Tonga Setting Camps on Fire

A few years ago, Cougar fans were bemoaning the lack of tall, speedy receivers on BYU's roster. In an ironic twist, the class of 2007 is so loaded with tall speedy receivers that there are not enough scholarships to go around. One of the big receivers on the outside of the recruiting class looking in is Weslee Tonga of Spring High School.

Weslee Tonga's name should be familiar to Cougar fans, but not how they may think. His Cougar connection does not come through the Tongas on the football team; it comes through his older sister Sonny Tonga, who played on BYU's volleyball team and married to former BYU receiver and current Philadelphia Eagle Reno Mahe. With his family ties to BYU, Tonga came to Provo last week for camp and to take a look around.

"I really like BYU," said Tonga. "I'm pretty familiar with them and I really like their coaches. They have great facilities and they're definitely a school I'd love to play for."

Tonga performed very well at every camp he attended this summer. Both Rice and the University of Utah offered Tonga immediately after he left their camp.

"I like both of those schools," said Tonga, "I like the coaches a lot at both of those places."

With 4.6 speed, 6-foot-4, 215-pound size, and excellent leaping ability, Tonga proved to be a popular target this summer. Ironically, Tonga was not used at tight end or wide receiver last year playing in the Houston, Texas area. Spring's coaches had him play way out of position at an offensive tackle.

"Some guys got hurt and the coach decided to put me there," said Tonga, "I didn't like it much, but I did it to help the team. I don't want to play tackle again this year."

Tonga appreciated the two offers he received from Rice and Utah, but the scholarship he really wanted never came.

"I thought they were going to offer, and they sort of gave me the idea that they would, but so far I've heard nothing," said Tonga. "It is disappointing since I really like BYU and would love to play for them."

Tonga would likely have received more interest from BYU had he developed physically at a younger age. Division I athletics only became a realistic option for him in the last year.

"Weslee won't tell you this," said Reno Mahe, "but he was just a little short, fat kid growing up. His older brothers and sister were very athletic and tall, but Weslee didn't get that until late. He's still probably even growing a little more."

Tonga experienced a late growth spurt during the last year in which he grew almost a foot. With the added size, came increased notice from college programs.

"I'm grateful for the attention," said Tonga, "Playing football in college is something I'd love to do and having two offers from Rice and Utah is great. I'll wait to see whatever offers come my way and then decide."

Tonga is LDS and has definite mission plans. He will turn 19 the summer after he graduates and will leave immediately on a mission.

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