Snowmobiling excursions are rapidly becomes a hallmark of BYU recruiting visits. Many BYU fans remember the infamous Manaia Brown snowmobile crash that led to chronic shoulder problems for the talented D-lineman. Two weekends ago, history nearly repeated itself.
"I went snowmobiling," Kahaialii chuckled. "I actually crashed on the snowmobile. I ran into a tree. I didn't break it to bad, there was some frame damage but the engine was alright. Those trees don't move out of the way."
Although there was minimal damage to the snowmobile, Kahaialii came away unscathed. Despite the minor mishap, the Kamehameha High School product thought the mountain experience was a fun one. The highlight of his BYU experience was something completely different, however.
"I would have to say my one-on-one with Coach Mendenhall was the best part of my trip," Kahaialii said. "He's really motivational and very spiritual and makes you want to come to BYU. He makes you excited and makes you want to come to BYU. Just the way he talks about the school and how he presents the message. I love their program. It's the kind of place I want to be. Mendenhall pumps you up and motivates you to want to be better."
Although the 17-year old Kahaialii is large for his age, Maui's humble giant felt the trip's activities were secondary to the spiritual experiences he enjoyed on campus.
"Of course it's a Mormon school so I enjoyed the spiritual aspect of the school," Kahaialii said. "Coach Mendenhall is very motivational when he speaks and he really makes me want to go there."
TotalBlueSports.com reported that 6-foot-2, 340-pound BYU defensive tackle recruit Martin Tevaseu spoke of a picture of Captain Moroni hanging outside Coach Mendenhall's office of Coach Mendenhall. Apparently Mendenhall has multiple pictures of the military leader that symbolizes the coach's approach to life and football.
"I saw his poster of Captain Moroni inside," chuckled Kahaialii. "He's like a Captain Moroni sort of. That's who he reminds me of."
Like defensive tackle and fellow Hawaiian and BYU commit Ian Dulan, Kahaialii said his meeting with Coach Mendenhall has inspired him to want to workout even harder prior to his enrollment at BYU.
"I've already started weightlifting before my trip to BYU, but since the trip I've been working out even harder," said Kahaialii. "The importance of it has become more and more of a reality to me."
Kahaialii also spoke briefly with his position's coach, Jeff Grimes, while he was on campus. Coach Grimes was interested in knowing how his overall BYU experience went.
"I spoke to [Coach Grimes], but not too much on my position," said Kahaialii. "In general he asked me how I liked the trip, and I told him I liked it a lot. It was real fun being at BYU. I loved it and it was awesome. My host was Jan Jorgensen and all the guys there were awesome. They're very mature and they're really good influences and very good leaders."
Former Ron McBride and Kentucky recruit Jan Jorgensen escorted Kahaialii to see BYU's volleyball team defeat California Baptist University three games to one. Kahaialii was also shown the facilities where he will be training as a Cougar. So what was his opinion of BYU's sports facilities?
"Top of the line," Kahaialii said. "It was more than I expected, top of the line."
Kahaialii will enroll at BYU this fall and at attend school for a year or so until he is old enough to serve a full-time LDS mission, which is something he has always wanted to do and feels is very important.
"I plan to just go to BYU for one or two semesters then go on my mission," Kahaialii said. "I'm really excited and I hope I can live up to what all the Cougars expect of me."