Fabuluje Blown Away by BYU

BYU recently hosted some of the best talent it has ever gathered for a Junior Day event. Many of the recruits were known, but there was one in particular who was somewhat of a surprise attendee and who subsequently blew everyone away with his performance. That player was Tayo Fabuluje from Oakridge High School in Texas, and he is on the brink of becoming a national recruit.

Tayo Fabuluje is a 6-foot-6.5-inch, 265-pound offensive line/defensive line recruit from Oakridge High School in Arlington, Texas. He played on both sides of the ball last season and attracted a lot of attention through his play and his workouts.

"Everyone who has come by to see me, every coach that has stopped by to see me play, has offered," said Fabuluje. "It was the same thing at BYU. I go there for one day, work out, and the very day I get back I have an offer from them in the mail."

Fabuluje cites offers from such schools as Arkansas, Purdue, TCU, Utah, Arizona State, Arizona, Kansas, Kansas State and others that he couldn't readily recall at the time of the interview. In addition, there could likely be many other offers coming here soon.

"Notre Dame has been contacting me a lot and look like they're going to offer, Kansas State too, and probably a lot of other schools," informed Fabuluje. "It's amazing getting all these offers. It's really exciting for me right now."

In Fabuluje's mind, however, one offer rises above the others currently in this early stage of the recruiting process.

"BYU is far and away my favorite school right now," said Fabuluje. "I was just blown away by them and everything I saw on my visit there on Junior Day. It's far and away my favorite school right now and I could definitely see myself playing there."

So how did a non-LDS recruit from Texas come to even know about BYU, let alone put it on top of his list as his favorite school? It's not as if he doesn't have other options, and by the time this summer is up Fabuluje may have the option to basically play wherever he wants.

Enter Oakridge teammate and current Cougar commit Ross Apo, who announced to the media this past Thursday that he was committing to sign a letter of intent with BYU. So how close is Fabuluje to Apo?

"He's my best friend," related Fabuluje regarding his relationship to Apo. "I've known him since we were in the third grade and we've done everything together since. I love the guy and he's the reason I visited BYU and that I'm so interested in BYU right now. He was the start of it."

Fabuluje isn't just merely friends with Apo. Due to some family difficulties, he moved in with the Apo family last year and has been very thankful to Apo and his entire family for that.

"They took me in and didn't even think twice about it. They're family as far as I'm concerned. Ross is my brother, his dad is my dad, that's how I look at it," explained Fabuluje. "It's seriously home for me living with the Apo family. They've been so good to me and I couldn't be more grateful to them."

Fabuluje's stay with the Apo family includes a rather rigorous workout schedule which is putting both Fabuluje and Apo on the fast track to being in top shape for the next level. Through the workouts, both are quickly becoming top recruits nationally for their respective positions.

The workouts include an emphasis on speed. Both players have had the opportunity to work out with former Olympic sprinter Jon Drummond. While they've worked out with him at least once a week, they plan to work out two-to-three times per week with him from now until the football season starts. For both players, the workouts have already provided some great returns.

"I can run a 4.7 forty now," reported Fabuluje. "And Ross? Wow, he's faster than anyone now. He runs under a 4.5 every time. I don't know if I'll ever get that fast, but I'm sure going to try."

Fabuluje's regimen also includes a lot of weight training, and he's very happy currently with his progress athletically.

"I was good last year, but this year, man, I don't want to brag, but me and Ross, we're going to completely dominate people," said Fabuluje. "I've never thought I'd work so hard on my conditioning, but I feel that I can take on anyone. I feel so much better athletically than I was last season, it's not even close really."

Fabuluje was approached by Apo a couple of weeks ago with the prospect of attending BYU's Junior Day. Fabuluje didn't think much of it, but simply thought it would be fun to work out somewhere else out-of-state and was more than willing to take the trip.

On the trip, however, Fabuluje was ‘blown-away' by everything BYU had to offer.

"It started the second I got off the plane really," said Fabuluje. "I've never been far from Texas and I've never seen mountains, so just seeing those mountains, wow, they were incredible."

Fabuluje then made his way down to BYU's Junior Day, where he began the day working out against some surprising talent. Cougar commit Bronson Kaufusi and local recruit Joe Kruger were the players Fabuluje cited as the top talent there among defensive linemen.

"Bronson can really play," said Fabuluje. "And I really got along with him well too. It was cool. I spent a ton of time with him and I just felt like we were best friends after just knowing him for not even an hour. He's a great guy and one of the best football players I've ever seen."

Most schools regard Fabuluje as an offensive line prospect, but as he works out more and more on the defensive side of the ball he is starting to think defense.

"I worked out as a defensive lineman at BYU's camp and I really liked it," said Fabuluje. "Maybe I'll just stay on that side of the ball, you know? I loved Coach Kaufusi and he'd be a great coach for me, to be sure."

Fabuluje then took a tour of the campus and grew to like BYU even more through the tours, meetings and everything else.

"I want to major in business and I know BYU has a top business school, so I really like that a lot," said Fabuluje. "I loved the campus. It was so clean and nice, the atmosphere was just amazing. I loved it."

Like most recruits Fabuluje was very aware of one Jake Heaps, and he appreciated the opportunity to meet Heaps and the other top recruits already committed to BYU.

"We met with head coach Bronco Mendenhall, who I was very impressed with, and then Jake asked if he could have a few words alone with all the recruits," related Fabuluje. "Coach then left and Jake started talking about where this program was going and what we all could do together at BYU, and it really pumped me up, it rang true. I want to be a part of it, I really do. I'll block for Jake on offense or I'll help get him in good field position on defense. I really want to play with him and the others. BYU is going to be a national power, I really believe that."

But for Fabuluje, the main draw to BYU remains his very close relationship to Ross Apo.

"I've played with Ross my whole life, I've done everything with him, so why not go to college and play with him in college, you know?" said Fabuluje. "I know that he's very excited about BYU and I'm excited now too. Him and his family have really been a blessing in my life and it makes a lot of sense to me to continue to stay close with him and go to BYU."

Fabuluje doesn't have any specific timetable in regards to when he'll commit to the school of his choice. His summer plans include a return to Utah to attend Utah's camp and take another trip to BYU, as well as visit some local camps. Fabuluje is hopeful that he'll have a clearer mind of where he needs to go after the summer.

"Right now it's all about BYU for me, but that's really the only school I've seen up close so far," said Fabuluje. "I want to see other schools and see how they compare. I want to make the best decision for me personally. I want to go to the place that will help me grow the most as a player and a person, and right now that school is BYU in my mind."

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