To the All-American Bowl from Hawaii

After spending time at Granger High School in Utah, two-way starter Joseph Faifili is glad to be back home playing at Hawaii's Kahuku High School. He is also glad the recruiting attention has slowed down since his return. Faifili narrowed his college choices to three schools. Is BYU still one of them?

Joseph Faifili caught college coaches' attention early with his physical play in the trenches. Standing at 6'3" and weighing 295 pounds, Faifili now has offers from BYU, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and Arizona State. He is also happy to be representing Hawaii at the Army All-American Bowl next year. The game will be held in San Antonio, Texas, on January 7, 2006 and be televised on NBC at 1:00 PM (EST).

"It's really exciting," Faifili said. "Coming back to Hawaii, I'm the first person from Hawaii to go, and I hope it opens the door for more people here in Hawaii. Recruiting is a little mellower now that I'm back home in Hawaii, which is kind of a relief I guess. It's good to be back home and playing. I was kind of bummed to leave here but it's good to be back finishing up my senior season here at Kahuku."

Despite having left Granger during mid-season, Faifili did not miss a beat on the field. "I play two ways," said Faifili. "On defense I think I have around seven or eight sacks and from the games here and back in Utah, maybe 60-plus tackles."

Moving back to Hawaii was not enough to completely throw recruiters off Faifili's trail. BYU's defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi recently caught up with the BYU recruit to encourage him to watch the outcome of two schools interested in his services. Both schools are major rivals as well.

"Yeah, Coach Kaufusi called last Monday," said Faifili. "He just said for me to watch the [BYU vs. Utah] game and stuff like that."

Currently, Faifili has narrowed his choices down to three schools, BYU, Arizona and the Utah.

"I would think it comes down to those three," said Faifili. "It's kind of up for grabs right now.

"Well, the thing I like about Arizona was they were the first one to offer me a full ride, so having them seen me first was really nice. It was something new to me and they're in the Pac-10. For Utah I actually went in and looked at their program. For defensive linemen, Coach Gary Anderson Always sends a defensive lineman into the NFL, and that was something I looked at a lot too.

"For BYU, it was just kind of like home for me. It was the most home for me."

Part of the reason BYU feels like home to Faifili is the warm reception he received from its coaches.

"Oh, those guys are nice," said Faifili about Coaches Mendenhall, Anae and Kaufusi. "I don't really know much about Bronco Mendenhall but I talked to him before I left Utah and he was talking about the school and I just felt comfortable over there. They are recruiting me as a defensive tackle. That's what I want to play at in college.

"With Coach Kaufusi and Coach Anae, I just clicked with them because I know where they're coming from. Anae is a Laie boy, that's why, and Kaufusi has family over here too. Coach Anae is my mom's family."

Yet to pass the college entrance exam, Faifili is working hard on becoming qualified. The schools recruiting him have not set up official recruiting visits. BYU told Faifili that they will work to help set one up.

"I signed up and did one in Utah but something went wrong and I couldn't go," Faifili said. "We scheduled [a visit] but the thing is I have to get the scores first. BYU said they would help me out with that. They told me they would help me out with scheduling my trip, and they told me they would wait for me. That's really nice, and honestly, they are the only ones that have told me they would do that."

Faifili also has thoughts of serving a mission, which could play into where he attends school.

"Well, it's there and I guess when the time comes I guess I'll see," Faifili said. "I'm preparing for that so we'll see when the time comes. It will matter where I go to school if I can go [on a mission] or not. If I go to a really big school and they won't let me go it will be a really big factor. I just try not to make it a factor."

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