Snow DE Chooses To Walk-On At BYU

A rush defensive end has told BYU coaches that he wants to be a part of their program. This Snow Junior College defensive standout has made it clear that even though he doesn't have a scholarship from BYU, he is more than willing to try and earn one for the experience.

Sean Matagi played multiple positions for his Cyprus High School coaches, and had experience on the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. Being the "utility guy," Matagi was used at various positions during both his junior and senior years.

"I played for Cyprus High School and graduated in 2002," Matagi said. "I was pretty much the utility guy and played wherever I was needed. My junior year I was playing linebacker and tight end. I had a good career that year and we went 10 and 1, but lost to Mountain Crest in the first round of the state playoffs.

"My senior year I was playing fullback and middle linebacker and we didn't have as good a season that year. We were kind of rebuilding that year and lost a lot of talent. We weren't really deep at any position that year and it kind of hurt us. I don't remember my stats to tell you the truth. I'm guess I'm getting old!"

"Sean is a very good role-player," said Snow Assistant Coach Jason Ah You. "He knows the game really well. He is very quick and very athletic. He was a linebacker in high school and they used to put him down on the line because he's a perfect rush type defensive end. He's very smart, doesn't get locked up, stays low and was a very productive player for us at Snow."

Following high school, Matagi had plans to follow in the footsteps of his older brother, Everest Matagi, and go to the University of Utah. However, following a two-year mission, he decided to go play at Snow Junior College.

"I wasn't recruited out of high school," Matagi said. "I was supposed to go up and walk-on up at Utah where my brother played football. I went on my mission and came back with really no place to go. My brother Everest and Jason [Ah You] took me down to Snow, and the rest is history."

His performance at Snow Junior College caught the interest of the University of Utah, as well as Brigham Young University.

"I played rush end at Snow and had a really successful season," Matagi said. "My sophomore season wasn't as successful just because I was battling some injuries, but during our bowl game [Top of the Mountain Bowl] I was able to be named our Defensive MVP."

"He had around three sacks in that game," Coach Ah You said. "I mean, he just blew it up on the field and was named the Defensive MVP for the Top of the Mountain Bowl Game."

Despite battling some injuries, Matagi played the rest of the season. Over the summer he's been working on getting himself back to 100 percent in time to join his future teammates at BYU.

"During the season I separated my shoulder, so I'm just getting back into the weight room," Matagi said. "I haven't really done any maxing out, so I don't really know what my stats are. My shoulder is coming along really well though. I've been doing a lot of things to help strengthen it. I've been trying to get into the pool to do some swimming to also help strengthen it.

"I'm kind of the under-the-radar-kind-of-guy. I'm just trying to get my name out there and just want to have the chance to show people what I can do, really."

BYU coaches had evaluated Matagi and, during the allowed recruiting period, expressed their interest in him to Coach Ah You. Matagi had the chance to go back and walk-on at the University of Utah, but chose instead to come and walk-on at BYU in an attempt to show people just what he can do.

"I'll be going to BYU in the fall," said Matagi. "I really like the direction the program is going. BYU is a place that would give me a good shot to not only showcase my talents, because I know that I can play at the next level and be successful, but is also a place that will allow us to practice what we preach. When you take care of the Lord's work, then He'll take care of the rest. Those are some of the main reasons why I wanted to go to BYU.

"Coach Steves Kaufusi is really excited about me coming down there to get started. I just want to come down there and do what I can do. If I'm a special teams guy, then I'm a special teams guy. If I can work my way onto the defense this year, than I'll get in there. If there is no room for me this year, I still have a redshirt year. I have three years to play two, and I'm just looking for the opportunity, and to try and make the most out of it."

"Coach Kaufusi said he liked his athleticism," said Coach Ah You. "BYU doesn't really have a true speed or rush defensive end on their roster. They don't have a pure speed rusher and I know Steve [Kaufusi] wanted a pass rusher, so Sean will have a good opportunity to come in and do that for BYU's defense.

"I'm sure it will probably be situational, but he'll provide that aspect for the Cougar defense. [BYU coaches] were really excited about his speed and they watched his film and really liked what they saw. Most of the guys they have now are 270-plus [pounds]-type guys. Sean is around 6'2" and 245-250 [pounds], and so he's really just a speed guy. He is a finesse-type player and isn't someone that is going to overpower you. He's not going to muscle you down, but he will play with leverage and he won't give up. He's a finesse player that is a quick pass rusher off the end."

Going to BYU is not only exciting for Matagi, but for his father Galu as well.

"There are four boys in our family, and my dad told me in high school that he always dreamed of one his boys going to BYU," said Matagi. "For him, it's a dream come true. For my brothers, they just know that it doesn't really matter where you go. It's just what you do when you get there that's most important."


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