Freshman Speedster Getting Reps

BYU has quite a few talented horses in the running back stable. Behind senior Fahu Tahi and junior Curtis Brown, there are also a few talented underclassmen coming up that will add quality depth. One such talent is freshman running back Wayne Latu, who possesses skills both on and off the field that enable him to compete for playing time.

Wayne Latu's road to BYU is an interesting one. He attended American Heritage School, a private school for the academically gifted, where he and his three sisters excelled in the classroom.

"I have three older sisters and we all graduated really young," said Latu. "We went to private schools in Lindon since we were really young. When we made the transition from private school to public school we had to take a standard test to see what grade we belonged in."

All four siblings tested high on the test. His sisters were able to graduate from high school at young ages – all three graduated by the time they were 16-years-old. Latu thought he would do the same. "Sports wasn't an issue to me, I play the piano." Latu said with a grin.

The results from the placement test made Latu as a sophomore instead of a freshman at Orem High. He eventually transferred to Timpview High School.

"I went to [Orem] high school at the age of 14, a year early. I started as a sophomore [age 14], and my eligibility clock started ticking. I played my junior year [age 15] and my senior year [age 16]. As a17-year-old I wasn't able to play sports because they said I started in the high school level [and graduated] early. I basically felt I was being punished for excelling in academics, so we went to the courts and appealed and that didn't work. So I left that behind and I just started running track for a track club, and then was able to come to BYU to do track and academics."

As a young freshman at BYU, Latu tried out for the football team where he posted some amazing forty times prior to serving a full-time LDS mission.

"I played my freshman year but I red shirted," Latu said. "I'm a freshman this year and just came home off a mission from the Dominican Republic. I don't know how fast my forty is now, but before I went on my mission I ran a 4.29 here at BYU trying out for the football team."

During a spring scrimmage, Latu showed his speed by busting to the outside and breaking away from secondary defenders. He followed a cut off the right tackle, kicked it into overdrive and pulled away from pursuing defenders. At the end of the run he was greeted by Brown, Tahi and the other running backs back in the huddle.

"I'm enjoying it here at BYU," Latu said. "We have good coaches out here. I'm just trying to learn from Coach Reynolds and Coach Tidwell [a former running back coach] and just trying to learn everything I can from the guys."

Now that he's returned home from serving as a full time missionary, Latu is looking to make the most of every opportunity he's given when the coaches call his number.

"I'm getting some reps with the ones and trying to get that going," Latu said. "I‘m just going to let the work speak for itself and if I get a chance to play then I‘ll try and make the most of it. I'm two and a half months home from my mission so right now I'm just trying to catch my breath."

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