BYU's Next Big Tight End?

Several publications recently named BYU as one of the top tight end producing schools in the country. NFL announcers have called names like Christensen, Lewis, Mili and Jolley for decades. Upland, California's Upland High School is home to a 6-foot-6, 225-pound, agile tight end who could be the next big thing at Tight End U.

Big Devin Mahina was not able to make it to BYU's Junior Day. Instead, he had prior arrangements to attend the NIKE Camp where he was involved in testing, one-on-one drills and evaluations by camp coaches. Mahina intended to compete at the NIKE Camp as a tight end, but his plans changed shortly after arriving.

"It was alright," said a reserved Mahina. "I had to go out as a receiver. I wanted to go as a tight end but they didn't have anything for tight ends so I had to go out as a receiver. I had to choose between playing defensive end or tight end and I chose tight end. After the combine and all that stuff they stood us up and said all the tight ends go with the receivers, and so I went thinking there would be an individual group for the tight ends but there wasn't."

Hampered by a weight lifting injury and a touch of the flue, Mahina came away a bit disappointed by his SPARQ test results in the forty (4.9), shuttle (4.7) and vertical leap (29.9). Knowing he could do better, he eventually had the stats scratched from the NIKE Camp results and will possibly redo the tests at a future time for a more accurate portrayal of his abilities.

"I know I can do a lot better," said Mahina. "The camp was a good experience, and I felt that I did alright, but I would have done a lot better if I wasn't injured and sick. It was just a very important thing for me so I just thought that I had to go and try despite my injury and feeling a little sick."

A day before the NIKE Camp, Mahina was working out in the weight room were he was doing some max lifts in preparation for the camp. During the clean lift, Mahina pulled a muscle in his lower back. Later in the day the pain steadily grew worse until it became difficult to even bend over.

"I tried to do all that I could that next day to try to get better because I knew the next day was going to be an important day for me at the NIKE camp," said Mahina". At the camp I was still hurting from that so I didn't do as well as I know I could have."

During the NIKE Camp, Mahina still was able to bench press 185 sixteen times. His max clean from the previous day lift was 265-pounds. He also put up 275-pounds on the bench and squatted 395 before the injury.

During the NIKE Camp, Mahina enjoyed some success during the one-on-ones against smaller cornerbacks and safeties.

"It was pretty much just running routes and your stance and get-offs and things like that," said Mahina. "It didn't really seem like the coaches paid much attention to you but when it came down to the one-on-ones, then they paid attention. I did pretty good. I had to go against the cornerbacks and safeties and some of them would come up and try and jam me and I would just throw them off. They couldn't stop me there but the chemistry between the quarterbacks and the receivers wasn't really there. It's kind of frustrating when they over throw you."

Overall Mahina had a fairly good day despite his physical limitations, and even though he missed BYU's Junior Day he is making plans to come down to Provo on June 2nd.

"I just got a letter in the mail about the spring game," said Mahina. "They want me to come up on a mini-junior day on June 2nd, so I'm coming out for a one day camp thing. I won't be able to come out to their summer camp because I'm heading over to Tonga to go play football. I'm going to try and make it down on that day."

Mahina is in contact with BYU's coaching staff. He recently spoke with receiver's coach Patrick Higgins.

"Coach Higgins has said BYU is very interested in me and that the scholarship offer is still there for me," Mahina commented. "I was told about how much of a big deal it is for me to have a scholarship offer to BYU. I know how big of a deal it is for me and it's an honor. I'm very honored to have a scholarship offer from BYU especially since I have it for both positions, tight end and D-end. It's quite the blessing."

Mahina recently told BYU coaches that he would like to play tight end rather than on the defensive line.

"I talked to Coach Kaufusi and I spoke to Coach Higgins and they both asked me what I want to play if I went there, and I told them that I liked tight end a lot," Mahina said.

Not knowing much about BYU's tight end history, Mahina also called Coach Kaufusi and expressed his concerns about how the tight end fits within BYU's passing attack offense. At first he did not know much about the tight end's involvement at BYU, but Coaches Higgins and Kaufusi put Mahina's mind at ease with a little history lesson.

"Well, I didn't know much about it but then I was talking to Coach Kaufusi about the tight end situation," Mahina said. "I also talked to Coach Higgins about it and he said that last year the tight ends caught over 70 passes. That's good."

This coming year Mahina is going to be watching out for some of the nation's top tight end prospects in Jonny Harline, Daniel Coats, Vic So'oto and newcomer Andrew George.

"Yeah, I'll be looking out for it now," said Mahina. "I didn't really know much about it before. I let Coach Kaufusi know that I didn't know much about how the tight end would be incorporated within BYU offense, and he told me about it and I also looked into it and saw the results. I liked the results."

Along with his recent contact with BYU coaches, UCLA coaches have paid a visit to Mahina's high school to talk to his head coach. UCLA is very interested in Mahina but they have one concern on their mind which has kept them from extending a full ride offer.

"ULCA came in the other day and talked to the coach," Mahina said. "They said they wanted to offer me but they know that I want to go on a mission and that's the only thing that is holding them back. They said that was the only thing that was holding them back.

"BYU is more accepting and they already know the process. BYU is a church school so they know what is expected and required. Other schools know about it but they're not to supportive. They're looking for who they can get, when they can get them and how fast. I like a college that will respect my decision that will allow me to do my church service. That is something that I'm working towards and looking forward to."

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