Summer is usually a time when most high school kids don't worry about academics or curricular issues. The time away from the classroom is now meant to be filled with fun summer activities and family gatherings of the more leisurely type, but not for Bingham High School offensive and defensive lineman Tuni Kanuch.
Part of Kanuch's summer has been spent working hard on academics so as provide himself a better future.
"It’s been going good," said Kanuch. "I’ve been working hard to make sure I can be eligible to be a Cougar next year. I’ve taking summer school classes to raise my core GPA and studying hard for the ACT so that I won’t have any problems with the clearinghouse."
If Kanuch had been more active in self-promoting and had attended camps across the country with his core GPA in line following his sophomore year, he would have been one of the more heavily recruited linemen in the state of Utah and in the West. However, Kanuch has largely flown under the national radar, which bodes well for BYU.
"Tuni’s core GPA has improved significantly this summer," said good friend and father figure Jon Lloyd. "I think that he has realized that in order to play big-time football he has to take the academics more seriously, and he’s willing to do what it takes to earn the scholarship he’s been offered."
Lloyd has taken Kanuch under his wing, providing encouragement, support and direction for the 6-foot-2-inch, 290-pound lineman with a sub 5.0 forty. Coming from a home where academics weren’t much of a priority, Kanuch has received valuable lessons from Lloyd that have helped him realize his potential. Lloyd has made it a personal effort to help Kanuch reach that potential both on and off the field. ??
"I’ve been working hard in the weight room to get stronger and training with SPARQ to gain speed and agility," said Kanuch. "This season we play Viewmont, Alta and Trinity High School in the first three games and it will be important for us to be ready right out of the gate."
"Tuni Squats 615 pounds and hopes to improve on that this year," said Lloyd. "He takes training seriously and wants to win the heavyweight lifting championship again this year."??
A 615-pound squat is simply amazing when considering Kanuch hasn't even entered his senior year of high school yet. That lower-body strength will come in handy when blocking bull-rushing defensive linemen or when rushing the quarterback.
"I’m playing o-line this year but might get into the defensive rotation for some plays too," Kanuch said. "As far as my play at BYU, I’m not sure where they’ll want me. The coaches said that they aren’t sure where I’ll fit best, but I’ll play wherever they think I can help the most."
"I think most people assume that Tuni will be on the defensive side of the ball, and that likely will be the case," said Lloyd. "I wouldn’t be too surprised to see him switched over to the other side either. I see a bunch of talent on the d-line in the coming years and like in years past, some changes are inevitable."
Regardless of what position he plays in college, one thing that will remain constant about Kanuch is his style of play.
"As an offensive lineman I like to play aggressive and hit people before they hit me," said Kanuch. "As far as playing as a defensive lineman, I come off the ball quick and try and find the right angles to find and stop the ball."
So with one more year left under his belt at Bingham High School, Kanuch has spent his time well over the summer in preparation for that final season and beyond. With close friend, father-figure and mentor Jon Lloyd by his side in full support, Kanuch has made great strides. BYU assistant coach Brandon Doman and Cougar head coach Bronco Mendenhall have been beacons of support for Kanuch as well.
“Coach Doman has been willing to help me out with any questions that I had," said Kanuch. "He makes the players feel comfortable and lets them know what to expect as they consider committing to BYU. At first, I really wasn’t sure where I wanted to go. After meeting with Coach Mendenhall in his office, I knew that BYU was the right place for me because of the morals and values that BYU has to offer. Coach Mendenhall is direct and very to-the-point, and I felt comfortable in my commitment to him."??