The top Polynesian players were in Hawai'i to attend the first Polynesian Bowl at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, HI last Saturday evening. Among them was the number-one rated defensive end from the state of Utah, Langi Tuifua.
"It was a fun game and it was really fun to commit," said Tuifua. "It was hot and it felt like summer because it's snowing out here in Utah. The area was nice and it was really fun playing out [there] in Hawai'i. They had a perfect mix of practice and activities. It was just a really fun experience to be invited."
While in attendance and while being shown on ESPN3, Tuifua had a plan. He wanted to announce where he was committing to after keeping his intentions quiet for some time.
"It was a little stressful because the guy had the hat in a bag," said Tuifua while laughing. "I was like, 'Come on man bring the bag over here! He was standing off to the side and I was like, "Come on you gotta get me my hat! It was kind of stressful but I've been planning on committing to BYU for a long time. I was trying to keep it a little secret for BYU fans. It felt really good to put the hat on. It didn't fit but it was all good."
Having de-committed from Oregon and Utah, Tuifua had his eye on BYU ever since Kalani Sitake was hired as the new head coach in Provo. The hiring of Coach Sitake caused Tuifua to pause and take another look.
"You know, I've been following BYU a long time," said Tuifua. "Me and my dad [David] have been following Kalani for a long time, and when he came to BYU I thought, 'Okay, BYU might be the place.' Even when I was with the other schools I was always watching BYU really closely. They have a family atmosphere down there, and every time I've been down there they treat you like family. I'm really excited to go down there and it's going to be another fun four years for me."
For Tuifua, he felt BYU had the complete package of academics, coaching, and location. It came down to what he thought he wanted at other schools to what he actually wanted at BYU leading him to eventually finding his home in Provo.
"BYU is the complete package," said Tuifua. "When they had me visit, they had me visit the animation program. The animation program has two parts to it. They have the computer science part and the animation part. That was one of the big factors for me and something I want to do in the future. When I saw the animation program at BYU that pulled me big time. I want to study more on the computer science side of things. That's what I want to do.
"Then you have the coaching staff that's there. BYU's coaching staff is amazing and hard to beat. Kalani was the first to offer me over at Utah. Kalani is a great coach and I watched him coach players like Nate Orchard and all the D-line at Utah. Going over to visit BYU they're starting to turn that program around. It's going to be really exciting.
"Then I have my family close to home, so it just feels like home to me. The location, the type of football that I'll be playing, education, and being close to home was hard to beat."
Another reason why Tuifua committed to BYU was because he saw a difference in the campus faculty, students, and student-athletes found at the world’s largest private university.
"One of the main things is BYU has such good people down there," Tuifua said. "I go to the other schools and they have people that like to drink and smoke and that's what you're going to be around for the next four years. At BYU I feel like I'm going to make some good friends that will be good examples. I want to keep that in my family and strive to be successful."
The first college to offer Tuifua was the University of Utah and he subsequently committed to the Utes. He later de-committed from Utah and committed to Oregon. After some coaching changes and program turmoil at Oregon, Tuifua de-committed before finding his new home with BYU.
"I try not to think about that long road I took to get to BYU," said Tuifua. "I just tried to focus on my high school football stuff before I thought about all the college stuff. You know, it was a long road and I tried to keep it as fun as I could. It ended up really nice in the end."
Last season BYU was eight points away from being undefeated facing a very difficult schedule. Once Coach Sitake gets his recruits in place the potential of the program is unlimited in Tuifua’s opinion.
"I think we'll be pretty dang good man," said Tuifua. "That's all I'm saying. It's going to be really exciting when all the recruits come home off missions and they get their guys in the program and all of us start grinding together. I think we're really going to skyrocket this program. It's really exciting."
Interestingly enough, Tuifua committed to BYU before he even took an official visit to the campus. He's taken an unofficial visit to Provo and will make an official visit this weekend.
"I'll be taking my official visit to BYU this next Saturday," said Tuifua. "I've taken an unofficial visit and they showed me around. I'm excited to see everything again and be around the coaches and players and just be in that environment."