Angilau One of BYU's Many Polynesian Recruits

Last year, Polynesian players made up the bulk of BYU's defensive line. The rotation included Vince Feula, Manaia Brown, Daniel Marquardt, T.J Sitaki and Hala Paongo. The DL has a large Polynesian influence this year with Paongo, Ian Dulan, Matangi Tonga, Russell Tialavea and Romney Fuga. Colorado D-end recruit David Angilau will join that unit next season.

BYU has always had a large Polynesian contingent on its roster. It started back in 1955 with Famika Anae, the father of current BYU offensive coordinator Robert Anae. Since then, a steadily increasing number of Polynesians have found their way onto BYU's roster. Now, BYU has more native Pacific Islanders than a combination of all the teams in the Pac-10, Big 10 and Big XII throughout the 80s, 90s, and first half of the 21st century.

With the staff at BYU putting the finishing touches on their next recruiting class, BYU has held true to their past efforts of recruiting Polynesians to BYU.

BYU has verbal commitments from most of the top Polynesian prospects within the state of Utah including 6-foot-4, 265-pound DE Star Lotulelei from Bingham High School and 6-foot-2, 270-pound Eathyn Manumaleuna from Timpview High School. Big Cottonwood High School star Simi Fili is not hearing much from the Cougars anymore, so it appears that he is no longer being recruited by BYU.

Several Polynesian recruits from outside of Utah are also on the list of Cougar commits. During the summer, the top Polynesian offensive lineman in the state of Texas – 6-foot-4, 295-pound Manaaki Vaitai – pledged to play for BYU. Recently, Florida, Texas, Oklahoma and other top programs have tested the sincerity of Vaitai's commitment to BYU.

Two Hawaiian players also accepted BYU scholarship offers. 6-foot-5, 225-pound tight end/linebacker Kaneakua Friel from Kamehameha-Oahu Secondary High School committed to BYU coaches at BYU's summer camp in June. Gary Nagy, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound safety from Kahuku High school, waited two weeks after returning home from the same BYU football camp to verbal to the Cougs. The coconut wires are buzzing that BYU is also looking at a defensive end from Kahuku High School.

From California, BYU has a commit from 6-foot-2, 205-pound half-Samoan outside linebacker Tyler Beck. Nebraska also offered the Vista Murrieta High School star.

Also from California are two of the top recruits on BYU's uncommitted list. Devin Mahina is a 6-foot-6, 225-pound tight who is deciding between BYU and UCLA. The Bruins do not have a scholarship for Mahina, but they told him he could greyshirt and then leave on a mission and have a scholarship when he returns. Mahina could come right in and compete for a starting spot as a scholarship athlete at BYU. The other uncommitted California is 260-pound defensive tackle Christian Tupou from Grant Union High School in Sacramento.

The Cougars tapped the JC ranks for even more Polynesian talent. BYU secured a commitment from 6-foot, 265-pound 4-star Samoan D-tackle Magnum Mauga and 6-foot-1, 225-pound outside linebacker Aveni Leug-Wai, both from Grossmont Junior College. Junior Tea, a 6-foot, 300-pound Polynesian D-lineman from top ranked Snow Junior College, is also hearing from BYU.

David Angilau from Niwot High School in Longmont, Colorado is the final Polynesian recruit on BYU's commit list. As a junior, the 6-foot-2, 260-pound defensive end led the state of Colorado with 15 sacks. He is currently following up his first team all-state and all-conference performances with a stellar senior season.

"Well, the last two weeks have been good," said Angilau. "Last week I had 9 tackles and 1 sack against mountain view. The week before that I had 10 solo tackles against Loveland."

Loveland High School football is consistently recognized as being a very competitive program within the state of Colorado.

"Loveland was a tough team," said Angilau. "They played hard and they were ranked number 5 in the state. They ran a double tight double wing offense which is basically all run. They only threw 2 passes the whole game."

Angilau was doubled and in some instances, triple teamed throughout the game. Despite such, he was still able to fight his way through the gaps to make plays on the running backs.

"I had to just fight my way through the line and squat my gap to chase the running back down," Angilau said. "I was doubled and tripled the whole game but I feel that makes me a better player."

Current committed players the likes of Angilau, Mauga, Lotulelei, Manumaleua, Nagy, Friel, Beck and Vaitai are the type of quality football players that will continue BYU's winning ways, and will maintain the Polynesian presence on BYU's roster for years to come.


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