"It's between those two," said Mahina. "I might take some visits to other schools, but it's between UCLA and BYU."
With offers also coming from Oregon, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, San Diego State, UTEP and Washington State, Mahina has a strong presence of Western schools to choose from, but has made it clear they are on the outside looking in.
"BYU, because I'm Mormon and it's my church school. They have great school spirit and it's a great environment," said Mahina. "I went to Junior Day there. They said it was up to me when I want to take my mission. I'm taking my (official) trip there January 14th-16th."
Meanwhile, the Bruins, who've verbally offered Mahina, have much going for them in his eyes. "UCLA is close to home and my family can come out and watch my games," said Mahina. "It's a great football tradition and a great school to go to academically. I need to sit down and talk to with Coach (John) Wristen about when they want me to take my official trip. UCLA said I would have a couple of options about when to take my mission. They want me to go before I come."
Though UCLA and BYU are the prohibitive favorites, Mahina isn't completely closing the door on other schools. "I may visit Utah and Oregon just to get a good look at them," said Mahina. "I'll probably be deciding, though, during the season. If not, then it wouldn't be much after."
Last season, when Mahina was playing behind Oregon State-signee John Reese, he figured most of his attention would be coming on the defensive side of the ball. "I didn't really expect to be recruited as a tight end," said Mahina. "I thought it would be as a defensive end. But then I started doing real good at tight end at the camps and everyone is recruiting me as a tight end."
Mahina stood out at the UCLA 1-Day Camp earlier this summer and had a stand-out day at the Scout.com Combine, showing he has the ability to catch and is a nice, physical presence who could add some more weight.
He didn't get a chance to take any unofficial trips this summer but has been to BYU and UCLA more than once. "I'm going to see UCLA-Utah when they play this year and I'm going to go check out a practice at UCLA," said Mahina.
Mahina said he was in good shape academically, with a 3.0 GPA and a 1200 score on the SAT.