With 9 Offers, Mother Counsels "Get Head Straight"

Mother knows best. It's no exception for this 6-2, 295-pound LDS defensive tackle prospect from Manhattan Beach, Calif., that BYU has high on its recruiting list.

"We had to sit him down during Family Home Evening and tell him to get his act straight," according to his mother. "I told him this was his senior year and he needed to focus and take it seriously so he could do well with his academics. You know how kids are that age."

The "kid" is none other than Mataele Pau'u, a "Top 100 in the West" recruit for TheInsiders.com, who is being aggressively recruited by Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, Utah, BYU, Michigan, Washington, Penn State, and UCLA. "My top schools are Arizona, BYU, UCLA, Oregon, and Penn State," he said recently.

"Those schools have all stopped by my high school to talk to my coach," Pau'u said. "They also email my parents a lot and send letters. BYU hasn't offered yet, but I expect them too."

Pau'u said Cougar assistant Steve Kaufusi is the coach recruiting him. "I like coach Kaufusi. He is a nice guy. He played football with my uncle in the World Football League. They are good friends and talk a lot."

The Mira Costa High standout runs a 5.0/40, benches 330, squats 540, has a clean of 280 and has a 29-inch. He was a second team All-State selection as a junior after recording 73 tackles and eight sacks. On offense, he had 200 yards and five touchdowns on 30 carries at fullback. Pau'u carries a 2.9 core GPA and will retake his SAT test in October.

During the summer, Pau'u trained with his uncle in Orange County to get in shape for his senior football campaign. "He's get me tuned up. I'm real close with my family. They help me out a lot," Pau'u said. "My aunt is going to help tutor me for the SAT because I got 820 when I took it and I need 850."

The young man said his father also visited BYU during the summer, toured the new facilities, and came away very impressed. "My dad really liked the campus and school. We like the school because of the (LDS) Church, because we're Mormon."

He admitted his parents want him to go to BYU because of the Church environment.

His mother noted, however, that "I don't want to force him because it's his choice, but I told him he won't go wrong at BYU. He can go up there and be friends with returned missionaries and they will help keep him active in the Church," she said.

Mataele said there is one thing he didn't like about BYU: the "curfew." He might have been referring to the Provo school's stringent Honor Code, because BYU doesn't have a curfew for athletes.

When asked what he is looking for in his final college choice, Pau'u said wants to go to school "close to home" so he can be by his family. Also, he said the school must allow him serve a two-year LDS mission, which he intends to take after his first year in college.

As for his physical gridiron strengths, Pau'u said, "I'm aggressive, fearless and I'm not afraid of hitting anybody."

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