Red Raider Rolling To BYU

The 2008 class is loaded from top to bottom with some of the best LDS athletes in the country. On Wednesday, Coach Mendenhall received another early commit from a soon-to-be well-known top-quality prospect, this one from a member of the class of 2009 from the islands of Hawaii.

It's no surprise that future star Kahuku High School quarterback Jray Galea'i received a verbal scholarship offer from the BYU Cougar coaching staff. His father Raymond "Doc" Galea'i was a standout football and basketball player during the mid 80's, and was recruited by legendary BYU head coach LaVell Edwards.

His mother, Mili Galea'i, is the sister of former Kahuku and BYU running back star Mark Atuaia, who played for former BYU legendary Head Coach Lavell Edwards during the early 90's. BYU coaches had evaluated and seen enough. Jray Galea'i had indeed been blessed with his family's God-given talents, outstanding character qualities, a work eithic desired by top D-1 head coaches, leadership qualities that would impress John Wooden and so a Cougar verbal offer was extended without reservation.

His response after receiving an offer was given quickly. Upon learning of his verbal offer, Galea'i informed the Cougar coaching staff of his decision.

"I committed to BYU," said an excited Jray Galea'i. "I was just really excited. I was thinking back of how my uncles [Mark Atuaia (1991, 1994-96) and Donny Atuaia (1996-99)] played there. I've always wanted to follow in their footsteps as well. My uncle [Mark] was really excited. He was happy for me because I worked hard and it paid off for me."

"I just told my son, ‘This was all you,' said Jray's Galea'i's father Raymond. "He worked hard and made the effort to put it all out on the line. He's the one that deserves all the credit for earning a scholarship to play football at BYU."

"I was just really excited and I've never had this feeling before," said Galea'i. "When I found out that I had received a [verbal] offer from BYU, it was just the best feeling. I spoke to Bronco Mendenhall and he was telling me about the scholarship. He said, ‘Let us know when you want to commit.' I just told him, ‘I feel good enough about it right here and I'll commit right now.' After that [Coach Mendenhall] said, ‘If you give me your word, then I'll give you mine.' All my hard work has finally paid off. It was really amazing."

"This is a good place for [Jray]," Raymond said. "He grew up in Provo and knows this place already. He knows about BYU and what to expect over here. His family is here and it's a good environment for him, so I'm excited and happy for him."

Ever since Jray Galea'i was growing up, his father taught him the ins and outs within the sport of football, as well as basketball. Many hours were spent out on the practice field and on the court learning and implementing technique. Galea'i also spent a lot of time studying film with his father, as well as further developing his physical stature in the weight room.

"I worked out with my dad every day lifting," said Galea'i. "We did a lot of running and [my dad] really pushed me to learn everything. I also ran track and workout with my coaches. Now everything has finally paid off and I'm really happy about that.

"I told my dad that I committed to BYU and he said that it will be a good experience for me. He told me that he feels really good about me going there. He said that the environment is good, the program is good and I have a lot of family in Provo too."

Prior to transferring to Kahuku High School, Galea'i saw limited time as a sophomore safety on the Utah 4-A state championship Thunderbird defense. Now Galea'i will put his versatile athletic abilities to test as the Kahuku Red Raiders' starting varsity quarterback come next season.

"I wanted to be a free safety over there," Galea'i said. "It was kind of a big thing for me to go over there and they wanted me to play quarterback. The reason they wanted me to play quarterback was because the coaches wanted me to lead the team. They want me to be a leader on the field and execute the plays on offense. It's going to be a challenge for me but I can do the job."

For the next two years, Jray Galea'i will be trusted to lead the Red Raider football team, a team rich with past success and steeped in tradition.

Following his career as Kahuku High School's starting quarterback, Galea'i will come to BYU where coaches will mold his athleticism as a defensive player for Coach Mendenhall's "Shock and Aw" defense.

"They're looking at me to play safety," said Galea'i. "I'm looking to come back and play defense. I like the idea of coming back and playing that position. I'm really excited."

Once at BYU, Galea'i will join former Timpview High School teammates Eathyn Manumaleuna, Houston Reynolds and Kevin Bills, who've all also committed to BYU, as well as possibly sophomore sensation Craig Bills, a junior-to-be at Timpview that also received a scholarship offer from BYU. Jray could also join current Kahuku teammates Shiloah Te'o and Paipai Falemalu who've both also been offered full-ride scholarships to Brigham Young University.

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