Tausinga Makes it Official

As was expected soon after he was offered, Kesni Tausinga committed to Cougar coaches after having the chance to meet with head coach Bronco Mendenhall in person. He'll now join with three of his teammates in signing a letter of intent with the Cougars a year from today in hopes of posing a rather formidable defensive front.

Kesni Tausinga is a 6-1, 275 defensive tackle/offensive line prospect from Bingham high school. Upon receiving his official offer from BYU a little more than a week ago, TBS reported that he'd almost assuredly commit to Coach Mendenhall and his staff, but was waiting to meet with the Cougar head coach before officially doing so.

Today was that day as Tausinga and his family made their way down to Provo to meet face-to-face with Mendenhall.

"I was excited, very excited and today I saw a different side to Coach Mendenhall which I really liked", he said regarding his visit. "I've always had a ton of respect for him and for all of the BYU coaches, but after meeting with him, I really feel even more about him and my decision to play for BYU."

Tausinga has been well-versed on BYU having had so many of his teammates play for the program or setting to do so after signing their letters of intent, so there wasn't much to learn about Mendenhall or BYU upon today's visit. He'd been to the camps and had seen the "stern and serious" side of the Cougar head coach, but today it was a different type of person that he met with.

"He was just more laid back than he's been when I've been to camps there and I really liked it", he informed. "He was relaxed and we just talked about life. We talked a lot about BYU football and I was very impressed with how down-to-earth he was with me. We talked about everything, but mostly about the church and what BYU football is and what will be expected of me when I play there and attend school."

What stuck out to Tausinga perhaps most was Mendenhall explaining to him that he wouldn't have to give anything up by attending BYU. While the perception from most might be that student-athletes have to give up a lot to live BYU's strict standards, that wasn't the perception conveyed during their meeting.

"He told me that BYU has everything that I have right now and then some", he said. "They're the complete package. They're strong in the church, emphasizing their standards, and I know that I won't have to give up the things that are most important to me in life by playing football for BYU and in attending BYU and that is a huge plus in my mind."

Tausinga attended the meeting with his parents who are both very supportive of their son's decision. He'll join with teammates Manoa Pikula, Moses Kaumutele and Baker Pritchard in signing with BYU a little less than a year from today. In playing with each of them and growing so close to each of them, he's thrilled to have the opportunity to continue with them at the next level.

"We're all so close", he said about his now and future teammates. "We work out together, we make sure we take the same classes, we support each other, encourage each other, it's just amazing that we'll all be together doing the same sort of stuff at the next level at BYU. I couldn't ask for anything more."

After his visit with Mendenhall, he was able to meet yet more of his future teammates at the BYU basketball game.

"Coach Weber told Jake Heaps, Ross Apo and Harvey Unga of my commit and they all came up to me at the game to congratulate me on my decision", he said. "Harvey is my cousin, so I've known him for a long time, but it was my first time meeting Jake and Ross after hearing so much about them and seeing film on them. They're both great guys and great athletes. I can't wait to play with them at BYU."

Tausinga has mission plans, but isn't sure on whether he'll serve his mission right out of high school or play a year before leaving as he turns 19 the October after he graduates high school. What he is certain of is that he will serve a mission.

While he's able to play both defensive and offensive line, all of his meetings and conversations have been with the Cougar defensive coaches.

"I'll play offense if they want me to, but right now they're just talking to me about playing on defense", he explained. "I prefer defense and definitely want to play there, but I'll be open to playing offensive line if that's where they think I'll be better."

Now that he's committed, Tausinga couldn't be happier with his decision and does feel the relief that often accompanies those after making their final decision in regards to where they'll sign.

"I couldn't be happier with my decision and with the opportunity I have to be part of BYU's program", he expressed. "BYU is perfect for me and for what I am as a person. I feel really good about my decision and I know it's the right decision for me to best reach my goals. As Coach Mendenhall said, I don't have to give up anything that I hold as important in my life by attending BYU and being part of their program. BYU has everything."

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