BYU Verbally Offers Nevada Linebacker

While scouting out the 400 or so Division I hopefuls at the BYU Nike Camp last Wednesday, one of the linebackers that stood out was Trajen Pili. Pili just received his first offer, a verbal offer from Cougar coaches.

Trajen Pili is the cousin of BYU fullback Jo Jo Pili, currently preparing to serve a mission to Alabama. Trajen is a 14-year-old middle linebacker prodigy in the making. In Utah for BYU's Nike Camp and the All-Poly Camp, the Las Vegas resident was able to meet with Cougar coaches and receive some good news.

"I met the head coach of BYU, Bronco Mendenhall, and the linebacker coach, Coach Tidwell, and they gave me a verbal offer," Pili said. "They gave me a card and said they would send me a questionnaire. When that happened I was just excited because I've always wanted to go to BYU since I was five years old. Both of my parents went to BYU.

"I was just really excited and I couldn't speak when Coach Mendenhall and Coach Tidwell told me they were giving me a verbal offer. They told me that I was looking really good and to gain some weight over the next three years and be ready. My dad played football there and my mom graduated from there. I just want to play there."

This young buck is a versatile player who is quick side to side and that has good size and speed for his age.

"I can play any linebacker position," he said. "I can play in the middle or the outside, it doesn't matter. At BYU, I'm thinking I would want to play my best to try and get that starting position wherever the coaches want me to play. I want that starting position and really want to play there in front of all those great fans."

Pili comes in at 6 feet 2 inches and 200 pounds, and said he can bench 210 pounds and squat about 300 pounds. He considers himself a disciplined, smart and aggressive player.

"I would describe myself as a controlled attacker," Pili said. "I like to play hard and be physical, but at the same time I don't like to be playing in a way that hurts my team by not playing smart. When that happens, you start getting into trouble with the refs. I'm an aggressive but disciplined player and try to be fundamentally sound. I try not to play outside the defense, but do what the coaches say because they know what they're doing and they'll put me in a position to make the play."

Although only verbally offered by the Cougar coaches, it sounds as though this Las Vegas linebacker knows exactly what he wants, and that's to wear the white and blue of BYU.

"I'll go to BYU," Pili said. "I have family that plays there and my dad played there. It's my church college and they have good academics there. Being LDS, my family has the same standards as the players and coaches, so it would just be easier for me to be around those that are more like me. The people that go there have the same standards as me, so it just makes things easier for me to be there and choose the right."

But wait a second here; there is still a lot of time left on the recruiting clock for Pili to make a calculated final decision. What if, say, newly inducted Pac-10 school University of Utah comes calling with a recruiting pitch about the conference it will soon play in?

"That kind of stuff doesn't really matter to me," Pili said. "Utah is still the same program and school regardless, so it doesn't really matter much to me what conference they're in. All that means now it just opens up the road more for BYU to take the Mountain West, and BYU has a great education and that's the main reason. It's my church college and football is just a way to get into college and get a great education and a degree. I love playing football, so it just makes things twice as fun."

Pili discussed his BYU plans, saying, "I'll probably go there for a year and maybe redshirt. I'll then go on my mission for two years and then come back and play."

So, that must mean he plans on committing to BYU?

"Yup," Pili said. "I still have three years, so we'll see when that happens, but yeah. Go Cougs! Let's go!"

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