Ofa Recounts Texas Recruiting Visit

;Here's a hint for BYU coaches looking to impress CNNSI/All USAToday All American recruit Ofa Mohetau during his recruiting visit to Provo this weekend.

"I'm really excited. I've never been to Provo or BYU before. I've always heard BYU this, BYU that. I'm looking forward to seeing the MTC (Mission Training Center) and the Provo Temple and seeing how many Poly's (Polynesians) go to school there."

In an exclusive interview with TotalBlueSports.com, Mohetau reaffirmed tonight he will not make a verbal commitment to any school until he completes his last scheduled visit next week to the University of Miami.

"Even if BYU blows me away completely, I'm not going to push Miami to the side without giving them a chance. They will have to go further (to impress me), that's all..."

Mohetau, considered BYU's #1 football recruiting priority and perhaps the country's top offensive guard recruit this year, said his most important consideration in choosing a college to attend this year will be "education.

"I'm going to make my pick based on the school offering the best education for me. My whole family (parents and nine brothers and sisters) still want me to go to BYU except my older brother, Tonga. He said pick a school based on education first, but if I'm serious about a (LDS) mission, then BYU is the best place that supports that."

He added: "Once I've made up my mind, it's a done deal. If I go to a school and everything clicks, I'm not going to say anything. I'll just keep it to myself. I'm staying in a neutral zone right now. I don't want to get too attached to a school right now. I want to give every school the same consideration," Mohetau added.

Mohetau, a 6' 3", 330 pound, offensive lineman from Euless High School in Texas, returned home this afternoon after a two-day recruiting visit to the University of Texas in Austin. The Tongan athlete said the Texas coaches and his player host "treated me real good.

"There were six other recruits with me. They (Texas) have great, top of the line facilities. I stood in awe of what they have there. They've got first class everything, track and field, football... The facilities were the best part of the visit."

Mohetau added he was aware of a number of LDS athletes recruited and signed by other major universities with promises from coaches they would honor and support their mission desires. "I've heard about coaches trying to talk them out of missions once they are in school."

Asked to compare the overall trip and experience with his only other recruiting visit to Arizona State University, he said: "I would say they're about the same right now."

The amiable 17-year-old had just completed an in-home interview with a reporter and photographer from the Dallas Morning News before his TBS interview. "It was same ole, same ole."

He had already fielded five other media calls this afternoon, but was anxious to share his thoughts with a TBS reporter in a one hour phone interview. "I don't mind you guys. You can call me anytime." He said he was touched by a recent TBS story written about his mother, asking for a copy of all TBS stories about him to be sent to an older brother's email address. He said they do not have a computer or Internet access in their home.

Mohetau further elaborated on the constant pressure he faces daily as a highly coveted national football recruit.

"It's cool being noticed and I'm thankful for the attention. I'm grateful for the talent I've been blessed with. If I could do without it (attention), I'd rather that... I'd like to go back to my old ways and wish people (coaches) would leave me alone, but I know it's necessary. I don't like it when they (coaches) pull me out of class. I hide in the library so they can't find me. That's one place they don't look is in the library."

On an unrelated note about his upcoming BYU visit, he said "I'm looking forward to hanging out with Manaia (Brown) and I want to meet Soi (Brian). I've heard a lot about him too. Manaia's cool, I really like him a lot."

Manaia Brown is a BYU sophomore-to-be defensive tackle who transferred last year from the University of Nebraska, where he was one of only three true freshmen to play. Soi is another nationally recruited defensive line recruit from Utah who recently verbally committed to the Cougars.

Mohetau and Brown developed a fast friendship and close bond playing basketball together several times during the Christmas/New Year's holiday break. Brown spent the holidays with his family in Euless visiting his eldest brother Lio.

TEXAS RECRUITING VISIT DIARY - DAY 1 Took Southwest Airlines flight from Love Airfield to Austin, Texas, Friday afternoon with fellow Dallas defensive end recruit Travis Moss, the #2 ranked player in Dallas/Fort Worth area after Mohetau. They were met at the airport by Texas' DB coach Akina, a Hawaiian along with other recruiting staff, and were checked into the Double Tree Hotel. Coach Akina has led Texas' recruiting efforts for Mohetau. "He still talks with his Hawaiian slang."

They were taken to watch the Texas vs North Carolina State basketball game, but did not stay the whole game. "Didn't really want to be there, anyway."

The recruiting staff took the full group of recruits to a "pretty good steak place" for dinner. "We didn't see many football players because school doesn't start there until tomorrow." After dinner, they were driven back to their hotel. "I just went to my room, kicked back, watched TV and went to sleep."

TEXAS RECRUITING VISIT DIARY - DAY 2 Mohetau joined his fellow recruits and recruiting coaches for breakfast at the hotel. The day was spent touring Texas' impressive athletic complex and facilities.

"We met head coach Mack Brown and he talked to us as a group. He definitely knows what he's saying and it sounds good. It's a winning program and he was impressive.

"They had a private barbeque lunch for us at the athletic complex. Their facilities are awesome; their weight room, track and field facilities... the best part of the visit. The coaches were all nice."

After a full day at the university, they went to dinner at a "great seafood place." We got back to the hotel around 10 (p.m.) or so. I just watched TV and went to sleep. I don't know what the other recruits did after they got back to the hotel, but I just stayed in my room."

Mohetau's return flight to Dallas was delayed. "It was pouring rain in Austin. When I got back to Dallas, it was snowing heavy. It doesn't snow that often here." Elder brother Tonga was there to pick him up from the airport. Once home, Ofa attended church this afternoon with his family.

Next up is BYU. Stay tuned for another detailed report next week from TotalBlueSports.com.


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