Hola Says Hello To Oregon State

BYU defensive tackle commit Tevita Hola went back home over the summer to visit his mother and family during a time of need. While there he also made a visit to some old friends up at Oregon State and got a firsthand look at the Beaver program.

BYU has had much success in bringing in some of the top LDS athletes to represent the school and Coach Mendenhall's program. One area the Cougar coaches are looking to build up is across the defensive line, and that effort was bolstered with Snow College d-tackle Tevita Hola committing to the Cougar coaching staff on May 7.

Over the summer, Hola had been taking summer classes. However, he dropped everything after a phone call from his sister who informed him of the condition of his mother Mele Koula, who was suffering from cancer.

"I was going to summer school but I dropped everything because of my mom, who isn't doing too well," said Hola. "She has cancer and was diagnosed last year and it's gotten really bad. My sister called me up when I was going to school up at Snow and she told me it would be a good idea to come out there. As sick as she is, she is still able to see everyone and talk to everyone. So I just dropped everything that I was doing and went back there to be with her since she isn't doing so well."

Hola has been spending as much time as he could with his ailing mother and family members. He's also been spending time working out with his younger brother Malikai.

"Since I've been here in Oregon, I've been doing a lot of plyometrics," said Hola. "I've been doing this since I've been down here to keep myself in shape. I've been doing a lot of stuff that will help me with my burst of speed off the line, like jumping boxes and sprints and things like that.

"I got this program that I'm running on and I brought it out here and I've been running it with my little brother Malikai Unga, who graduated from Park Rose High School. He's actually a second cousin of Harvey Unga. I haven't done any timing since I've been doing a lot of plyometrics training.

"I have trimmed down to 305 [pounds] from 315, but the last time I timed in the forty, it was at a 5.3. After doing all this plyometrics training I'm kind of excited to see what my time is now. I feel quicker and faster. My little brother Malakai ran a 4.6 in high school, and just running with him, I can see how much it's helped. His agility is really good and so it's a good measuring point for me to judge myself by."

Although Hola is surrounded by many local LDS kids in the Portland area that follow the Duck and Beaver programs, he was happy to hear about his younger brother's interest in BYU.

"When I was growing up, a lot of Polynesians looked up to guys like Vai Sikahema, Lakei Hemuli and all of the other Polynesians that played at BYU," said Hola. "They were the ones that kind of paved the way and broke ground for us Polynesians at the college level. Now there are Polynesians going to other programs other than just BYU, and there are a lot of Poly kids out here that like Oregon State because they have a pretty good group of Poly kids on their team.

"It was kind of funny because Makakai was asking me if he was good enough to go out there and play for BYU. It was just cool to hear someone out here in Oregon say that. I mean, you hear that in the state of Utah, but to hear kids saying that out here in Oregon is pretty cool."

While back in Oregon, Hola went up and visited with some old friends up at Oregon State. He met a few of the players on the team and toured around a bit.

"I saw one of my friends, Sioeli Nau, that I played with last year, who is now at Oregon State," said Hola. "I saw him and talked with some of the Poly guys on the team, and they asked me what I was doing and all that. I told them that I had committed to BYU and they started talking about that. The area is cool and it's not as hot as it is in Utah, and I liked the school. It was pretty cool."

While there, there were some Oregon State Beavers doing their best to try and convince Hola that Oregon State is where he needed to be.

"I went down there to see their size and I was expecting things to be different," said Hola. I didn't really see any size difference. I didn't get a chance to see their speed and all that, but nothing really seemed different than at BYU.

"When I talked with Coach Mendenhall he was straight up with me and wanted someone that believed in everything BYU stood for. I saw more tradition at BYU than I did at Oregon State. It was funny because I actually talked to my position's coach at Snow, Coach Ah You. He knew I was going down to Oregon and he was like, ‘Hey man, you know a lot schools are going to start recruiting you, so are you sure you want to go to BYU?'"

So is Hola having second thoughts about his commitment to Coach Mendenhall and BYU?

"I prayed about [going to BYU] and asked if this was the right thing for me and felt that I should go to BYU," said Hola. "As far as I've heard the U of U is still checking things out with me but not as much since I committed to BYU. I could really care less if any other schools come after me because I'm going to BYU. BYU is really the only thing on my mind, so it doesn't really matter if other schools come after me."

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