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Friday, May 30, 2008

Malosi Te'o to BYU

Te'o, a missionary serving in New York, says he'll leave UNLV

By Jay Drew Salt Lake Tribune

Article Last Updated: 05/30/2008 01:46:56 AM MDT

Another football player who is currently serving an LDS Church mission has decided to switch schools and accept a scholarship offer from BYU when he returns home in December or January, his father confirmed Thursday night.

Malosi Te'o, a running back from Kahuku, Hawaii, who signed with UNLV out of high school but has yet to play for the Rebels, will become a Cougar next year, Ephraim Te'o said, confirming news first reported by the Web site totalbluesports.com.

On Monday, Utah State quarterback Riley Nelson announced from his mission in Spain that he is transferring to BYU when he returns in March of 2009.

Ephraim Te'o said he learned about his son's decision from talking to UNLV coaches on Thursday. Apparently, the Rebels received a letter recently from Malosi Te'o, who is serving in New York, informing them that he would be accepting a scholarship offer from BYU upon his return.

The father said that BYU was his son's first and only choice after Malosi rushed for 1,209 yards and 13 touchdowns as a senior at Kahuku in 2005. However, the Cougars told him they were out of scholarships for running backs at the time.

UNLV made an offer after Te'o rushed for 262 yards in Kahuku's state championship game, and he signed in February 2006. However, he left on his mission in February 2007 before ever suiting up for the Rebels.

Ephraim Te'o said Malosi Te'o asked his mother to send an e-mail to BYU coaches just a few months after he started his mission to see if the Cougars had any interest in him. In April, more than a year after that inquiry, BYU coaches sent an e-mail back to the parents saying they were interested, and shortly thereafter a scholarship offer was issued, Ephraim Te'o said.

The father said that as far as he knows, BYU coaches have not been informed by his son that he is accepting their offer. College coaches cannot discuss specific recruits until they have signed.

"He has wanted to go to BYU his whole life," Ephraim Te'o said. "Still, I am sure it was a difficult decision for him, because UNLV coaches [Mike] Sanford and [Keith] Uperesa were so good to him."

A 5-foot-10, 195-pound running back, Te'o was part of Sanford's second recruiting class. He played for American Fork High in Utah as a sophomore before moving to Hawaii.

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