Tonga Brothers BYU Bound?

BYU has offered scholarships to two San Mateo, California prospects. One is serving a mission in Central American after a grey shirt year at the University of Utah. The other is heading into his senior year at Aragon High School.

As a junior, Matangi Tonga played both ways as a fullback and defensive end. At 6'3", 260 pound athlete with a self-reported 4.8 forty Tonga has racked up quite a few accolades for his on-field accomplishments.

"I got 10 sacks as a defensive end last year and around 20-25 tackles for a loss and one interception," said Tonga. "I got First Team All-State California as a defensive end. I don't really have many stats but as a fullback playing in my best game I had 9 carries for 150 yards. I got Team MVP, First Team All-League, First Team All-County, First Team All-CCS, First Team All-Bay Area and First Team All-State."

Tonga's performance has paid off as letters from college programs around the country start to pour in.

"I got a lot of letters from all over," he said. "I mostly get them from Utah, Oregon, Nebraska, Stanford and all the local school. I also went to go visit USC a couple of weeks ago and I got to watch the team scrimmage. It was pretty exciting."

Matangi's mother Seneti confirms her son's recent trip to Southern California to visit the campus of USC.

"We went to USC a couple of weeks ago," Seneti said. "He got an invitation from there to visit."

Another school that has shown interest in Matangi Tonga is Brigham Young University. BYU has jumped on the Tonga bandwagon early by extending a scholarship offer to the talented defensive end.

"I also got a couple of letters from BYU," said Matangi. "BYU has offered me already. I'm very excited about that."

In addition to offering Matangi, BYU has also offered his older brother Manase Tonga who is currently serving as an LDS missionary in Honduras. Manase singed with the University of Utah out of high school following a stellar performance as a running back his senior year. Manase's achievements include the following:

-Three-time first team All-League and All-County honoree
-2001 League Player of the Year
-Aragon High School team MVP and team captain
-Single game marks of 365 yards and 4 touchdowns
-County leading 1,886 yards rushing and 25 touchdowns
-Letters in basketball and track
-2000 basketball co-MVP in basketball
-League triple jump and long jump champion
-Honor roll member
-Polynesian Club president
-Youth Leadership Program member

"He went [to Utah] for a semester and then he grey- shirted there for a semester and then he went on a mission and then the coaching staff changed," said Matangi. "The new coaching staff gave away his scholarship or something like that, and in order for him to play for Utah he has to come and try out again in order to get his scholarship back.

"I guess when they offered him a scholarship Utah wasn't a very good team but then they got that new head coach and started going good. So since my brother wasn't playing then they just dropped him."

When the Utes' scholarship offer disappeared, it was a scramble to find a place for Manase to play when he returned from his mission.

"Our high school head coach went and talked to the BYU coaches and sent them some film. Now the BYU coaches have offered my brother a scholarship to play at BYU. My parents are very excited about that because they were mad that Utah gave away his scholarship and stuff like that, and so now he'll be going to a college in Utah anyways so.

"BYU coaches looked at his highlight film first to decide if they were going to offer him a scholarship, and I guess they decided to offer him one since they like what they saw. Then the BYU coaches went and talked to my head coach and said they were going to offer him one, and then they were going to email my brother and let him know he has a scholarship offer while he's on his mission."

Ruben Tonga is Manase and Matangi's uncle as well as their ward Bishop. He saw both boys grow up on the straight and narrow despite living in areas filled with violence, gangs and drugs.

"I was Bishop the whole time they were in the youth program," said Reuben. "Manase was always the president of the quorum all the way from Deacons to Priests. Now Matangi is my Priest advisor. He's the first councilor to me for the Priests. They've been very active in the church ever since they were little kids.

"We were all impressed with Manase and we all knew he was going to go places, and we new their priorities were their missions. Manase said that from the very beginning and Matangi is saying now that he is going to go on his mission before he gets serious with college football. I'm sure he is going to go to college for one year before his mission. He's very impressive and has probably taken every award out there and in this district. He won everything from being Offensive Player of the Year to Defensive Player of the Year, MVP and everything. He's the leader of the team out there on the field and he's very active in the church and very active in school."

The Tonga recruiting pool does not dry up with Matangi. There are two younger brothers and a sister coming up that are also very talented. Apparently, all three siblings are turning in impressive athletic performances are their respective levels.

Although neither Manase nor Matangi Tonga have signed at a letter of intent to play at BYU, there is a good chance both will end up playing together.

"It's pretty exciting," said Matangi. "I would love to play football with my brother in college."

However according to their mother Seneti Tonga, the decision on where her son's will play football will come later on once Manase Tonga returns home from the mission field.

"Well, Manase doing really good," Seneti said. "He's serving his mission in Honduras, Spanish speaking. He signed with Utah but he has an offer for BYU. As of now we will wait until he comes home (to decide)."

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