LDS Lineman Gains New Perspective

Hemet High School LDS offensive linemen Hamani Stevens recently came to BYU on an unofficial visit to the campus. Needless to say, he came away very impressed with his visit to his church's college in Provo, Utah.

As a two-way lineman and student of the game, Hamani Stevens is a nice option for college coaches. He has good size to go along with his understanding of various positions across the offensive line. He also possesses the quickness the play defensive tackle.

"I'm just doing spring ball right now," said Stevens. "I'm going both ways this year. I'll be playing d-tackle, along with playing on the offensive line. Right now I'm just trying to get back into the basics, and we should be pretty good this year actually. We have a lot of returning players and we have a good running back and a good quarterback. We have a solid defense and are looking to go all the way this year."

Stevens has already received scholarship offers from Oregon State, UCLA, Colorado, ASU, Oregon, San Diego State, Arizona, CSU, BYU and Washington. He recently made a personal visit to BYU with his father, as well as his older brother and former Cougar, Kalisi Stevens.

"It was a really good trip actually," Stevens said. "I went up there and met with their offensive line coach, Coach Weber, and they had some of their offensive linemen there. We also met up with the strength and conditioning coach, Coach Omer.

"They took us around and showed us the facilities and all that. We went up to this big auditorium, where they had this movie playing and a highlight film. Everything we did that day, I felt like it was just for me. It was all about me and so I felt like I was really wanted. It was really cool.

"I think it's a great school and if I go there I really think I would have a good chance to play. I like it a lot because it won't just make me a better athlete, but a better person. They actually talked to me about how by attending BYU you're not just developing into a better athlete but into a better person both on and off the field."

Stevens, who has plans to serve a full time mission, had his reservations about following in his older brother's footsteps and attending BYU. After his older brother's career at BYU didn't go as planned, Hamani Stevens had some reservations that the same things could possibly happen to him. After his personal visit to BYU, those suspicions have eased a bit.

"At first I kind of had some doubts about BYU and their coaches," said Stevens. "You know how it is with what happened in the past [with my brother], and so I was afraid that I might not get a chance to play. I had my doubts about BYU and their coaches because my brother had a problem while there and didn't play. I [had negative] thoughts about BYU, but when I went down there and they were talking about the team and about becoming a better person, I thought, ‘Oh it can't be that bad of a school.' It gave me a good look at what BYU is really all about. I was able to have a firsthand experience. It was a positive experience for me.

"I haven't spoken one-on-one with Coach Mendenhall, but I have talked to him on the phone before. He sounds like a great person and a great coach to play for."

Stevens was in Utah attending a family member's wedding, and took advantage of his time in the Beehive State.

"We had to go to a wedding when I was up there," said Stevens. "I was like, ‘Might as well go up to BYU.' I asked my brother, ‘Hey, you want to take me to BYU?' He was like, ‘Yeah, let's go.' So, I went up there with him and my dad. My dad thought it was fantastic. He liked the people there and the surroundings and the fact [that] it's right there by church headquarters and the temple."

Stevens has eight or more scholarship offers at this time, and lists BYU within his top five. He feels that BYU is definitely a great option for him at the college level.

"Yeah, [BYU is] definitely an option and they're one of my top schools right now," said Stevens. "They're definitely in my top five right now. If I were to name a top five, BYU would definitely be in my top five." You know, if football [in the NFL] doesn't work out I still was influence to be a better person and got a great education. At BYU that's a great option for me."

Stevens said that if professional football doesn't work out for him down the road, he would like to at least have gone to a school where he was influenced to be a better person and got a great education. He said that BYU is a great option when it comes to those qualities. However, to make the decision about what school he will attend, he said he will ultimately have to ask his Heavenly Father.

"In regards to making a decision, I'm going to talk to my brother and see what he might have to say," said Stevens. "After that I'll talk to my parents and then I'll pray about my decision. Then I'll just go from there. You know, I'm not sure when I'll make a commitment. I'm going to do it when I feel I'm ready and when I feel it's right. When I feel like it is a good decision, then I'll commit. I'm just seeing what my options are right now, and then will see which is the best for me [and] then pray about it."

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