Originally from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Alta High School (UT) product Mata Hola and his family moved out to Utah when he was around 10 years old. Now the former Texan from Euless is tearing it up for the Hawks as the western United States 21st-rated outside linebacker prospect.
“I think I had 90 tackles and 23 tackles for a loss,” Hola said. “I had around 15 sacks on the season. BYU said I can do a lot of things, but I told them, ‘As long as I’m rushing on third downs I don’t care.’ They said they could put me at linebacker or D-end depending on what I feel comfortable with or the type of team we’re playing.”
From last weekend’s official visit, Hola recounts some of the more memorable experiences while on campus at BYU. One such experience was his visit to the Harris Fine Arts Center, where the visual arts and animation program is located.
“It was a really good experience for me and I love the coaches,” said Hola. “The presentation they had for us and the overall educational stuff they had for us was great. The educational presentation they gave me was great because I was what I’m interested in. It had to do with computer animation, engineering, and advertising. Overall it was a great experience.”
Since its inception about sixteen years ago, BYU’s animation department has become one of the most-respected in the country, and it has the accolades to prove it. Hola is very interested in this field of study and was surprised to see how many of the students work with major motion picture companies in Hollywood.
“I really like computer animation,” said Hola. “It’s crazy to see all the people who’ve gotten internships from all these movie companies. BYU students worked on a lot of animation movies like Kung Fu Panda, Frozen, and Moana. I think the producer of Moana had [a relationship] with BYU. I’m really looking into the animation department and also the advertising department.”
While the educational introduction of what his BYU scholarship entails was exciting, Hola feels there’s another that might top it. This experience has to do with BYU’s head coach, Kalani Sitake.
“I would say the highlight of my official visit was being able to speak with Kalani on a personal level,” said Hola. “He’s pretty much like a player and someone you can relate to. That’s something I heard from all the players that play for BYU right now, that Kalani is a player’s coach. He’s just like everybody else and plays around and jokes around with the players off the field. That’s something I’m looking for. I want a players coach and Kalani knows when to be that and when to be a coach on the field.”
After spending some time talking to various Cougars currently in the program, and spending time with Coach Sitake, Hola is sold on BYU’s new man in charge.
“I think Kalani is going to take it to the next level,” said Hola. “I’m excited about that. It’s interesting to hear what players say about the former head coach and what they say about Kalani. All the players say he’s loyal to them and loving. They’ve all told me he’s a great person and true to them. Overall he’s a great person.”
So how would Hola rate his official visit to BYU? Well, it was nearly perfect.
“I would place my visit to BYU a 9.5 because I don’t know what a perfect visit is yet,” Hola said. “I won’t know until all my visits are done and I can look back and say, ‘Yeah, that visit was really a 10.’ I’ll know more when I take my other visits.”
“BYU is definitely high now and they’ve set a high standard for the next visit,” said Hola. “I’m going to be comparing all my visits to BYU now because of the high standard they set. I’ll be checking to see if they can compare just to see which one I fit with the best. I definitely liked coming away from my visit with BYU though.”