Bernard Afutiti: Highly-Touted LB Awaits BYU Offer

An undersized 6-1, 230-pound LDS defensive tackle who has earned All-CIF honors since his freshman year confirmed he has received offers so far from Michigan, Oregon State, Colorado and Wyoming as a linebacker, but BYU would jump immediately to the head of the line if they offered.

"BYU sends me letters, but they haven't called me," Bernard Afutiti from Kaiser High School, told A 31-1 prep football powerhouse last season in the Sunkist League, Afutiti is a Samoan athlete with 4.5-4.65/40 speed. "If BYU offers, they would be my first choice. It's a good environment. BYU has a lot to offer and it's my Church school. They have a good law program too. That's what I'm interested in."

Registering 17 sacks, 120 tackles, 98 solo tackles and 56 tackles for a loss during last season alone, it's no surprise that "I've been All-CIF and All-League since I was a freshman and I've been All-State underclassman since I was a sophomore. I've been invited to the Cal State-Florida games since I was a sophomore. I was All-Valley for the San Bernardino area also," Afutiti said.

Afutiti averaged 1.2 sacks a game, recording four sacks in one game against Martin Luther High School last season, earning the Sunkist League Defensive Player of the Year Award.

On offense, Afutiti's ran for 350 yards on 64 carries for a 5.5 yards-per-carry average. He racked up nine touchdowns to help Kaiser High defend their league title for the second year in a row.

Having now bulked up to 230 pounds while maintaining his speed, Afutiti's high school coach, Dick Bruich, is switching him to linebacker to utilize his size and speed in a position that suits him better as a college player.

"Coach B (Bruich) is doing great. I hear he is getting soft, though, Afutiti joked. "Coach Zomano (former UCLA linebacker from Fontana High) said we are lucky because if we were playing when he was playing, we would be dying. We watched some film on him (Zomano); man, he was good. I played D-Tackle last year, but this year I'm going to be playing middle linebacker because that's where I'll play in college. Coach Zomano is going to be coaching me."

With full expectations of continuing his football dominance next year, Afutiti said he mirrors his game after a specific NFL middle linebacker. "If I had to compare my game to an NFL player, I would say I play like Ray Lewis. Just ask rival quarterback Deon Morrin, who is now at Colorado. "I took him out of the game. It was his shoulder blade or something. When I hit him, I slammed him into the ground and dug my shoulder into his chest. I knocked him out of the game," Afutiti added.

Afutiti said he is currently receiving recruiting attention from USC, UCLA, Michigan, Washington, Oklahoma, Washington State, Oregon State, Oregon, Wyoming, Cal and Stanford," said Afutiti. "Iowa, Utah, Nebraska, Cal, and a bunch of others have come by."

He noted his family is active LDS members and he follows the BYU football program. "It would be nice if they (BYU) offered. That would be great. I wouldn't have anything to worry about like my mission and playing time and all that. I wouldn't have to worry about fitting in because there's a lot of Polynesians and I have a lot of cousins that live out there."

Afutiti is currently working out this summer with close friend and teammate Kinikini Hansen. "He's our starting center this year. We've been working with him. He's a lot stronger, faster and he's quick off the ball. He's going to be good. He's got the size. That's my best friend right there," said Afutiti.

TBS wrote a "One to Watch" profile about 6-5, 300-pound Hansen several years ago when he was a freshman at Fontana High School. Hansen, a Tongan LDS player who transferred last season to Kaiser High, is "looking good, according to Afutiti. "He's in the low 300s in the bench. I don't know in the squat, but in the dead lift he's up in the 500 (pound) range. He's going to be the next big thing. He's quick and good off the ball as our center. He's about 6-6 or 6-7 and about 320-30 right now," Afutiti added.

For his part, Afutiti bench presses 360 pounds and squats around 600 pounds. "I dead lift 660 and I've got a 32-inch vertical. I run a 4.2 shuttle and I benched 185 about 37 times at the Stanford NIKE camp," said Afutiti.

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