USC Linebacker to Transfer to BYU

BYU's season ended on a high note and Christmas came a little early for the BYU coaches. Prior to the Cougars' 44-20 dismantling of Pac-10 darling Oregon State in the Las Vegas Bowl, USC linebacker Uona Kaveinga - the nation's ninth-ranked linebacker for the 2008 class - decided to leave the Trojans and join the Cougar program.

Highly touted linebacker Uona Kaveinga had at one time committed to BYU while on a recruiting trip in Provo.

"USC and UCLA are real great football programs but I feel that BYU has a deeper meaning to play for them, since I am an LDS member," said Kaveinga in a previous interview back on Nov. 13, 2008

"One of the reasons I chose them is because BYU brings out the best person that you can be or the best man you can become, and on top of that you can have fun playing football."

However, after choosing BYU over the likes of USC, UCLA, Arizona, Georgia Tech, Oklahoma and Colorado, Kaveinga decommitted and signed with USC back in February of 2008.

"He had visited BYU around four times," said Uona's father Lau. "He liked BYU and we all thought he was going to go there, but he has his free agency and nobody pushed him or made his decision to go to USC. We just supported him in his decision then."

Lau shared the reaction he and his wife had upon learning his son would transfer to BYU.

"We were all very, very happy," said Lau. "We understand what he was thinking that it was good to stay here close to home and play for USC, but in the beginning my wife and I were very excited for him to go to BYU. He just chose to stay here close to home and we just supported him, but for him to now go to BYU is good for him and good for everybody."

Uona's family aren't the only people happy about the news.

"I think it's good for him and his future," said Lau. "We are all really happy that he is going to BYU. Everyone is happy over here. Even everyone in our ward is happy he is going to BYU now. When he told me, I asked if this was his final decision and he said yes. I just try to support him and was happy for him. Go Cougars, eh!"

Uona was officially released from USC on December 17 after talking to USC coach Pete Carroll about the matter. He then went about becoming a part of the BYU program.

"BYU didn't know he was interested in them until after he was released," said Lau. "He didn't have a scholarship at this time. He just wanted to get out of USC. He just said he really wants to go to BYU. After he was released he called Steve Kaufusi and talked to him about wanting to come to BYU. Steve Kaufusi was excited and said they would be excited for him to come to BYU."

After his release from USC and subsequent contact with BYU coaches, Uona visited Las Vegas as the Cougars prepared for their bowl game.

"I think one of the reasons why they wanted him to come down to Vegas was to see if he was really interested," Lau said. "They wanted to see if he was serious or really had the desire to come to BYU. So he went down there and had a good time with BYU's head coach. He stayed with Coach Mendenhall the whole day. He was with him the whole day and we really appreciated it very much. It's a blessing to us and our family."

Uona will be enrolling at BYU this semester.

"We'll pay for the one semester and then they will have a scholarship for him in the fall," said Lau. "He's going to be there at BYU next Monday on January 4th. School is going to start next Monday and he'll be there, so we'll pay for him in January until next April I think. I think he talked to Coach Mendenhall and Steve [Kaufusi] and in the fall they will have a scholarship for him."

Uona is currently a sophomore and still has his redshirt year available to him. He will sit out a year due to the NCAA transfer rules. During that time he will use his redshirt while developing within the Cougar program, and he will have two years of eligibility afterwards.

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