A Family Affair At BYU?

Hemet High School O-line star Hamani Stevens is seriously considering BYU as an option at the college level. While he has many scholarship offers currently in hand, most of which are from Pac-10 schools, BYU could be rising to the top of the list.

The Stevens family is known for serving LDS missions and playing football. The first to lead the way was former Hemet High School running back and linebacker Kalisi Stevens, who committed to LaVell Edwards prior to serving a full time LDS mission and playing at BYU for a time.

Younger brother Tevita Stevens, who had committed to UTEP head coach Mike Price, is now serving a Spanish-speaking mission in New York. Another younger brother, Jarred Stevens, who was recruited by San Jose State among other schools, is serving in Portugal.

Further on down the Stevens' family line are twin boys Hamani and Samiu, who are both starters for the varsity football team at Hemet High School.

"I'm 6'3" and a half and I'm 290 [pounds] right now," said big Hemet o-linemen Hamani Stevens. "I play offensive tackle but I'm looking to play offensive guard or center at the next level. Right now I'm also playing defensive line too."

At the college level, Hamani feels playing either the center or guard position on the o-line would suit him best given his abilities.

"I feel that playing either guard or center would be the best position for me to go further in the next level at college and even in the pros. I know that to play defensive line you have to be really, really quick and coaches want guys big and running like 4.7 forties and I run a 5.1 or a 5 flat.

"I also think as an offensive guard I'm really good at reading defenses. I know how it works and I think I would be a better offensive lineman in college."

Ever since he started playing football, Hamani has been a student of the game and studied what ever position his coaches placed him at. Even his older brother Kalisi often spoke of how involved his younger brother was with learning various positions across the offensive and defensive lines from time to time.

"Ever since he was growing up he studied different players and football stars," said Kalisi. "He studied how they would stand and how they come out of their stance and how they made an impact. He was always studying different NFL football players and studying how they played. Then, he would apply it into his own technique at his position."

"I like to study the game," said Hamani. "Before a game I like to copy some film and watch to see what kind of plays they run and see what the guys do on defense. I watch a lot of defensive film and like to study what kind of defense teams come out with to see how they defend against running plays and stuff like that. I look to see if they stack the box to make sure the linebackers are accounted for."

Many college programs have taken notice of Hamani not only because he possesses top quality talent as a football player, but because he is a student of the game.

"He just got another offer today by Arizona State," said older brother Kalisi. "He now has offers from Oregon, Oregon State, UCLA, Colorado State, BYU, San Diego State, ASU and University of Arizona."

"Right now UCLA offered me along with both Oregon schools," said Hamani Stevens. "Both Arizona schools have offered me and USC is looking at me. The thing about USC is they don't want to offer me because I'm LDS. They don't want to take a chance of offering me and then me wanting to go serve a mission and then try and come back. Also, Colorado has offered me and BYU and San Diego State."

After growing up in a strong LDS home where a Tongan mother made sure her boys kept a keen eye on what's most important in life, many within the Stevens family feel BYU is a good fit for highly-recruited Hamani.

"I think it is because it's a church school," said Kalisi, who recently attended the barbecue for BYU's Alumni day. "I told him that you are not me and that you're a different person, and that you can't base anything that happened to me as if that's going to happen to you. You have your own work ethic and goals and have to base that for your own college career. I just tell him that he can't look at how things ended up with me and use that an example of how things will turn out for him.

"I told him that they see you in their future and you can go in there and have an impact on a team that's on the rise. On top of that he can be at a church school where the environment fits him more as a person.

"I can see BYU being a good fit for him. I know for him he is kind of a homebody and with all the family that we have up there we would feel comfortable because we have a lot of uncles, cousins and aunts that live up there. We have a close nit family up there and he would be able to be around them and feel at home."

Although his football career at BYU didn't turn out as he had hoped, Kalisi holds no grudges against the Cougar program. He understands that his situation is much different than his younger brother's. Knowing what BYU has to offer, Kalisi understands that it wouldn't be fair to hold back his younger brother from having the best possible college experience despite his own experiences.

"Yeah, he's been telling me the ins and outs of recruiting," said Hamani. "He told me not to commit to a place that I will later regret and then think, ‘Oh man, I should have gone to this school or I wish I could have gone to that college.' He told me to make a decision that I can live with for the rest of your life because you can't turn back after you make it."

Kalisi has also talked to him about when he played up at BYU.

"He said it's a good school and that he went there at a time when there probably wasn't as good of coaching as there is now," Stevens said. "He also said that he feels it was mostly his fault that he didn't get to play. He hasn't said anything really about how they're not good; they are. He said BYU is a really good school and if you want to serve a mission then you might want to look towards going there."

Hamani agrees with the advice of Kalisi and feels BYU would be a good fit for him as an LDS athlete.

"Just because more than anything it's the church atmosphere," Hamani Stevens said. "It's everywhere up there and you would be surrounded by great people. I think it would be a great place for me to go if I wanted to stay strong in the church and go on my mission. I think that would be the best decision for me.

"My mom was a little bit harsh over BYU because of what happened to my older brother, but she's over it now. She's like, ‘You know, I think you should go to BYU because of your mission.'

"[Kalisi] told my mom, ‘Yeah, when I was there I didn't really get along with some of the coaches that were there.' He said, ‘There are now [different] coaches that are there and it's a different program. Don't take BYU out of the picture because of what happened to me.' I've been up there, not for football, but I've been up there and have seen the campus and stuff."

So does Hamani want to follow in the footsteps of his older brothers Kalisi, Jarred and Tevita and serve a full-time LDS mission?

"Yeah, I'm thinking about it right now," said Hamani. "A lot of people just want me to go and play right out of high school and some people want me to go straight on a mission. I'm trying to think what the best thing is for me, you know.

"You know, I have two brothers out serving missions right now. They've both told me that this is the best thing for me to do in my life right now. They told me that I need to go do it and that it would be a good thing. I'm leaning on going and serving a mission. It's going to be a big factor on what school I go to and the decision I'm going to make."

Hamani felt that BYU may take a look at both his twin brother Samiu and Tevita after his 18th month mission mark.

"Actually, BYU has said that they might take all three of us," said Stevens. "They said they might take [Tevita] from UTEP once he gets home, and my twin brother Samiu and me. They said they may take all three of us. That's what they were talking about. With me playing football with all of my brothers would be crazy man. I mean, I'm having fun playing with my brother Samiu right now in high school, but having my big brother play with me would be great.

"We would be able to hang out together just chillin'. It would just be a great experience having all of my brothers up there. It's kind of tempting to go to BYU just because of that and to play with my brothers in a family atmosphere and a team atmosphere going together. I think that would be great.

"My brother Tevita is serving in New York right now and played at UTEP before he left," said Stevens. "He's 6'2' and 300 pounds and plays center.

"My twin brother Samiu is 6'0" and 220 pounds. I guess I get to the dinner table first, you know. The funny thing is he's older than I am and was born first. Right now he doesn't have any offers, so right now he would take anything that would get him to the next level."

Having been up to Utah where he has many relatives living in Happy Valley, Hamani has been on BYU campus in the past.

"I think it's cool up there," said Stevens. "It's really high tech up there and they've got some great facilities."

BYU wide receiver's coach, Coach Higgins, is currently recruiting Hamani. Hamani feels he has a great relationship with Coach Higgins.

"Oh man, he's cool," said Hamani. "He's always text-messaging me funny stuff, you know. He was begging me the other day to send him some more film. I was like, ‘Alright man, hold your horses.' He started cracking some joke about the Kentucky Derby. He cracks me up and we just clown around. He's a cool dude. I mean, I think he would be a good person to play for. Having talked to him over the phone and through text messaging, he just seems really cool and seems like he would be a great coach. I saw BYU play Oregon in their bowl game. It was some great coaching. I'm planning on going up there anytime soon."

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