Damien Mama was recently in contact with a BYU coaches.
“BYU is doing good,” said Damien.” We had a big showcase [on Wednesday] where college coaches come by and had a big BBQ afterwards. There were around 50 college coaches there and Coach Anae and Coach Tujague was there from BYU. After the practice they just had a little BBQ for them.”
Over the summer, Damien hopes to try and get out to some college campuses.
“I'm trying to get out to Alabama and then I’ll be up there in Utah at BYU,” said Damien. “I'm going to head out there the first week of June. I just want to check out the campus and things like that. I'm still pretty high on BYU. I really like the school. They said they see me fitting in over there and like the way I play. Plus I'm LDS and they like that too.”
Damien first developed a relationship with Coach Anae when he was at Arizona. One day he stepped into his high school coach’s office expecting to see Coach Anae in a Wildcat shirt. Coach Anae was there, along with two other Wildcat coaches, but he was wearing a BYU shirt instead.
“I talk to him every Friday,” Damien said. “I call him up and we talk and he really wants me to go there. We talk about everything and sometimes it’s not about football. He talks about church things too.”
Damien also holds Coach Tujague in high esteem.
“I’ve spoken to Coach Tujague and he’s a lot like Coach Anae,” said Damien. “He’s a great guy and lets me know that the church school is the place for me to attend. He’s been out here to talk to my coaches and things like that that. I just think he’s going to be a nice offensive coach.”
Being the son of a man who was called to be a mission president to New Zealand years ago, Coach Mendenhall has become very acquainted with the Polynesian people. With the LDS faith being very prominent among the Polynesian islands, BYU has become the destination for faith-loving Polynesian football players for many, many years.
“I love him!” said Damien’s mother Martha about Coach Mendenhall. “I never met him in person but I feel connected to him. There’s some connection there.”
As members of the LDS faith, Martha has spoken to Coach Mendenhall and the two have established a connection based on common values dear to their hearts.
“I love talking to Coach Mendenhall because we are converts to the Church,” said Martha. “We the people make the Church, so I feel that we have the same faith and it’s a good environment for my son to be, you know, at BYU.”
While Martha understands the religious benefits a college like BYU would have for her son, she is confident that no matter what decision Damien makes in the end, he will hold true to the standards he has been taught.
“No matter what school he goes to as long as he has the faith and the values that he has… I'm not saying he’s going to another school, I'm just saying that he may decide to make that decision. As long as he holds the faith and values that he has, I feel that’s his place.”
Tyler Luatua connection
Although Damien and Luatua play for different high schools, the two know each other well. Damien mentioned that Luatua, who is also LDS and has about 31 scholarship offers in his own right, has mentioned in the past that he also likes BYU.
“He said BYU is one of his top schools,” Damien said. “I guess when they first started recruiting him he really liked BYU, but they didn’t offer him back then. Now they’ve just offered him.”