TBS Checks Back In with Tunuufi-Sauvao

The state of Louisiana is known for its spicy Cajun food, blues music and Mardi Gras festivities held annually on the streets of New Orleans. For the Cougars of BYU, the Bayou State could be known for much more, as a Louisiana All-State defensive tackle is currently on the Cougar radar.

Voted as one of the top D-line players in the state of Louisiana and in the south, Wes Tunuufi-Sauvao, a Samoan, LDS prospect with a 3.2 GPA and a 25 score on his ACT, is looking more and more like a perfect fit for the Cougars of BYU.

"I'm 6'3" and 298 pounds," said Sauvao. "I bench 395 and squat 600 pounds. I run a 4.9 forty and run a 4.79 shuttle and play defensive tackle."

Heading into his senior year of high school, Sauvao is receiving letters in the dozens from some of the nation's biggest programs.

"They're sending my mail box and my email box some love," Sauvao said. "I've got files, man, and I probably get a peace of paper a day in the mail and an email a day from all those schools. I guess the coaches are coming back from all their summer vacations so they're trying to catch up with everybody.

"Michigan, Auburn, Arkansas, LSU, Arizona State, BYU, Utah State, Louisiana Monroe are the big ones that are hitting me right now."

According to LSU recruiting news, Sauvao is also hearing from Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Florida State, Marshall, Penn State, Duke and just about all the Ivy League schools.

"I was First Team All-State Louisiana and All-District which is kind of like an all region I guess," said Sauvao. "I was All-Southwest. The All-Southwest one they look at Louisiana, Mississippi and Georgia and then they make a big list for that, so I was All-Southwest and All-Vernon Parish. I was first team for all those."

The son of a military man, Sauvao moved to Louisiana with his family from Long Beach, California when out of the blue BYU popped up on his recruiting radar.

"I just started getting some letters from them one day and the next thing you know Paul Tidwell, their recruiting and linebackers coach, calls me up and we just started talking form there," Sauvao recalled. "The next thing I know I've got coach Grimes who started emailing me and talking with me and stuff, so I've got two people from BYU talking to me from BYU at this time. They wanted me to come up there for their camp but I couldn't make it, but they're just talking to me right now and want to see me play in my senior year and things like that.

"It makes me feel good to know I have an option to go somewhere possibly like BYU. You know a place with a strong background for both football and strong standards for the Church and stuff like that. I'm surprised, too. People just all of a sudden just started calling me."

Sauvao is happy that his church school has found him all the way down in the Deep South, and, although he couldn't make it to BYU's summer camp, he hopes to be able to visit the state of Utah sometime soon to check out the various campuses there.

"I talked about this with my parents all the time," said Sauvao. "They're going to leave it all up to me and if I need anything they're with me. We've been talking about heading up to Utah and hitting all the schools like BYU, Utah State and the U of U too. I've never been up there before."

Because he has lived in various parts of the country, Sauvao has no problem with attending a university as far away from Louisiana as BYU.

"My dad is in the Army right now which is how we got out here in Louisiana," Sauvao explained. "I just want to go somewhere that will be good for me, so going to a school far from home isn't much of a factor for me."

Although he wants to take his time to make sure his decision on where to commit is an informed one, Sauvao would not mind it one bit if the BYU offered him a scholarship to play football.

"I'd take it," Sauvao said. "I mean, I'm just going to wait until February to see what it is out there, but I would have to wait until I took a trip out there too."

So what types of things is he looking for in a university?

"Well, if they have my major, criminal justice," Sauvao said. "Also if they have an institute and church things like that, and if they have a good football program, and the campus has got to be nice."

Not only does Sauvao play football for Leesville High School football team, he is also a soccer player and a member of his high schools power lifting team. He also participates in the field events in track and field.

During a recent southern combine, Sauvao showed his agility and athleticism during a 7-on-7 camp. It did not take long before was invited by recruiting guru Max Emfinger to be a part of the 2006 All-American Bowl Game Classic. At nearly 300 pounds, Sauvao played tight end and showed his athleticism and agility by catching quite a few passes in traffic that wowed the recruiting annalist.

"Football is the thing down here and it's really competitive," said Sauvao. "I had 78 tackles and 11 sacks. I had 7 quarterback pressures and 5 fumble hits or forced fumbles. I had 3 fumble recoveries and 1 interception. I don't know how that happened."

"I do I play offensive tackle too. I think I had 53 pancakes or 54 pancakes. I don't keep up with the pancakes though. I just like hitting guys."

A close cousin to J.T Mapu, Sauvao has followed his career ever since his family was stationed in Hawaii where he got to watch his cousin play for two years at Kahuku High School. Sauvao wants to do what Mapu has done and play two years of football then serve an LDS mission.

"I want to go two in and two off," said Sauvao. "I have a cousin who is doing that right now, J.T Mapu; he plays for Tennessee. We were stationed out there in Hawaii and I watched his junior and senior year before he went out to Tennessee. I kind of take some stuff from him you know. Everyone wanted him to go to BYU but J.T picked Tennessee."


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