Big 6-foot-3-inch, 305-pound Hunter High School two-way standout lineman Sini Tauauve'a is not only an outstanding football player, but he's also a faithful member of the Catholic Church. The chance to be in an environment where religious principles are fostered without pressure to stray from his beliefs is why BYU has become an attractive place for Tauauve'a.
"I'm Catholic and I'm just trying to go up there because BYU is a really good school," said Tauauve'a. "BYU's program is about football, but it's also about making you a man first. I just think BYU would be a place that would help me become that. I just want to be a part of what BYU has to offer.
"BYU doesn't force kids to become a member of their church," he continued. "They focus more on kids living their religion better, and that's what I really like about BYU. When I go up there I don't feel different because they don't treat me any different than the rest of the guys when I'm visiting. They don't try and force you, but they just want you to live your faith as long as you're religious. That's why I want to go up there."
At the high school level, Tauauve'a plays several different positions for his team.
"I'm an offensive tackle and I can play some nose guard," said Tauauve'a. "I'm just really trying to go both ways right now. As an offensive lineman, I can stay really low. I'm also really quick on my feet and I think I'm a good rushing lineman.
"As a defensive lineman I can also stay low and get good leverage under the offensive lineman to pressure the quarterback. I'm pretty strong and fast for my size, so I can pass rush really well. It's not always about sacking the quarterback or making the tackle, but sometimes applying pressure and making the guy get out of his rhythm or force him out of the pocket."
Tauauve'a also mentioned that he uses his strength to manipulate the lineman in front of him. His self-reported weight room stats are pretty impressive for a senior to be.
"My max when I squatted was 500-pounds," said Tauauve'a. "I bench press 320, but did that a while ago."
During the recruiting process, BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi had spoken with Tauauve'a. Coach Kaufusi gave Tauauve'a a few benchmarks for him to focus on in order to help put him in a good position to possibly receive a BYU scholarship. Tauauve'a has taken the advice to heart and has made them his goals over the summer and for next season.
"I've had to shed a few pounds and have to focus on my schooling mainly," said Tauauve'a. "Coach Kaufusi told me that I could have a future at BYU if I really work hard towards this. He's a really good person and has really tried to get me involved with things that would help me out a lot.
"The most important thing I have to do right now is get my grades up. I have to get stronger and quicker. I have to shed some weight, and those are the goals that I have. I know I can do it."
BYU coaches have spoken to Tauauve'a about possibly playing on the offensive line at the next level for the Cougars if he meets those goals.
"Coach Kaufusi told me that I have a really good chance at playing offensive guard," Tauauve'a said. "I would really like that. I think that would be a great thing for me going from offensive tackle in high school to offensive guard in college."
Tauauve'a plays with very close friend and BYU's newest commit Ryan Mulitalo, who plays on the defensive line at the high school level. During BYU's non-padded camp, Coach Weber put Mulitalo through a series of one-on-one drills against the likes of Timpview defensive end star Bronson Kaufusi and Farrington High School rush end V.J. Fehoko, among others.
"It was the first time [Mulitalo] was being worked out at the offensive line position," said Tauauve'a. "He did really good after Coach Weber worked with him.
"Yeah, we are really close. He's not only a great player but he's also really smart and quick for his size. He's a strong player and is really quick. He's just a great all-around player."
Tauauve'a is excited about Mulitalo receiving a scholarship offer and committing to BYU.
"I think it's a good thing because he always told me he wanted to go to BYU," Tauauve'a said. "He told me that since his mom passed away he was going to work hard to do this for his mom."
Like his close friend and teammate Mulitalo, Tauauve'a wants to work hard and achieve his goal of playing for BYU - not only for the reasons already stated, but also because he wants to take it a step further to also honor Mulitalo's mother.
"I thought that was a really cool thing that Ryan wanted to do this for his mom," said Tauauve'a. "I knew his mom and she was a member of the LDS Church and loved BYU. I want to try and reach my goals to honor her too."