Ofa Mohetau

One minute before Ofa Mohetau officially announced Wednesday morning where he would play college football, he paused outside the Trinity High School administration office to tell his parents for the first time.

He asked them: "Do you know where I'm going?"

They responded: "No, where?"

"Where do you think?" Ofa persisted.

"I told him I don't care where you go. I just want you to continue with your school," his father, Sione, recalled.

"BYU" was the reply. "This is it. Don't you know I'm going to BYU?"

"I was real happy inside. That's my first choice for Ofa to go to BYU, but I don't let him know," his mother said.

"I feel Ofa is safe now," his father said. The senior Mohetau called in sick Wednesday morning and arranged for someone to pick up his shift. A good thing, too, since his was the parental consent signature on Mohetau's LOI.

Inside the crowded school office, the Mohetau's were the last to arrive. School administrators, high school coaches, parents, athletes, TV cameras from Dallas area news stations and several newspaper reporters and photographers were on hand to record and report the event.

Mohetau told TotalBlueSports.com in an exclusive, in-home interview Tuesday night that no specific signing time was scheduled because his coach wanted to spare him the pressure and fanfare of an LOI media-signing event.

So it was a bit of a surprise, as Mohetau was casually getting ready for school Wednesday, when an phone call from the school informed them the TV stations and newspapers were there waiting for him to sign.

"We ask him and he tell us to wait. We just find out at the school," his mother added.

Ofa, his parents, sister Fane and brother Vaea hastily prepared and left for school, a one minute car ride away.

When he announced the school of his choice, his mother and sister said his high school coach, Steve Lineweaver, "looked disappointed."

"He (Ofa) make me cry when we was over there this morning. I proud of him," his father said.

Siva, his mother, added: "I almost cry, but I can hold on to my tears until we get home. I already miss Ofa.

While Mohetau was silent on the subject, his parents and younger brother Pasa, a sophomore at Trinity, said most of the coaches and students were hoping Ofa would pick Miami.

His mother confirmed: "I think most of them want Ofa to go to Miami. I'm really, really happy Ofa pick BYU. Fane and Vaea also happy. That's the first we know for sure. Lots of family and friends who move to Provo call us yesterday and today. They are so happy, too."

"I thought Ofa would pick Miami too, but I'm glad he picked BYU. That was my choice," 16-year-old Pasa said. The youngest of 10 Mohetau children, Pasa is also a starting offensive guard alongside Ofa.

"When Ofa come home, he say, 'I can sleep now and you can all tell the truth now to everyone," Siva said.

The national recruiting sweepstakes for Mohetau, as suspenseful as it was for coaches and his family to the last minute, were effectively over as soon as he completed his Miami visit.

Mohetau made off-the-record comments weeks ago and on Tuesday night exclusively to TotalBlueSports.com that revealed why BYU was the only school he seriously considered.

Texas, the hometown national football powerhouse he considered one of his pre-visit "favorites", simply blew it.

"Ofa come home really mad from his Texas trip," his father, Sione, confirmed.

"He really like Texas before he went. His (high school) coach always pick him up and take him to watch practice at Texas. I think his coach want him to go to Texas."

At the end of the first day's Texas recruiting trip activities after dinner at head coach Mack Brown's home, his host dropped Mohetau at a hotel Friday night close to midnight and left.

The 17-year-old recruit discovered it was the wrong hotel and walked around for 3-4 hours until he found the right hotel. The normally calm Mohetau was spitting mad.

"Ofa almost call the coach to take him to the airport right away to catch a plane," his father said.

"He automatically crossed Texas off his list" and called Texas assistant, Duane Akina, right after his trip and told him, according to his younger brother, Pasa.

Despite his public comments to Texas media that the Longhorns were still in the running in the final days, they had, in fact, been eliminated weeks before and Texas coaches were no longer calling.

"And Texas was one of his favorites before his visit," Pasa noted.

Miami, a perennial national championship contender in recent years, can thank an assistant coach for an inadvertent remark that Mohetau never forgot.

"I told the (assistant) coach I planned to go on a (LDS) mission. He said they could not guarantee my scholarship would be there after my mission if I went. They totally changed after they knew how serious I was about my mission," Mohetau confided weeks ago to TBS.

"I never forgot that because I was thinking 'that's what they really think' and might try and change my mind (about going on a mission) after I sign with them. I had a cousin that went to (Texas) A&M that the coaches tried to do that to," he said.

Arizona State was his first recruiting trip and one of the players he met suggested he should not commit to ASU and to take the rest of his trips.

Mohetau declined to elaborate, but said ASU was no longer a serious factor after that.

He noted he also considered Nebraska for his fifth recruiting trip, but decided against it after hearing about Manaia Brown's transfer to BYU.

BYU, on the other hand, offered what were most important to him - strong presence of other Polynesian players; LDS Church environment and unquestioned support of his mission goals; like-minded values and goals; growing number of family members living around Provo; and an excellent education.

Mohetau confirmed yesterday to his parents he verbally committed to BYU coach Gary Crowton that he would sign with the Cougars on LOI day. Both agreed not to mention it to anyone else. Crowton told a Utah newspaper he never even told his staff.

For his part, Ofa Mohetau kept his final decision secret from his brothers, sisters and parents - up to the minute before he signed his LOI.

In a post-LOI signing interview at their home, Sione Mohetau wiped away a tear recalling Ofa, just a year old and fighting for his life. He was hospitalized at least five times in a short period with serious asthmatic problems.

"I so proud of him."


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