Lapuaho Talks About BYU Commitment

At Hunter High School, Ului "Lui" Lapuaho's job is to protect his quarterback's blindside from would-be tacklers. Having become BYU's newest commit, Lapuaho will be expected to do the same at the "quarterback factory" for some top-rated quarterbacks in the near future.

The Cougars are loaded with young but highly talented quarterbacks, and all will be expected to compete to be the next Cougar great. Finding protection for such high caliber quarterbacks is a priority for the Cougar coaching staff, and with Ului Lapuaho having committed, they're well on their way.

"On the field I'm calm and relaxed and look forward to seeing who I'm going to go up against," said Ului, a member of the 2011 recruiting class. "Football is a physical game, so I look forward to getting out there on the line to play, if you know what I mean. I'm a very aggressive player."

Ului is the son of former BYU offensive lineman Rob Lapuaho, who has been an offensive line coach in high school.

In one year Ului went from being a tall but lean 235 pounds to a tall and bigger 285 pounds, and thus his style of play has changed. That's quite a jump in one year and it will be interesting to see where he stands after his senior year.

"I'm getting stronger in the weight room and that's something I'm really working on," said Ului. "My dad really helps me to understand how to be a better player. He helps me to know the game and with my technique."

Soon, Ului will be able to follow in his father's footsteps by playing for the Cougars.

"Well, I have two older brothers and [my dad] always wanted them to succeed with football and then go to college," said Ului. "I saw how much he wanted them to go through what he went through: experiencing the fun and excitement of BYU football. I just wanted to experience the same things. It's great for me because I get to further my education and play football for a team that I love, and that's BYU. I get to play football in college at a place that represents my faith and I get to play to represent my family."

BYU was the first school to offer Ului a scholarship. It was an offer that Ului couldn't pass up.

"When I first went down there I thought they were just going to talk to me like other schools," said Ului. "I wasn't really expecting anything. Bronco Mendenhall was great and talked to me about his program. I really liked what he had to say and committed to him right then and there. I was really surprised.

"BYU's been my favorite school since I was little," he continued. "I've always dreamed about going there, so when they offered me, that was a good day for me. I just committed to Coach Mendenhall right then because BYU is the place where I wanted to be. It was a dream come true for me."

However, the Cougar offer only came after he got his grades up to par, and that happened only after his father Rob found out that there needed to be some academic adjustments.

"I went and looked at some of his grades and found that there were some that needed to be improved upon," said Rob. "After that we made sure he was doing better in the classroom. He needed to make up for a freshman year that wasn't where he needed to be, so he's improved on some things and after that is when he got his offer from BYU."

While Ului was excited to receive his offer from BYU, he was also shocked.

"I was surprised and never thought they would offer me of all people," Ului said humbly. "I just never thought I would reach that level and never looked at myself as being to that level. When BYU offered me, it really opened my eyes and helped me to understand that I was a good player. They saw something in me that I didn't. I never thought that day would ever happen, so it's a real blessing to me."

Though he won't officially sign his letter of intent with BYU until about a year from now, Ului said his commitment to the Cougars won't waver.

"Coach Mendenhall talked to me about what it means to be committed, so I understand when I gave my commitment to him that it's my honor on the line," said Ului. "If another school comes along and offers me and wants me to commit to them, I'll just have to tell them, ‘Sorry, I'm already committed to BYU. BYU is the place for me.'"

Ului's attraction to BYU not only comes from the fact that his father once played there, but also because of the principles that the program is built upon.

"The way BYU's football program is set up is different than anywhere else," said Ului. "It's a program that knows how to win big games and at the same time help teach the players to become more than just great football players. It's more than just football."

So what does Ului think of his future Cougar head coach?

"Well, Bronco was a little intimidating at first," said Ului with a laugh. "After getting to know him and after listening to him speak, he was like talking to my bishop."

As one might guess, Ului is LDS. In fact, he is planning on serving a mission.

"My plans are I want to go for one year and then serve my mission," Ului said. "That's what I want to do when I go to BYU. I've always wanted to play football at BYU and I've always wanted to serve my mission. I'm just grateful I'll have the chance to do both."

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