Ofa was very friendly and open in discussing life, football, and college choices. We spoke a bit of Tongan on the phone, but the interview was done in English. Ofa discussed the realities of growing up a Tongan. "It's hard work being Polynesian. I mean, doing "iate" (construction) work is all we know. I've been doing cement work and brick work with my pops in the sun all my life."
We spoke of how interesting it can be to work with a crew made up of family members. "Yeah, gotta keep it real, but I'm just blessed that I know many things from hard work. Everything I have, I've had to work for. It's like when I go on recruiting trips. Don't try to wine and dine me with all this stuff. I don't like it. Come at me straight because I know it isn't going to always be like that." Ofa and I laughed on the phone and instantly made a connection with each other.
I asked Ofa about the recruiting trips he's taken to date. He said, "I went to Arizona on December 6th. It was good, I liked it. Their D-line coach, Coach Grimes, is a good guy. I like him. He is someone you can trust. I told him to come at me straight and he did. I don't want people to tell me things I don't need to know. I don't care about all the recruiting things they do, like girls and all that. That will come later. I told them to come at me straight and be honest with me." Ofa seemed impressed with Coach Grimes and had a lot of positive things to say about him.
I then asked Ofa about coach Steve Kaufusi from BYU and he said, "Man, he was such a surprise! I mean he understands me and is like a father figure. He is someone I can relate to and understand." Ofa seemed to have an absolute love for Kaufusi, and you could hear it in his voice as he spoke about him.
We also discussed Steve Kaufusi's relationship with "his boys" as he dearly calls them. "Yeah Steve is a great guy. He was such a surprise to me. He has recruited me harder than anyone else has. Man, he's just great. I'm just blessed to have that opportunity."
When I asked Ofa what he thought of Coach Crowton he said, "Crowton is very different than anyone else. Much different than the other head coaches. I mean, when he sits down to talk to you, he talks to you as a person. He comes at you straight and tells you how it is. What I like about Coach Crowton is when he steps into the room his presence fills it. He isn't like other coaches who yell at you when they talk to you. I'll be sitting there listening to a coach and they will be yelling at me when they talk and I'm thinking to myself, 'Man, I'm sitting right next to you. You don't have to yell.' That is a big difference between Crowton and the other coaches. He speaks with the spirit and feels for the players."
We also discussed his plans to serve a mission. "Yeah, that is my priority. That comes first, then the Lord will bless me with everything else, whether it's on the field or off. That is what is most important to me in my decision on where I go."
When I informed Ofa of Brian Soi's recent commitment to BYU he said, "Really! That's good news, man. Glad to hear it." I told Ofa how excited Brian is to meet him and spend time with him during his official visit to BYU on January 16th. Ofa explained that he'll be coming in to Provo a day early for his recruiting visit due to other obligations in Texas that same weekend. "I have to make it a bit short because it's my Senior year and they are holding a banquet for me. I'm coming to BYU a little early on Thursday and will be leaving on Saturday."
When I asked Ofa about the possibility of him playing up at BYU he had a lot to say. "I canceled my trip to Oklahoma University because I don't see myself going there. I'm just concentrating on my school work and I'm not going to reschedule the trip. I want to be straight up with these coaches. I called and told a few coaches thanks for recruiting me but I'm not going to their school."
Ofa said he has considered the possibility of playing at many different schools and he is aware that he can play wherever he wants. He explained, "But when I think about it, BYU is the place for me. Everywhere I go, even when I'm tripping at other schools, I know that I will end up at BYU. That's the place for me and I don't see myself going any place else. BYU has the whole package. The coaches, environment, education, and the people."
I explained that BYU fans would be very excited upon hearing his comments about BYU and the other schools recruiting him. He continued, "When I come up to Utah we will have to hang out. Maybe even drink some kava. I've got to stick to my culture, and I'm looking forward to coming up." I informed him that when he comes to BYU I'll mix with him anytime he likes, to which he laughed and replied, "Sounds good, I'm looking forward to it."
There you have it folks. Ofa Mohetau, the nation's number one offensive line recruit, will be a Cougar. Based on his comments during our interview, it is only a matter of time before Ofa gives BYU his verbal commitment.