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BYU football: Top junior college prospect Tenny Palepoi visits BYU

Published: Sunday, Jan. 15 2012 10:56 p.m. MST

EPHRAIM — Most of the 16 or so football recruits that were on BYU's campus for official visits over the weekend were already committed to the program. A couple were not, however, including Snow’s Tenny Palepoi.

Due to some recent scholarship spots opening up coupled with a big need for top defensive line talent in the near future, BYU coaches offered Palepoi following his official visit.

“It’s a great honor to be offered by BYU,” said the 6-foot-2, 280-pound prospect. “I didn’t really like BYU growing up — I was a Utah guy, but visiting BYU and seeing them up close really opened my eyes and I could definitely see myself and my fiance at BYU.”

This weekend didn’t mark the first visit Palepoi has made to the Cougar program, having taken an unofficial visit to the school a couple of weeks back.

Palepoi hails from Skyline High School and was courted heavily by Division 1 programs during his prep career. Programs such as BYU, Utah, Utah State, Washington, and Washington State came calling until it became apparent that he wouldn’t qualify academically.

Like most non-qualifiers, Palepoi headed off to junior college where he’s become eligible for Division 1 play. During his two years starting at defensive tackle for the Badgers he’s done nothing to dispel the notion that he’s a Division 1 talent.

“A lot of the same schools that recruited me out of high school have started recruiting me again,” he said. “I have offers from Utah State, Oregon State and from Washington along with my BYU offer.”

While on his official trip to BYU, Palepoi was able to take a closer look at the program, liking most of everything he experienced. He was able to sit down with BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall and came away with a much different impression than he previously held.

“When you first meet him he’s intimidating and you really don’t know what to say to him,” related Palepoi. “I was able to sit down with him though along with my brother and my fiance, and I found him to be a very nice and caring guy and someone I’d love to play for.”

Palepoi was hosted by his close friend Iona Pritchard along with Ian Dulan while on his trip, enjoying the company of both of them.

“It was great having Iona there,” said Palepoi. “We’re very close with all the Prichards, so that was great — getting to hang out with those guys. We were in the same Samoan ward growing up, so we’re real tight. I seriously loved my experience visiting BYU. Coach (Steve) Kaufusi is someone my family knows really well and I’d love to play for him in college.”

Palepoi came away from his trip to BYU without committing and likely won’t commit right up to letter-of-intent day on Feb. 1. From now until that date he plans on taking official visits to Utah State, Oregon State and to Washington, although that may be a tough haul with only two weekends left until LOI day.

His final commit decision will be talked over considerably with his family and with his patient fiance, who has had to deal with some marriage postponements due to Palepoi’s furious recruiting process.

“We were supposed to get married next week and then take a honeymoon to Hawaii, but I’ve had to put that off because of all of all the schools that want me to visit,” he said. “She’s been really patient and she understands that this is a big decision for us, as a couple, but yeah, she's wanting to get it done and so am I. We both know that this is a big decision for both of us and want to make the best possible decision and look closely at all the schools.”

Email: bgurney@desnews.com

Twitter: @BrandonCGurney

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