Fabuluje Survives Official Visit

Tayo Fabuluje had a blast on his official visit, much like all the rest of the recruits in attendance. He enjoyed the food, atmosphere, meetings with coaches, and most of all, the camaraderie of his future teammates. The snowmobiling was fun too, save for one mishap that left him admittedly a bit shaken. TBS caught up with Tayo to learn of his visit.

"I'm not going to lie, that shook me up good," said Tayo Fabuluje about the close call he had on the snowmobile trip this past weekend. "I was scared for sure. I thought I was getting the hang of is, but I'm on that thing for not even five minutes and I'm having to jump off of it so I don't fall off of the cliff. It was a close call and it really did scare me."

As has been alluded to in previous reports, Fabuluje had his foot on the gas a bit more than he should have while taking a turn going up the mountain during his group's snowmobile excursion. Before he knew it, he found his vehicle headed straight off of the cliff. He jumped off the snowmobile just short of the cliff that his snowmobile tumbled down.

"It could have been bad, real bad," he related. "I seriously could have been hurt. I was scared and a bit embarrassed for sure, but I got back on and rode with the rest of the guys after, although I was a lot more careful, obviously."

Save for his having to bail on a snowmobile just feet away from taking a tumble down a cliff, Fabuluje had the time of his life while on his trip.

"It was probably the most fun I've ever had, to be honest with you," he said regarding his weekend experience at BYU. "The food was great, the tours were great, the meetings were great, but what I liked most of all was just being with the guys and hanging out. We're all very close already."

Fabuluje is someone who is easy to like, as he presents a very friendly and approachable persona that people immediately want to be around. With that being the case, making friends comes easy for him and he now considers every commit on BYU's list as his close friend following his official trip.

"I love meeting people, but to me the best thing was meeting the guys I'll be signing with and getting to know them," he said. "The best times for me on the trip was the downtime when we didn't have anything specific to do. That's when I got to know better the guys I already knew while meeting some guys I've never met before. That was the best thing for me on the trip."

He also had the opportunity to sit down and talk to most of the coaches on BYU's staff. His meetings started with Coach Steve Kaufusi, who will be coaching him on the defensive line come fall.

"His main thing was stressing to me that I'm going to play defense while at BYU," explained Fabuluje, who has been considered an offensive line recruit by some. "He told me that at Junior Day he identified me as a defensive end prospect and maybe even a nose tackle prospect, so that's where I'll play."

As is often the case, offensive coaches have campaigned for his services along the offensive front, but it's apparent that Coach Kaufusi has no plans of letting Fabuluje don the blue jersey that the offense wears during practices.

"He says that I'm a perfect defensive end for the 3-4 system that they run," he said. "I'm tall and agile, but I also have a big body that can take blocks, so he thinks I'll do really well at the end position. He wants me to work very hard so that I can contribute right away, and I plan to do exactly that."

Fabuluje currently measures in at 6 feet 6.5 inches and 275 pounds. During the season he battled minor injuries, but felt that he improved a lot on his technique, agility and speed. Along with his buddies Ross Apo and Teu Kautai, he's taken part in some intense speed and agility workouts with former Olympic sprinter Jon Drummond that has paid big dividends.

"My best time at the forty is 4.7," he related. "That's the main thing for me, as I'm probably as big and strong as I need to be, so increasing my speed is my focus. I obviously want to get stronger, but speed and agility are the main things that will help me compete right away along with technique."

While at BYU Fabuluje hopes to learn some moves from his good friend Bronson Kaufusi, who has about as good of a technique and moves that one will see from any high school defensive end.

"He knows all the moves, he seriously does," noted Fabuluje about Kaufusi, who has received some extra mentoring from his father, Coach Kaufusi. "Every time we get together he's teaching me stuff and I love it. I hope I can get to BYU early and learn even more from him. He's had great coaching in high school and obviously from his dad, and getting that same coaching from his dad is really going to help me while I'm at BYU."

While on his trip Fabuluje was also able to meet some with his very close friend Ross Apo, who enrolled early at school this past January 11.

"He's so busy that we weren't able to do much together," he said. "He texts me all the time telling me how it's no joke at BYU, that they work you much harder than they do in high school. He tells me to be ready to work and to be focused because they take their training very seriously."

Having grown so close to Apo, Fabuluje obviously misses his friend tremendously, making him all the more anxious to join him at BYU sooner rather than later.

"I've seriously had to do totally different things with my time since we did everything, and I mean everything, together when he was here," he said. "It can be a bit lonely, I'm not going to lie, but I still have Teu [Kautai] here and some other friends, but we all miss Ross a ton, that's for sure."

The final thing Fabuluje noted about his trip was how great it was to meet with Cougar head coach Bronco Mendenhall and hear him address all the recruits as a group.

"He let us know how great of an honor it was for him to have us come to BYU," he reported. "He hoped that we all realized how great of an honor it was for us to be part of BYU and everything BYU has to offer, but he let us know that it was as much of an honor for him to have us sign with BYU, which we will do next month. He expressed to us that we were a special group of individuals and the best and most talented group he's ever brought into the program. We all felt it and we need to keep feeling that so that we live up to what Coach expects of us. I think all of us do feel it and the sense of unity we all feel is great. We really do feel that we're going to take BYU to new heights while we're there."


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