“Oh man, that offer is big for me!” said Gaoteote. “Growing up in the islands everyone talked about UH or BYU. BYU has always been in my head ever since I was little.”
Gaoteote grew up in the central part of the island of Oahu, in the city of Mililani, nestled between the Ko’Olau and Waianae mountain ranges before moving to Las Vegas, Nevada. Growing up he knew of two colleges that everyone on the islands talked about. One was the local university in the University of Hawaii, and the other was BYU.
“Yeah, I’ve always heard about BYU in Hawaii and have some family that live out in Laie side,” said Gaoteote. “They would always cheer for BYU, so I know a little about the college just from growing up in Hawaii when I was younger.”
The BYU coach that offered him was none other than assistant head coach Ed Lamb, who’s had his eye on Gaoteote for some time now. BYU had offered Gaoteote a while back, but Gaoteote never received word of it for some reason.
“I think it was Coach Lamb who offered, me but he came out here a long time ago to visit,” said Gaoteote. “He came out to check out one of our spring practices. Then I talked with him for a little bit and he relayed to my coaches that BYU had offered me, but the coaches didn’t relay it to me until a few days ago.
“I didn’t know all this time until the other day, but then I met up again with Coach Lamb, Coach Mahe, and Coach T.O. [Tevita Ofahengaue]. We were just talking and kicking back. I felt comfortable around them and they’re really cool guys.”
Gaoteote met up with BYU’s coaches at a satellite camp that was held in Las Vegas recently.
“Yeah, we mostly talked about everyday things,” he said. “I was talking with Coach Reno Mahe, Coach T.O. and we were able to joke around because we’re all Poly, so it was cool talking it up with them. We could all relate easily with each other. I loved joking around with those two.
“With Coach Lamb, it was really chill. We just talked about football and the program and about BYU. He’s a really good guy and was letting me know things about the school and the program. It was really cool.”
Meant as a relay through his coaches at Bishop Gorman, BYU had offered Gaoteote earlier than he had previously known. He was wondering if and when BYU would extend that offer.
“I was wondering for a little bit about that,” Gaoteote said. “Coach T.O. told me, ‘I’ll see you some time over the summer.’ I ended up meeting him, so it was really cool talking with him and meeting them. I was always wondering if I could get a scholarship from them.”
When the offer finally came through, Gaoteote was excited. He now wants to come out to Provo to check out the campus, environment, and get a firsthand understanding of what makes BYU a special place.
“I was excited about that offer and they’re a great program and one of the best in their division,” said Gaoteote. “I’m excited about heading out there and checking BYU out. I’m definitely excited about that and want to check out the campus. I’ll probably do that during the season.”
Playing both inside and outside linebacker, depending on the formation, Gaoteote is the nation’s number two-ranked outside linebacker in the country in 2018 class. Getting him on campus would be a major success.
“Yeah, I definitely want to go out there for sure,” he said. “I want to see more of what it’s all about. I’m just excited that BYU offered me. I love BYU.”
Other colleges that have offered Gaoteote make up a very prestigious list.
“I think I have BYU, Washington State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Notre Dame, Ohio State, UW, USC, UCLA, Ole Miss, Auburn, and Utah. I’m sure I’m missing some but there’s a lot.”
To date there are a total of 17 scholarship offers on the table, so Gaoteote has a lot to choose from. However, there are a few things he is looking for in a university.
“A great fan base, coaching staff, and honestly if there are Poly’s there,” Gaoteote said.
So does BYU stack up well on his list of what he’s looking for at the next level?
“Oh yeah, they stack up really well,” Gaoteote said. “They pass my test. Shoot, I love BYU!”