Tevi's eye-opening BYU experience

Sam Tevi

The past week has been a big one for Texas defensive end Sam Tevi. First, he was one of the top performers at the All-Poly Camp. Then, big Texas Tongan had an eye-opening experience while visiting BYU's campus.

On Wednesday morning, 6-foot-5-inch, 270-pound All-Poly Camp MVP Sam Tevi took his first ever trip to BYU.

"It was really nice and I really liked it up there with the coaches," Tevi said. "I wasn't expecting it be like that. I just thought that BYU was going to be just another school but more of a church school. As soon as I stepped foot on campus, I knew it was different. This was my first time ever being down there and it was a lot different than I expected, a lot different."

With 11 scholarships offers in hand already, Tevi has visited many different college campuses and spoken with various college recruiters for some time now. His BYU experience, however, was unique.

"Yeah, I wasn't really expecting much going down there, but after being down there and seeing what it's like it really opened my eyes," said Tevi. "I wasn't even expecting that. I've been to different colleges and spoken to coaches a lot before and it's always about the same things.

"When I was down at BYU, I was shown around all the facilities and saw just how serious they take it there. I wasn't really expecting that, just thinking BYU was just this little church college. When we were there, the coaches helped us to know what BYU is really about. All the other coaches I talk to just talk about football, but BYU is more than that. They don't talk about things that BYU talks about and stands for."

Coach Mendenhall spoke to Tevi about five things that are the most important in his life.

"I told him the first thing that's most important in my life is God," said Tevi. "Coach Mendenhall smiled at me and said something like, ‘You can become closer to your Heavenly Father by being here at BYU and by being around young men who feel the same way you do.' He said that BYU is a church college where everything they do helps us become closer to our Heavenly Father.

"I then told him that the second thing that's most important to me was family … Coach Mendenhall said that family is one of the most important things in this life and that they would be happy with my decision to come to BYU. BYU has more married players on the team than any other football program in the country."

Next on Tevi's list was friends and teammates.

"I want to be around good people and good teammates," he said. "Coach Mendenhall said, ‘The friends you'll make here are people who are just like you. The teammates you have here are great role models and examples to one another.' I really thought that was great."

Tevi then brought up education as being one of the most important things to him. Finally, he ended with service.

"Coach Mendenhall said, ‘We send more young men on missions from BYU than any other school, and we want our players to give back to the community while they're here.' I really took that to heart because I really didn't know these things. All of these things were really just an eye-opening experience and I was kind of shocked to learn about this. I just didn't know."

Coach Mendenhall then gave Tevi a piece of paper to read.

"I read the first paragraph and it said that I was being given a scholarship by BYU," said Tevi. "I was so excited and really speechless. This whole thing really just helped me to understand what BYU is all about. I didn't know it before but I know it now.

"After I read that looked at Coach Mendenhall. He looked at me like he wanted me to commit. I told him that I could see myself playing here. If my dad was with me, I would have committed to Coach Mendenhall right there. I just felt like BYU is the right place."

Tevi will fly back to Texas on Thursday, and then talk things over with his father Motukia about his BYU experience.

"I'm going to let him know what I think and how I feel. Then we'll see after that. I really think BYU is a great place to be. I think it's a place that will help me become closer to my Heavenly Father and be around people who are just like me. I wasn't expecting that, but now BYU is the top school for me."

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