Brian Nicholson, Deseret News
PROVO — Romney Fuga contributed mightily to the BYU football program before graduating after last season. His little brother, Teancum, is now hoping to do the same.
Teancum Fuga committed to sign a letter of intent with BYU Monday evening after being officially offered by coaches. Teancum is a 6-foot-2, 320 pound defensive tackle prospect who held offers from Utah, Boise State and Utah State and rising interest from several Pac-12 programs at the time of his commitment.
“I love what BYU stands for and I know how much Romney loved being a part of it,” Teancum said. “It’s such a great honor for me and it’s the perfect program for me.”
Since Romney first made an impact for the Cougars in 2006 as a true freshman, Teancum has followed his career closely.
“I know that Coach (Bronco) Mendenhall thought very highly of Romney, and it’s a lot to live up to, but I’m anxious for the opportunity,” Teancum said. “Fortunately, I’ve had Romney as a great example and influence growing up. It’s been a big blessing.”
Despite all the familiarity developed during Romney’s stint at BYU, the coaching staff was late to the table in showing interest and offering the Edison High School (Calif.) prospect. Teancum wasn’t contacted by Cougar coaches until May — quite a while after he had received growing interest from Utah, Utah State and other programs.
Despite being late, BYU moved fast in offering and then committing Teancum, who will be a senior this coming year.
“They strongly encouraged me to come to their camp, and Romney obviously did as well,” he said. “After the first day they asked to meet with me, and after that I received my offer. I didn’t have to think about it long at all before deciding to commit, and I’m very happy and comfortable with that decision.”
Romney helped his younger brother along the way, providing advice when needed.
“Romney has been such a big example to me, and hearing him talk about BYU throughout the years really made me want that same experience,” Teancum said. “He loved every aspect of the program and talked so highly about everything. He was obviously successful on the field, but he grew so much off the field as well.”
Romney was a fixture in the middle of Mendenhall’s 3-4 defense throughout his career and consistently received high praise from coaches for his work. Teancum holds a lot of the same characteristics as a player in both athletic makeup and work ethic, but he knows his work is cut out for him to match his older brother’s success.
“I’m just grateful that I’ll have the opportunity to try and do the same sort of stuff Romney did playing,” he said. “I don’t know if I’ll be quite as good as Romney, but all I can do is try. I’m just so incredibly thankful to be a part of a program that puts your spirituality first, above all other things. Coach Mendenhall is someone who always puts the (LDS) church first, and he’s a father-figure to his players. I’ve already felt that when talking to him and I can’t wait to play for him.”
Teancum has definite plans to serve a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and will do so immediately upon graduating high school. He’ll join the program in 2016.
BYU received another defensive line commitment over the weekend. Sione Takitaki is a 6-foot-3, 240 pound defensive end prospect from Menifee, Calif. Takitaki claimed offers Arizona, San Diego State, Wisconsin and Washington State at the time of his commitment.
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