Recruit Profile: Romney Fuga

Huntington Beach, California is a place of interest for BYU coaches, and not only because Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall likes surfing. Rather, the interest lies with an LDS, Samoan offensive and defensive lineman who is receiving quite a bit of attention from every school in the Pac-10 conference.

Romney Fuga is as bright as he is powerful, and if his senior season turns out to be similar to his junior year, he could be listed as one of the top linemen in the state of California before all is said and done.

"I'm about 6'2" and almost 280 pounds," said Fuga. "I run a five flat forty and bench around 350. I squat around 450 and power clean 300 pounds. I play defensive tackle and left tackle. I kind of like defense better."

Fuga feels his position will be defensive tackle at the next level. Whatever position he ends up at, Fuga will certainly be playing at the next level.

"USC, UCLA, Cal, Arizona, Arizona State, Northern Arizona, Stanford, Washington, Washington State, Oregon, Oregon State, BYU, Utah, San Diego State, Nevada, Harvard and all the Ivy League schools are all sending me letters," said Fuga.

Fuga could not remember many of his statistics from his junior year, however, he was listed in the Monterey Bay Report as a California First Team All-State Underclassmen as a junior. He shared that honor with other notable BYU recruits, namely linemen Sione Fua and defensive end Matangi Tonga.

"Last year, I rotated with the defensive tackle so I didn't have as many stats," explained Fuga. "I do like defensive tackle better than playing on the offensive line, and that's what I'll play in college most likely. BYU is looking at me as a defensive tackle."

Prior to the NCAA quiet period, a period which prohibits college coaches from contact potential recruits during certain months, BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi called Fuga for a "get to know you" chat.

"Steve Kaufusi called me awhile back," Fuga said. "He's a good guy and just called and said they are interested in me, and he just wanted to call and let me know that BYU is recruiting the best LDS athletes and what is expected there and stuff like that."

Not only was Fuga selected as one of the top junior O-linemen in the state of California last year, he was also a top 5 heavyweight wrestler in California.

"This past year I won CIF and then I went to the Masters and placed 4th in state," said Fuga.

Placing fourth place in the state of California in the heavy weight wrestling division is quite an accomplishment for the Edison High School two-sport star, and Fuga is expected to do much better next year as a senior.

"Finishing fourth at state was a good feeling," Fuga told reporter Mike Sciacca of the Huntington Beach Independent. "Next year, though, I'd like to win a state championship. There's nowhere to go but up."

As a top wrester in the golden state, Fuga uses many of the techniques he's learned, both mentally and physically, on the wrestling mat to gain the upper hand against opponents on the grid iron.

"Well, it helps because it's a very mental sport." Fuga said. "It's just you and the other guy. It helps you use your hands and it also helps you with your balance and leverage."

Although BYU hasn't offered him yet, the coaches are in the process of evaluating his game film and in time could offer Fuga a full ride scholarship to play for the Cougars.

"BYU is sending me letters and actually I just sent them a tape they had asked for a few weeks ago," said Fuga. "If BYU offers me I would feel good because that would be the school that would most likely let me serve my mission."

If BYU offers Fuga, it would become a top choice. He understands that BYU's football program is very familiar with the LDS missionary program, and the worries of being persuaded not to go once he signed or the fear of losing a scholarship once he left would not be an issue.

"It's an LDS school and it's a good school," said Fuga. "I want to serve my mission and I know that a mission kind of turns away a college career a little bit, but BYU supports athletes going on missions.

"That's what I like mostly about it. Besides being able to serve my mission, the type of environment that BYU has," Fuga said.

Along with Fuga, his parents are also happy that BYU is recruiting their son.

"They feel good and they like it. They like it a lot," Fuga said.

This summer, Fuga was invited to attend BYU's summer camp, but was not able to make it due to prior commitments. Fuga has been to Provo and has visited BYU's campus in the past while attending a youth conference. He will be visiting BYU again this summer.

"I've been there before for a youth conference," said Fuga of BYU's campus. "I liked it a lot. I went there and they were constructing a new training place and a new gym. I got a tour of the place but it wasn't really finished."

"They invited me to come but I had something to do at that time, but I am going up to BYU for a youth conference in two weeks from August 8th through the 12th, and they told me that they want to schedule an appointment to visit with me when I'm up there."

One coach Fuga will likely have a chance to talk to is BYU's newest head coach Bronco Mendenhall. Although Fuga has never met Coach Mendenhall in person he has heard a lot about him from other BYU fans who heard the coach speak at local firesides.

"I've heard a lot about him," said Fuga. "People here said he was like Captain Moroni. I heard that he was speaking at a fireside down here and people were saying he's a really good guy, and that he wants BYU football to send a message around the country. One of my church leaders compared him to Captain Moroni."

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