Kahuku's all-time leading rusher to visit BYU

Aofaga Wily rushed the ball 277 times this season for 1,730 yards and 26 touchdowns. Hawaii's top running back in 2012, and Kahuku High School's all-time leading rusher, plans on taking an official visit out to BYU by the end of the month with a specific goal in mind.

This was a remarkable season for Red Raider running back Aofaga Wily. The offensive star helped his team win a second consecutive state title.

"I was really happy making it through the year this past year," said Wily. "I was trying to avoid injuries this year unlike last year, where I was playing with torn ligaments and a chipped bone. This year was really good for me because I was healthy and was able to gain a little more weight, so those two things really benefited me. Overall it was a good season for me and I was able to accomplish a lot."

Coming in at 6-feet, 210-pounds, Wily accomplished an incredible feat this past season. He passed up Hawaiian icon Mosi Tatupu and Pesafea Fiaseu for fourth all-time in the state in rushing yardage. Prior to Kahuku's contest against Mililani on October 2, Wily sat at 3,717 total rushing yards, placing him as Hawaii's fourth all-time leading rusher.

"I didn't really keep up with how I was doing overall," said Wily. "I didn't really care too much about it, so I wasn't really paying attention to that."

Regardless, Wily would go on to surpass Kama Bailey (3,930 career rushing yards), placing him third among Hawaii's all-time leading rushers, right behind fellow Red Raider Mark Atuaia (4,146), who was second all-time behind Joe Igber with 4,428.

However, when the season was all said and done, Wily would go on to edge out Atuaia to become Kahuku's all-time leading rusher with 4,193 career rushing yards. Atuaia's record dated all the way back to 1990.

"Yeah, I did break the school record," Wily said. "It came at the end of the season during the post season. I found out about it when people came to interview me after our game. It was kind of shocking. It felt good and it came because of me and my teammates working hard with our coaches pushing us. It just all paid off."

Now Kahuku's all-time leading rusher, Wily's extraordinary accomplishment almost didn't happen. During his earlier playing years, Wily had manned the middle of the field as a linebacker. By chance, the Kahuku coaches needed a running back to compete against the Red Raider defense, which at the time consisted of players such as Hau'oli Jamora (Washington) and Kona Schwenke (Notre Dame). Wily was selected to give it a shot.

"Honestly, I was running scared!" Wiley said with a laugh. "They needed a scout running back during my freshman year, so they pulled me up to the varsity level. I guess I did pretty good because they wanted me to play running back for the next season."

"When he was coming up, we moved Aofaga to offense because we needed a running back. On the first play, he busted through the middle of the defensive line for 25 yards," said former Kahuku assistant coach David Te'o. "We thought it was a fluke. So, we said, ‘Run it again.' Then on the second play he ran for another 25 yards. After that, we knew he was the real deal."

The rest was history, and throughout his career colleges began taking notice. BYU's Coach Kaufusi soon began recruiting Wily, along with his high school teammate Ku-J Tapusoa. Wily has been invited to play in the AIGA Bowl, after which he'll fly out and visit the Cougars of BYU later this month.

"They said that they wanted me, so I've been looking at them and at [the University of Hawaii]," Wily said. "I've been cutting down schools and just looking forward to checking them out. I don't think I'll be going out there with Ku-J because I'm going to play in the AIGA Bowl. After I play in the AIGA Bowl in Cali, I'm going to fly out to Utah and check out BYU and see how it is."

Wily mentioned that BYU has offered him a scholarship, but at this point it's only a verbal offer. He's yet to come on campus for a visit, which is usually a prerequisite to receiving an offer from the Cougar coaching staff.

"Yeah, they offered me and talked about it earlier in the season," said Wily. "They haven't offered me the actual scholarship paper, but they said that I have an offer but hadn't decided if they were going to offer me for offense or defense. We'll see when I get there."

Apparently the BYU scholarship was based on whether Wily goes on a mission or not.

"Yeah, they said that they can hold my scholarship if I go on a mission," said Wily. "They said they would hold a slot for me in 2015 for running back or for safety when I return."

So if a scholarship from BYU hinges upon a decision to serve a mission, what are Wily's plans in that regard?

"For right now, me and my family have been discussing it," said Wily. "I think for now I'm just going to go to college and then go on a mission later in life. Right now I'm just going to go to college."

However, there has been a recent development regarding the availability of BYU scholarships. Bothell High School running back/fullback Darrin Laufasa's BYU scholarship has been nullified due to his current academic standing, leaving possible room for the Cougar staff to offer Wily upon his BYU visit later this month.

"Yeah, we'll see how it goes," he said. "I plan on visiting BYU at the end of this month, so we'll see how it all turns out. Hopefully everything goes as planned because I'm looking at both BYU and UH right now."

Despite being Kahuku High School's all-time leading rusher, and Hawaii's second all-time leading rusher, Wily is being looked at as a defensive prospect by the Cougar coaching staff.

"Well, when it came down it was pretty clear that it was for safety," Wily said about his offer. "I haven't played defense for a while so I'm kind of 50/50 about it. I guess whatever they want me to go, I'll just do my best to adjust to it."

Again, with BYU severing ties with Laufasa, the opportunity to fill that open running back slot is a possibility. It will all depend on where the Cougar coaches feel Wily would fit in best, and whether they actually offer him a written scholarship offer during his official visit.

"Yeah, we'll see I guess," Wily said. "I know Ku-J is going to BYU as a safety, and so I've been playing with him since our Pop Warner days. Knowing his leadership in football and in school would be a big help to me. He's a mean player, so having him back there would help me feel comfortable if that's how everything turned out."

If Wily does receive and then accept an offer to play running back at BYU, it looks as though he'll be coached by Atuaia, the very player whose Kakuku rushing record he surpassed. Atuaia, a former Cougar running back himself, will reportedly take over as BYU's running back coach this year. Wily would also be playing under offensive coordinator Robert Anae, who just returned to BYU after coaching for two seasons at Arizona, a college that has also offered Wily a scholarship (Hawaii has also offered him). As for now, he's just looking at BYU and Hawaii as his two top schools.

"I'm going to look at the facilities and how the people are around there," said Wily. "I don't want to be around a bad environment where there's a lot of party people. I want a good environment that I can feel comfortable at and have no distractions. I've talked to a few people who went to BYU and UH and I'm just kind of looking at these two schools. Like I said, hopefully everything works out when I get down there to BYU."

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