Vince Feula, BYU's No. 1 DT Recruit Commits to BYU

"To tell you the truth, BYU was almost too late. If they (coaches) didn't make it in tonight, Vince was ready to give the thumbs up to Utah tomorrow or Wednesday."

With this revealing statement, Sefo Feula, the father of BYU's No. 1 defensive tackle priority, announced the recruiting season is finally over for his son, Vince Feula, who committed tonight to play football for the Cougars.

Vince is a 6-1, 320 pound defensive tackle who started briefly as a redshirt freshman for the Arizona Wildcats. Academic challenges, however, sidetracked his Div. 1 career course and he enrolled at Cerritos Junior College last season, registering 85 tackles and seven sacks on his way to also being named to the 2003 All-California JC All-American team.

Vince was offered scholarships from Arizona, Colorado State, Utah, Fresno State, Hawaii and BYU. What these competing college coaches coveted is an athlete that registered a 4.9 forty, while at Arizona and was one of the strongest players on the Wildcats squad as a freshman. Moreover, he currently lifts a 460-pound bench press, 730-pound squat, and a 385-pound clean and jerk.

BYU brought out its big guns for its 45-minute home visit in Long Beach (Calif.) with head coach, Gary Crowton, defensive coordinator, Bronco Mendenhall, and defensive line coach, Steve Kaufusi.

The Feula's, who are active LDS members, listened intently and asked a lot of questions. At the end, they told the hopeful coaches they needed to talk and pray about it before making a decision.

"We felt the Spirit there, but we didn't commit right away," Sefo noted. "We wanted to pray about it. I gathered the family together for a prayer after they left, told Vince to really think about it and I went to work. Half way to work, I really felt good about it and called Vince. He said he felt the same way and he decided he wanted to commit right away."

As Vince was about to call Steve Kaufusi to let them know his decision, "the phone rang and it was Steve (Kaufusi) calling. They were at McDonald's getting something to eat. I told him that ‘I'm committing to BYU' and they were all really happy. Coach Crowton said I was the one they really wanted."

"This is a firm commit," Vince said, adding he was going to notify the other coaches (Utah, Colorado State and Arizona) tomorrow. "I talked it over with my dad and he thought it was the right thing to do."

He added: "I don't know what it was, but we felt their presence. They brought a special spirit into our house, different from other coaches. My dad was real excited about it (visit) because he's always been a big BYU fan," Vince confided.

Previous questions about Vince's academic eligibility were also answered tonight. "They said I need to take at least 10 units (core classes), but I'm taking a full load right of 15 units right now, so I'll be fine."

Asked what moved or motivated him more than anything else in his decision-making process, Vince said, "(Bronco) Mendenhall was probably the one that pushed me over the top. I don't know what it is about him, but I just feel real comfortable around him. There's something he brings, I don't know what it is. He has no favorites. Mendenhall said there are no guarantees (playing time) and it's all determined by effort. I like that because I know that will bring out the best in me," he continued.

With the decision made, Vince remarked, "I feel relieved that it's all over. There's been a lot of stress the last couple of months. No more headaches. I can finally concentrate on my academics now. It's like a big load off my back."

Vince's head coach at Cerritos, Frank Mazzotta, told in an earlier interview that Feula "is right up there with the best players we've had here. The Arizona coaches told me if they had had him (Feula) this year, there's not a Pac-10 guy that could have blocked him."

Mazzotta added that "he's an average looking guy, but he just makes plays. He just had a knack for the football. He's a great kid; an awesome kid. He has great athletic ability and strength. (Wherever he goes) "They aren't going to have any problems with him at all.

Meanwhile, Vince's father said he was struck by the irony of his son's verbal commitment Monday night because "we eliminated BYU two weeks ago, but I feel good now and I'm sure Vince feels good too. He just has to work hard and get himself ready to meet the challenge."

Commenting on the BYU coaches' home visit, the father observed that Crowton "just has that way of getting to you. He's different from most coaches; it's just the way he appealed to us. I can't really explain it."

Already impressed with Kaufusi, whom he has met a number of times, he noted that Bronco Mendenhall captured his fancy by his calm but confident demeanor. "He was upfront and told Vince, ‘No promises. If you work hard and put out a 100 percent effort, you'll have a chance to play.' I know Vince will get a fair chance to play. I like that. Other schools guaranteed he would start. Mendenhall promised nothing.

How important was the candor? "It made all the difference," Sefo concluded.

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