CI has been swamped with questions regarding whether or not Ofa Mohetau is committed to play for BYU. There has been a report that another site has said Ofa is going to BYU, but at the same time says he is not "Officially" committed.
CI does not refute the opinion that Ofa is leaning towards BYU at this time. However, based on conversations we have had with him last week, and with his family members as recently as Monday, December 23rd, we firmly believe it prudent to say that at this time, Ofa is NOT officially or unofficially committing to BYU.
Ofa's mother Siva Mohetau asked CI to clarify the issue because, "I don't want people saying on the Internet that he is going to BYU, he is undecided."
Siva continued, "Ofa says he didn't (commit). No, no, he didn't commit to BYU in any way. He told me he's undecided. He will take all of his visits, and think it out very carefully, and then make his decision, and that's that."
CI's objective is to provide the latest on what a recruit is thinking and feeling towards possibly becoming a Cougar commitment. We are dedicated to keeping an objective viewpoint without pressuring a recruit to sound overly optimistic in his comments about BYU.
As already reported, there is an extreme amount of pressure on the young man and he is growing very tired of all of the attention. The pressure comes from all sides, even those close to Ofa.
Ofa's sister Fane told CI, "I know me and my parents really want him to go to BYU, but this is solely his decision. We really, really liked the coaches (Kaufusi and Crowton) when they came over for a visit."
"We have a Tongan ward over here in Texas, and they are all pushing him to go to BYU. Ofa is a very spiritual guy and has always had a strong testimony. I know Ofa will make the right decision, the spirit will be with him in his decision."
Fane continued, "We want him to go to BYU because of the Church and the atmosphere, it's just the place to be. We have lots of family down there, I told Ofa, 'I want you to go to BYU so we can come visit Utah a lot more now.' "
Even though he is feeling pressure to make a decision, we think he will hold to his earlier comments and take his official visits before deciding for sure.
Will he end up a Cougar?
Chances are good...but only Ofa knows and we should all take a step back and let him make this difficult choice without placing expectations too high just yet.
Once again, our impression of Ofa and whether he will become a Cougar, is VERY favorable. It is too early to say that he will for certain make a verbal to BYU.
COMMENTARY By David Barney
I will say this. Last year I personally had the same type of experience with Ben Olson that I have had this year with Ofa. Both of these young men are very intelligent and will be great examples for the Church no matter where they go. They both were under extreme pressure to make a decision where to play college football, and both handled this pressure with maturity and class beyond their years.
Ben and Ofa always took time to speak to me even if it wasn't necessarily convenient, and both left me with a good "feeling." Last year Haloti Ngata never left me with such a feeling. When I first started CougarIllustrated, the experienced Rivals writers told me that over time I would gain a sense for where each player would end up committing.
Admittedly, there is no "feeling" that can be 100% guaranteed, but if gut instincts are worth anything, then Ofa is close to making a verbal to BYU.
It's important for fans, media, family, friends and others to keep things low key for now until Ofa has taken all of his visits because the last thing anyone wants to do is put so much pressure on him to go to BYU that he turns the other way to escape the pressure.
As his sister Fane said, "Ofa is a very spiritual guy and has always had a strong testimony. I know Ofa will make the right decision."
Jonathon Huckvale is a sportswriter for Cougar Illustrated and Lacamas Life Monthly Magazine. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.