Highly sought-after linebacker Butch Pau’u (5-11, 220 pounds) from Servite High School in Anaheim, Calif., will attend BYU football camp this week. Although he already has a scholarship offer from the Cougars, he isn’t leaving anything to chance.
“I haven’t been to camp since my freshman year,” Pau’u said. “I just want to come out and compete, let the coaches know they made the right decision in offering me. I am also bringing out my friend Jherremya Leuta Douyere (6-1, 230 pounds) a running back/outside linebacker. Coaches have said they are interested in him and want him to come out and show what he can do.”
Pau’u is confident he knows everything he needs to know about BYU. He joked, “All of my family are big BYU fans. Coach Kaufusi is my uncle, and Uona Kavienga and Loni Fangupo are my cousins.” One of his favorite BYU memories growing up was the BYU-USC game. “I was a BYU fan but also a USC fan, so it was really hard to cheer for either team, but I was sitting in the BYU section so I just cheered for them.”
BYU is an attractive choice for him because of the atmosphere. “I’m an LDS kid with mission plans; BYU will let me go on a mission. A lot of schools will tell you they will let you go and then kids don’t go; I learned that from my cousin Uona Kaveinga’s experience.” Pau’u added, “I will go on my mission no matter what.”
The number of Polynesian players on the team is also a big plus for Pau’u. “I love playing with Poly kids; it makes the game fun. They are also fun to be with off the field too.”
Pau’u still plans to attend camps at Washington and Colorado. He is also aware that a lot of recruits come to BYU, attend camps and can’t leave without committing. “I am afraid that will happen to me; I think my mom is home secretly praying that will happen.” If he can make it out of Provo without committing, Pau’u wants to wait until August to make a decision.
Pau’u likes the way BYU coaches have recruited him. “I like the personal messages I get from the coaches. A lot of times we just talk about life, but we also talk about football.” He recently met linebacker coach Paul Tidwell for the first time. “He was really cool and I was excited to finally meet the linebacker coach. I was nervous when I met him, but he was really soft-spoken.”
When considering who he models his play after, Pau’u refers to his father, Yepi, who played for San Jose State. “My dad was short like me, but he got to the ball fast and played hard,” Pau’u explained. “My family tells me I play a lot like him.”
Pau’u is excited for BYU’s move to independence: “Independence is really cool. It indirectly helps the mission of the church; it also means they get to play the best of the best like Texas. One of my high school coaches came out to BYU recently to see the program; he told me that BYU is doing some big things and are going to be a great program.”
Outside of football, Pau'u's family, church and education matter most. “My family is really big on education; I currently have a 3.6 GPA and want to study medicine.” He added, “I am also working on finishing my Eagle Scout project; I am putting together health kits for a homeless shelter.”
Pau’u is getting a lot of attention for his football skills, but he isn’t taking it too seriously. “I am just a normal LDS kid working hard to live the standards of the gospel. I have just been really blessed and wouldn’t be anything without my Heavenly Father.”