"I had an a leg injury that kept me out as a sophomore," explained Kautai. "And then I broke my thumb last season, so I wasn't able to play quarterback for half the season, so I just concentrated on playing defense."
As it turns out that may have been a blessing in disguise, as Kautai had enough defensive experience on the defensive side of the ball to shine at BYU's Junior Day, leading to his subsequent offer.
Up until Junior Day Kautai had been going through the same rigorous program his teammates and good friends Ross Apo and Tayo Fabuluje have been undergoing to improve his play and prospects for the Division I football level.
"Coming off my leg injury I was too slow. I was only able to run a 4.8 or so, which isn't good," explained Kautai. "Right now I'm able to run a 4.60 forty and I know that eventually I'll get under a 4.6 which is my goal."
Kautai has also worked very hard on his strength to the point where he can currently bench 275 and squat 350. Evidently Kautai's workouts paid off, as BYU was intent to work him out at linebacker to see if he was worthy of a scholarship offer. Kautai obviously impressed the Cougar coaching staff enough through his workouts that he deserved that offer.
"It was my first time really working out as a linebacker," said Kautai. "I worked mostly with Coach Tidwell, but I worked out for Coach Lamb too. I think they were just trying me out to see where I could play best."
It was explained to Kautai following Junior Day that they wanted him as an outside linebacker, specifically the demanding strongside linebacker position. Kautai is more than willing to play anywhere and everywhere to have a chance to play at BYU.
"My dad wasn't all too anxious to have me commit at the time, wanting me to try to see if I could get offered as a quarterback somewhere, but I didn't care," said Kautai. "I want to be at BYU, I don't care where they have me play. They like me as a linebacker, then fine, I'll play linebacker. I'm excited to play linebacker for them."
Kautai is LDS and has plans to serve a mission immediately upon graduation before enrolling at BYU. For a while now Kautai has determined that BYU is his dream school and really the only school he wants to play for.
"I really started to like them a lot after going to camp last summer," explained Kautai. "It's the atmosphere mostly. It's a school that has the same standards as I do, being LDS, and it's just a great fit for me."
Of course BYU offers far more than a clean and wholesome environment for its athletes, and Kautai is anxious to take advantage of those opportunities.
"I want to major in business, accounting is what I plan to major in," said Kautai. "On Junior Day I learned more about BYU's business programs and they're top-notch."
Kautai is also very excited about the football prospects at BYU as well.
"I worked out with Zac Stout and got to know him and man, he's as good as they come," said Kautai. "BYU is getting the best talent nationally and that's really exciting. BYU is going to win national championships and I really want to be a part of that."
Kautai just can't wait to get going and expressed a desire to start out as soon as possible.
"It's going to be tough to be honest with you," said Kautai about waiting to play for and attend BYU. "I'm leaving for a mission right out of high school, but man, I want to be there right now, you know? I have to do stuff before BYU, but I honestly can't wait. It's my dream school. It's all I ever wanted and now to have that opportunity is just everything to me. I couldn't be more happy right now."