Uale Finds Blue While in Mexico

Former Kamehameha High School defensive back Travis Uale always wanted to be a Cougar. It was a goal of his ever since he was a young boy strapping on the helmets and pads on the island of Oahu. His dream of being accepted into BYU would be granted while serving a mission in Central America.

Travis Uale, a 6-foot-2-inch, 200-pound Samoan with Hawaiian heritage, played his prep football for privately owned Kamehameha High School. Kamehameha was founded by Princes Bernice Pauahi Bishop, a great-granddaughter of King Kamehameha the Great. Uale, who is also LDS, always dreamed of going from that privately owned school founded for those of Hawaiian ancestry to another founded for LDS spiritual values.

"I've always wanted to come to BYU," said Uale. "Even out of high school I always wanted to come here. It's always been a goal for me because BYU was my church college. I've been a member of the LDS Church all my life, and so I've always wanted to go there."

However, Uale wasn't admitted to BYU. Instead, he walked on at the University of Utah. He attended the U of U for one year and redshirted prior to serving his mission.

While serving among the people of Mexico, Uale considered the possibility of applying again to BYU and playing for the Cougars. But, the Hawaiian native was a preferred walk-on at the University of Utah and was possibly going to receive a scholarship upon his return.

"While I was on my mission I thought a lot about it," said Uale. "It wasn't an easy decision for me at first. I just prayed about it and felt that BYU was the right place for me. It was great experience and I loved my mission."

However, getting accepted into BYU would not be that easy.

"I always wanted to go to BYU even when I was in high school but I didn't get accepted," said Uale. "It was hard for me because I applied to go to BYU while I was on my mission and got denied again."

After being denied entrance to BYU two times, a disappointed Uale took his effort to gain entrance into BYU to the next level; rather than petition the BYU admittance office, Uale went to the House of the Lord.

"My zone was going to the temple, so I thought I would try it again," Uale said. "I remember going to the Temple in Mexico to pray about it. I knew that I still wasn't accepted to BYU, but after that experience I felt good about it. I felt like my prayers were answered."

After trying two failed attempts to gain admittance into BYU, Uale's fortunes would change. He would soon learn, for whatever reason, that BYU would approve his application after all.

"You'll have to ask the admissions people at BYU what the difference was, because I'm not sure," said Uale with a smile. "Just barely before spring my prayers were answered and I was accepted into BYU. I came here for spring and then went home for a little while, but you'll have to ask [the admissions office] how that works. I really think Heavenly Father probably had the final say and I'm just grateful to be here."

Uale talked about the differences he perceived between the BYU and Utah football programs.

"It's a lot different here at BYU," said Uale. "Coach Mendenhall has us as players really balanced. I think that's the word. He has us balance spiritually as well as emotionally and physically. I think that's the overall difference … balance between spirituality and the game of football."

In terms of personal gridiron progress, Uale has made strides in terms of getting himself acclimated to the demands of performing at a higher level. As part of the scout team during a scrimmage on Wednesday, Uale jumped a route and nearly picked off a pass.

"I just try hard everyday," said a humble Uale. "I'm just glad about my decision to come to BYU and grateful for Coach Mendenhall and the chance to play football here at BYU. I just really feel a part of this team. I'm just glad to be out here playing with these guys and it's a good experience. The offense is really good and they've helped me to better who I want to be as person and player."

Uale made it a goal to play for BYU and was persistent in working towards that goal because of what the program stands for.

"As a member of this team we play football for more than just the game or for the school," said Uale. "We're making a statement as a program for the world to know that the Church is true. For me personally, I play this game more for my family name, my people, my religion and the Lord. I don't think it's any different for any of the other guys in this program. That's why we play the game."

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