"I verbally committed," Aulai declared. "I did that on Sunday to coach Mendenhall. My parents support me 100% and they're happy. They've been asking when I was going to decide, and I told them to hold on because I'm waiting on a couple more schools. Then I was like, ‘Here comes BYU. Here comes BYU' and I tripped out here to visit this past weekend and I just loved it. My parents are happy for me and support me 100% on my decision."
Originally from the village of Vailoa on the island of Tutuila, Samoa, Aulai grew up in a Christian home in Carson, California where gangs, drugs and big city social problems often run rampant.
"Aw man, it was nothing like I imagined," said Aulai. "I loved it up out there. It was like nothing else and nothing like from where I'm from."
What did Aulai like about Provo and the BYU campus? "I like the facilities over there and everything was top notch and state of the art," said Aulai. "I want to be in a clean environment and that's where I like to be at and not a dirty place. That's also why I chose BYU because I like the clean campus and environment. I like the coaches and the players."
"Another reason why I chose BYU is because I like to be around Poly's," Aulai said. "I just feel comfortable being around people like me. I got to know the players and the coaches really well."
During his BYU trip, Aulai met up with a former rival from the JC ranks, BYU nose guard Vince Feula. "I played against Vince when he was at Cerritos Junior College," Aulia said. "He's a good player.
"I didn't really know [Feula] really well. I just knew about him because I played against him. He was my host and being with him on my trip we played cards and I got to him know him better as a person. I like him, he's cool."
So how did Aulai handle his former junior college rival now teammate in the trenches?
Aulai admitted, "Well, I played him when I was a freshman and he already knew how to play, so I struggled a bit against him but he's good."
In high school, Aulai performed well both on the football field and in the classroom, garnering many accolades in the process.
"I went to Carson High and I started two years on Varsity," said Aulai. "In my junior year I made second team All-Area and First Team All-Marine League. I got invited to the USC camp, UCLA camp and NIKE camp. My senior year I made First Team All-Area, First Team All-League and I made the All-Regional Team. I made Scholar Athlete with a 3.1 (GPA) and the National Honor Role. I'm not the smartest kid in the world but I try."
However, despite his success both in the classroom and on the field, Aulai never received a coveted scholarship from the PAC-10 schools that were courting him.
"I got letters from everybody but nobody offered," Aulai recalled. "I got letters from just about everyone from the PAC-10 like SC, UCLA, Oregon, Oregon State, Arizona, Arizona State, Washington and Washington State but nobody offered. That's why I went to a JC."
While at El Camino Junior College, the 295 pound offensive lineman built an impressive football resume.
"My freshman year at El Camino, I played all 11 games and made Honorable Mention All-Conference," said Aulai. "It's the toughest conference in the U.S. Trust me. Going into my sophomore year I was voted Pre-Season All-American. At the end of the season I made First Team All-Mission Conference, First Team All-State, Second Team All-American and on our team I got the Helmet Award where I got to put my name on the board in our locker room. It's for the offense and I got it for the linemen. It's a good deal."
Having already cut his Samoan locks, the only thing Aulai wants to do is get back to Provo, Utah so he can continue on in his endeavors as a student-athlete.
"Oh you don't know how much I'm excited," he said. "I want to come back to BYU already. I want to play. The only bad thing I didn't like is I had to cut my hair and it was almost to the middle of my back. It was down past my shoulders. That was the only bad thing, but other than it's all good."
Aulai made a promise to the Cougar faithful: "I don't want to sound conceited but you're going to be excited when you see me. You're going to get excited when you see me play."