Galea'i Spends Weekend with his "Usos"

For Jray Galea'i, this past weekend's trip to BYU was a big reunion in a way, as he was able to meet up with many of the friends he's made since childhood in both Hawaii and Provo. The top safety prospect, who stands as one of the first commits for the coming 2009 class, has formed strong ties with many of his fellow recruits, some of which he considers to be his own brothers.

"Uso" is a word Polynesians use to refer to those close to them. The literal translation is "brother." Having grown up literally across the street from current Cougar Shiloah Te'o, Jray Galea'i can't remember when he didn't refer to Shiloah or others very close to Shiloah as his usos.

"Shiloah and Manti, they're my usos to be sure," said Galea'i about the Te'o cousins. "I mean, we're brothers, much more than just friends. Other guys too, guys like X [Xavier Su'afilo], Tui [Crichton], Craig Bills, [and] Levi [Te'o] for sure, we're all very close, maybe not quite as close as I am to Manti and Shiloah, but yeah, we're all extremely good friends."

Indeed, Galea'i appears to be close to just about everyone he encountered on his trip.

"My roommate was Brett Thompson, and we're even related a bit," said Galea'i. "He has an uncle who lives in Hawaii that I'm related to. So yeah, we're all sort of family already at BYU."

Galea'i took off from the islands with his uso Manti Te'o, who has obviously captured a lot of attention here of late thanks to being considered by many to be the top linebacker recruit in the country. Despite that, Manti was nothing but a big kid on their plane trip to Provo according to Galea'i .

"It was a red-eye flight and everyone was trying to sleep," recalled Galea'i. "But man, we just couldn't sleep, we were both just so excited. We couldn't stop talking, and they had to come by a few times to tell us to keep it down, but man, it's tough when you're as excited as both of us are to visit BYU and all of our friends there."

Galea'i has been a committed Cougar for a very long time, deciding to commit to BYU coaches clear back in June of 2007. That makes him the second commit of the 2009 class, as he committed less than a month after running back Adam Timo. It's a decision that came easy for Galea'i back then, and certainly a decision he hasn't wavered from since.

"BYU is where I always wanted to play, so when they offered it didn't make sense to me to wait for other offers," recounted Galea'i. "My family also was very honored to have me offered by BYU, so it was a very easy decision."

Now that others Galea'i became close with both in the islands and during his time in Provo have since committed to BYU, he couldn't be more excited.

"Oh man, when I heard about my boy Craig Bills committing and then Tui, wow, it pumped me up big-time," said Galea'i. "I thought that they probably would, but you never know for sure. Both guys are great players who will be very good for BYU."

When Galea'i arrived in Provo, he was pleased by the amount of snow Utah had been having.

"You miss the snow being in Hawaii a bit," said Galea'i. "Especially during Christmastime you miss it, so it was great to be back in Provo with the snow and all. My family really misses the snow."

As is the norm, Galea'i's main activity on the recruiting trip was directly related to the snow - a snowmobiling excursion that all of the recruits take. For Galea'i and Manti in particular, it was a very fun activity that could have turned ugly.

"We were having too much fun going over jumps and everything, and one time me and Manti almost crashed into each other," said Galea'i. "It could have been really bad, but we got by. I couldn't believe how much fun that was being out there with my boys snowmobiling."

When informed of certain reports indicating that Manti didn't have a good time while on his trip to BYU Galea'I, just laughed.

"I don't know if I've seen Manti have more fun," he said. "All of us, whenever we get together we have a good time, but with everything on the trip and everything else, man, that's funny that people are trying to say that he didn't have a fun time. I mean, it's not as if he just had his cousins Levi and Shiloah there; everyone was there. Manti is almost as close to these guys as I am. Yeah, he had a great time, trust me."

Galea'i has sort of escaped much notice over the past year and a half since he committed. But, he has been playing some great football for Kahuku and recently switched from safety to cornerback this past year.

"Yeah, Lola [Auloloa Tonga] played safety, so they switched me over to cornerback, and I think it helped me," said Galea'i. "It really made me work on my footwork more and I'm definitely better at covering guys now, having played there for a season."

Galea'i is projected as a safety prospect, but will gladly switch over to play cornerback if coaches feel that is best.

"I'm going to play a year and then go on a mission, so I'm open to anything," said Galea'i. "Coaches tell me that I'll probably play and then redshirt when I get back, and we'll see what happens. I'll play anywhere and do anything they want. Whatever they think is best is what I want. I just want to help out."

While Galea'i is very happy to have his close friends Shiloah Te'o, Tui Crichton, Brett Thompson, Craig Bills, Spencer Hafoka and others as his future teammates, he'll be even more happy should Manti Te'o and Xavier Su'afilo commit to BYU.

"L.T. Filiaga too, I want him to sign as well," reminded Galea'i. "I know L.T. and we're good friends too. "I don't know exactly what Manti and X are going to do, but I think BYU has a real good chance with both of them, a great chance. We don't talk about it much and none of us try to pressure Manti, X or L.T., but they know, they know how great it would be to be at BYU together. Hopefully they both decide to come to BYU, but if not we'll wish them well."


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