Defensive tackle Tani Tupou was a BYU Nike Camp MVP. He followed up that performance two days later by being named the All-Poly Camp MVP. Joining Tupou is his cousin Jarrett Finau, who holds two offers in hand and a verbal offer from BYU that would turn into a written offer if he commits. On Monday, the Tupou and Finau families will head down to BYU for an unofficial visit.
During the All-Poly Camp held in Bountiful, Utah, Tani Tupou's combination of size, agility and strength was clearly head and shoulders above the rest. Coaches participating in the camp tutored Tupou in hand- and foot-technique, coupled with placement, based on what stance the offensive lineman was taking. As to be expected, he excelled.
Tupou, representing the state of Washington, talked about why he committed to the Washington Huskies.
"Well, the program is coming up and that's one thing I really loved about it," Tupou said. "Coach Sarkisian, and everybody there, are great people and I love them. Sark is a really good guy … I just went over there and felt at home, especially because I live about 45 minutes away from campus. Also my dad works in the area. I also know all the Poly boys over there and I'm friends with a lot of the players over there like Sione [Potoae of the 2010 Husky class] and I know a lot of them."
Ultimately, the lure of playing in his home state was too much to pass up for Tupou and was a big deciding factor.
"It was probably my family and wanting to stay close to home and wanting to play with and around everybody," Tupou said. "I moved up from Hawaii to Washington when I was a little kid and, you know, everybody got to see me grow up. Everybody got a chance to see me play from little league to now, and so just to stay home and be able to play in front of everybody is something big that I want to do. Being able to have my family watch me play was a big reason."
Having finished up with top honors at the All-Poly Camp, Tupou and his family have some time left over the next few days to visit the area. His father Mosese and some other family members came to Utah with him for the camp.
Those other family members include the Finau family, of which Jarrett Finau was another camp participant. The cousin of Tupou, he is a 6-foot-3-inch, 235-pound athlete that plays multiple positions such as defensive end, middle linebacker, outside linebacker and tight end. Finau was also included among those in the All-Poly Camp MVP honors.
"Being out here for the All-Poly Camp, you get a chance to see all the different coaches and it's a great experience," Finau said. "It's funny because back home my high school coaches mainly have me playing outside linebacker with a three-man front, so the [All-Poly Camp] coaches worked with me with all these moves and how to use my hands. They gave me a bunch of weapons to put in my arsenal.”
"I have offers from Hawaii, Utah State, Washington State and Arizona. I don't really have a preference on a college right now. I'm still looking around, and some other players have committed to some of those schools. I'll be taking a look at BYU here soon."
Two weeks ago, he received a phone call from a member of the BYU staff and was verbally offered a scholarship.
"They were going to offer me a scholarship, but, because they were limited, I would have to commit to them right then. I didn't commit because I kind of felt it was too early for me and I needed time. BYU is a great school, and being Mormon, it's my church school. Jake Heaps, a local hero back in Washington, is there, and also the environment and influences that are at BYU are great also. I just didn't want to commit right then and there without having time to think about it and find out more."
Having come down to the state of Utah for the All-Poly Camp, Finau was able to see more of the area and learn a little more about BYU.
"BYU would be a great school mainly just because I'm Mormon," he said. "It's my faith and I like the Utah area. I have a lot of family here [and] being here would be a good influence on me, I guess. I'm taking a closer look at BYU now and BYU is still on my list.
"I just wanted to take a look at other options and see how I fit in with those options. All of these things can be tough sometimes. The situation with BYU kind of caught me off guard. I just felt it was too early for me to commit right now. Then I'm wondering what colleges will honor my mission. I really want to go on a mission. I know I wouldn't have to worry about that with BYU."
Finau said that Arizona is currently recruiting him the hardest.
"Arizona and Coach Mike Tuisosopo have kind of been keeping in touch with me," Finau said.
"Washington hasn't offered me yet, but they do want to see me in full action. The All-Poly Camp is one way that they can see me do that."