BYU Extends Offer to Defensive Tackle

On Friday BYU extended a full-ride scholarship offer to a defensive lineman scouted out by Total Blue Sports as being one of the better instate prospects. A physical, quick and explosive defensive tackle on the football field, this prospect is also the top wrestler in the state of Utah.

Coach Peck of Bingham High School received a call Friday from BYU about one of his players, 6-foot-1-inch, 275-pound defensive tackle Kesni Tausinga. So, Tausinga and his mother jumped in the car and drove down to Provo to meet with the coaches of BYU.

"At first I met with Coach Doman and talked with him for a little bit about my grades and all that," Tausinga said. "Then I spoke to Coach Kaufusi and he's the one that broke the news for me. He said they've wanted to offer me for a while and that they've been looking at me. He said they liked me a lot.

"Then they took me into the conference room where I met with the other defensive coaches," continued Tausinga. "They talked to me about the Church and if I wanted to go on a mission. Then they pulled out some letters and wanted me to read them."

Tausinga wasn't quite sure of what to expect when he went to meet with the BYU coaches.

"Well, my coach told me to call them and go down there," Tausinga said with a laugh. "When I was first told that I was hoping that it would be an offer, but at the same time I was kind of hoping I wouldn't get offered so I didn't get my hopes up and stuff. After they offered me, it was just really cool. Man, I don't know … I just wanted to jump up and down and laugh and stuff. I'm just so excited and I don't know. This is just so awesome. I'm just trying to think about it all and go over all the choices. I'm feeling really good about it right now."

The BYU coaches extended the offer after seeing Tausinga's highlight video Friday morning.

"It's just amazing because they said they were just waiting for my highlights, but I haven't had time to work on them because of wrestling," Tausinga said. "I just finally got it done and they saw it and I guess that's what triggered it."

"When the coaches watched his highlight video this morning, because we had just updated it and wasn't able to finish it up because he was wrestling, they watched it together as a staff," said Coach Peck. "They already knew of Kesni but didn't know what kind of year he had, and when they watched his highlight video they said, ‘You know what? The kid has grades. The kid is a great player and there is no reason why this kid should not be getting an offer,' so they called me and we set up a meeting today. I went back home and called him up and said, ‘Hey, can you be down at BYU today?' I think he actually went down there with him mom. He was really excited."

Though he was excited, Tausinga didn't commit after receiving his official BYU offer.

"Coach Mendenhall wasn't there and so there wasn't a commit," said Coach Peck. "When Coach Mendenhall gets back in from being out of town, he'll meet with him then."

"They said I should call Wednesday night so I can set up a meeting then," said Tausinga. "Me and my family are going to fast and pray about it and make a decision then."

Meanwhile, Tausinga wasn't the only one excited by his BYU offer.

"My dad is the biggest BYU fan that you'll ever meet," said Tausinga. "Oh my gosh, he was so pumped! He couldn't come with me because he couldn't get off of work, so my mom drove me down and she was very proud of me and honored. I called my dad after and he was trying so hard not to scream at work. He was so happy!"

Coach Peck says that BYU isn't the only school interested in Tausinga.

"I know Washington State is really close to offering him," said Coach Peck. "Washington State has already offered Seni [Fanuku], our nose guard. I think Kesni is real interested in staying in-state, so yeah, I think there is a good chance he goes to BYU, but that's really up to him and his family.

"You know, if he had been around 6'3" or 6'4" he would have had a lot of scholarships already. I just feel like many colleges look for that type of player but don't always get them. I think BYU in my mind now, they're just looking for the best football players now and if they aren't an inch or two [taller] now it won't matter. They're looking at it from a standpoint of if the kid is going to fit the program and be successful."

Tausinga has been a two-year starter for Coach Peck, first as an offensive lineman his sophomore year. His junior year he was the starting defensive tackle and played a little on the offensive line due to attrition. Next season he could see action at different positions again.

"I might be playing on the offensive line because we lost some guys there from last year, and I'll also be playing on the d-line again also," said Tausinga. "When I spoke to the defensive coaches at BYU, they said I could choose what position I wanted to play. As of right now it's d-line, but later on down the road if they see I'm getting better at offense or something they can move me around. You know, in the end I'll just play whatever they need me to play. I've played on both sides of the ball."

So what position would he prefer?

"Well, I would rather play defense but if they need me at offense I would do whatever they needed me at," said Tausinga. "I would just do what's good for them and the team."

Tausinga has seen success both in the classroom and in athletics.

"He's a 3.2 GPA student and already scored a 23 on the ACT," said Coach Peck. "Kesni benches around 325 on the bench and squats around 420 pounds. Our kids all do a great job in the weight room and you know that. He took second in the state as a wrestler during his sophomore year, and was the state champion last year and pinned every kid in the state championship wrestling meet. In the championship match, he pinned the kid in the first round. He moves really well and played in the Highland rugby national championship game and started for them just this past year."

"Last year I was number-two [wrestler] in the state as a sophomore, but this year I took it," Tausinga said. "In the state tournament I pinned everyone that I went up against, and in the finals I pinned Tyler Larson of Syracuse in a minute and 34 seconds. That was pretty cool. In the state tournament I pinned everyone and in region I pinned everyone. I've had a few out-of-state matches where I was close to pinning everyone."

Coach Peck said Tausinga fits the mold of the type of student athlete that Coach Mendenhall is looking for.

"He's one of the kids that if I have any issues or problems with our team at all, but feel like it's a situation where I need a player to take care of it, Kesni is always one of the first ones that I call to take care of it," said Coach Peck. "He's always the first one to take care of any issue I need taken care of. We can throw out all the clichés around [and] about him, but he's the real deal and we're all excited for him. He's the real deal and has been a great player in our program over the past two years and I expect the same thing from him his senior year."

There are already quite a few Bingham High School players that have committed to BYU. BYU's defense could field quite a few of Tausinga's former Miner teammates and other Bingham alumni, and that suits him just fine.

"I remember when Iona [Pritchard] was playing and he took me in like a little brother," said Tausinga. "I love Iona to death and Manoa Pikula is my best friend. Moses Kaumatule is someone I've been playing with every day on the d-line. Jordan Pendleton, I've been watching him since I was a little eighth grader and always looked up to him. He just seemed like this unreal football God on the field, and to be counted as one of them is just so unreal to me. I just love those guys to death. I don't know, it's going to be like home I guess.

While it isn't known whether Tausinga will commit to BYU, the odds look pretty good.

"I've always been a big fan of BYU ever since I was little," said Tausinga. "I love the rivalry and I'm a big BYU fan. Getting an offer from them is huge to me. I think Coach Mendenhall has done a terrific job in turning that program around and making that program one of the best in the country. I think it's only going to get better from here."

Total Blue Sports will follow up with Tausinga and his eventual decision. Until then, congratulations to Kesni and the Tausinga family.

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