“The visit to BYU this past weekend was a great experience for me,” said Finau. “Everything that they did for me even when I first got there by rolling out the warm welcome was great. The feeling that I get from the coaches is a different feeling than what I get from the other coaches from all the other schools. It was great meeting all the other recruits and getting to know them and hanging out with them.”
Being a big Tongan boy with a large appetite, Finau enjoyed all the food activities he and his fellow recruits found themselves often engaged in over the weekend. He was one of two offensive linemen, with Connecticut product Seth Willis being the other, to attend the last recruiting weekend prior to signing day.
“I had a great time with all the other recruits and they’re all just great guys,” Finau said. “When we were together we all just ate a lot. We went out to Tucano’s and Ruby River, which is a steak place. We ate a lot of food and that’s good because we’re O-linemen.
To feed the big boys like Willis and Finau, BYU’s coaching staff must have paid a pretty penny. Willis comes in at around 6-6, 316-pounds while Finau comes in at around 6-4 and tips the scale at 330-pounds.
“Yeah, it was a lot of fun and we joked around quite a bit,” Finau said. “It was a good time being out there and being around all the recruits. That was a lot of fun for me.”
“He’s a funny guy and I never met a Polynesian until I met him,” said Seth Willis with a laugh. “He was the first Polynesian that I’ve ever met because we don’t have any out here in Connecticut that I know of. He’s really funny though and I can’t wait to play with him.”
While eating all the delicious steak a 300-pound offensive lineman could muster would definitely be a highlight of the trip, Finau’s special moment on campus occurred when he first stepped foot inside his hotel room.
“I would say the highlight for me was when I first got there,” said Finau. “When I first walked in I had my own room and my parents had their own room. On my bed I had snacks and a BYU poster that said, “Welcome Paula Finau.” On it there was a picture of a player with the number 60 on it and name was on the back of the jersey said “Finau.”
Accompanied by his parents, Finau mentioned that his mother and father shared an emotional, eye-watering moment together while visiting with coaches.
“My parents really loved it out there and were tearing up,” recalled Finau. “My parents were pretty emotional about the whole thing because of how much BYU and the coaching staff really cares about me. They want me to be successful and they want what’s best for me. It was a really cool experience to see how happy my mom and dad were.”
Taking in the BYU experience, Finau’s parents must have felt the same feeling their son did, which led him to choose BYU over other collegiate choices.
“There isn’t a place with a better environment to play college football than BYU,” said Finau. “It’s just a great environment and everyone is really close to one another. That was one thing that really stood out to me. It wasn’t just the brotherhood that the coaching staff had for one another because of football, but the whole school all together. They all treat each other with respect and you can feel the difference there.”
Coming from the island of Maui, Finau looks forward to the day he’ll take another trip to the mainland to attend BYU. One reason why he’s excited to go to BYU, and why he committed, is because he loved being around the type of people that attend the nation’s largest private university. It’s one reason why he committed and will sign with BYU tomorrow.
“Everything about BYU is pretty much special,” he said. “Growing up I’ve always loved and looked up to BYU and all the great athletes that came out of there. When people come out of BYU they are better than when they first went to BYU, and they make a difference in the lives of others. A lot of it has to do with the type of people that go to school there and teach there. BYU is a special place and that’s what I want to be a part of. It’s not just one thing but a bunch of things that make it a great place to go to learn and play football.”