"It's a long drive but it was worth it," said Nomani. "First of all what really caught me was the campus. It's a really good atmosphere; a clean atmosphere. The programs that they have up there are the programs I was looking for from an educational standpoint. I want to do graphics design. They showed me a tour around the law school and showed me some of the facilities that carry that major within that building like computers and what not."
Nomani's campus tour was not limited to academic facilities alone. He also visited BYU's new athletic amenities.
"Aw man, of course I like it," Nomani declared. "I was surprised they were top notch, for real, man. They're one of the biggest I've ever seen. They have their own room just for the linemen.
"That's the biggest thing for me is the environment. I love their environment there. It's clean and even though its summer time and most of the students aren't there it's like one big family, you know."
While touring the campus, Nomani was able to meet three BYU coaches and said he hit it off well with the staff members. One point of interest for Nomani was the fact that these were LDS coaches, and that commonality created a comfort level for him. On top of that, two of the coaches he met were to be Polynesian.
"I met three of the coaches while I was there," said Nomani. "I met Coach Lamb and the Samoan coach, Coach Anae, their offensive coordinator. He played with somebody my dad knew. We also met Steve Kaufusi too. It was an unofficial visit so I was only able to meet the three coaches that could make it."
So what was his impression of the three BYU coaches he met?
"They're very friendly and going one on one with them was good," Nomani said. "They break things down for you and help you to understand things. They break things down to help you know where they're coming from. They really help you to understand. I was really pleased with their program, especially with their program and what I'm going to major in. They made me feel very comfortable there."
Nomani was not able to see the large LDS, Polynesian population on BYU's campus, nor meet any Polynesian players currently on the football roster. However, he knows he will get his chance when he comes back to Provo for an official visit in January; a visit he is now excited about.
"I know I'll be able to in January when my official visit comes," he said. "I'll be able to meet everybody and man it's going to be fun.
One LDS, Polynesian Mau Nomani is familiar with is BYU running back Fui Vakapuna. Nomani mentioned that his parents know the Vakapuna family very well, and Mau himself even knew about the elder currently serving in the Carlsbad, California mission. Like Vakapuna and many other current BYU football players, Nomani himself views serving a mission as a big priority in his own life.
"That's one of my priorities," Nomani said of serving a mission. "The thing is when I graduate I'll be graduating at a young age, at 17, so I'll have an extra year. I'll go to college for one year and then go on my mission. I don't want to waste a year by staying at home."
Nomani understands that at BYU the timing of his missionary service will not be a problem. While on campus, Nomani learned from BYU coaches how the mission situation works and how the program supports LDS missionary service. The coaches' explanation came as a relief to Nomani given the uncommon timing of his missionary service due to his young age.
"[BYU coaches] told me about how it works and how a mission works with a scholarship," said Nomani. "Like at BYU, it's not like if you go on your mission and come back they've taken it away from you, but they just welcome you right back you know. So that was one thing I was very pleased about."
Despite the high gas prices and long hours of driving from Oregon to Provo, Nomani felt the trip was well worth it. He left BYU with a new feel for the campus and a greater understanding of what his church's school can provide for him.
"I wouldn't say it met my expectations, but I would say it exceeded my expectations by far," Nomani concluded.