more about who this wonderkid from Reno, Nevada is.
“A family member of mine who has helped me with recruiting told that Vanderbilt wanted to talk with me after they heard that BYU had offered me,” Kaho said. “He said that UCLA, Stanford, and Louisville and some ACC and SEC schools are also now interested. He said I might have more offers coming before I leave BYU.”
However, Kaho is firmly set with his commitment to BYU. His family both here in the state of Utah and back home at Reno, Nevada are ecstatic about the offer and his commitment to BYU.
“Yeah, regardless I’m staying committed to BYU,” said Kaho with a chuckle. “I think BYU is the best place for me, so it doesn’t matter what offers come my way. I want to go on my mission and play for BYU.”