It was a dream for my family and myself to play as a Cougar. Once they made an offer, I was crying and my family was jumping all around and crying tears of joy as well. —Kainoa Fuiava
Defensive lineman Kainoa Fuiava was less than 24 hours away from becoming a Hawaii Warrior when a last-minute proposal changed the course of his life at least for the next few years.
It was Tuesday night, just one sleep away from National Signing Day when prospects around the country sign National Letters of Intent to join college programs.
Fuiava, a 6-foot-5, 295-pounder from Warren High School in Downey, California, had decided to ink with Hawaii when he received an offer from BYU.
The Cougars had been recruiting him for only about a week after receiving an email from Fuiava's recruiting coach, but were convinced after watching his film that they should offer.
"Their school is a dream school," Fuiava said by phone Thursday afternoon. "It was a dream for my family and myself to play as a Cougar. Once they made an offer, I was crying and my family was jumping all around and crying tears of joy as well."
Realizing Provo is where he wanted to go, Fuiava knew he had to let the coaches at Hawaii know that he would not be signing with them, even though it was not a phone call he wanted to make.
The Warrior staff understood, and Fuiava committed on Wednesday. He signed a National Letter of Intent on Thursday afternoon, becoming the 26th member of BYU's 2016 recruiting class.
I'm so thankful for this opportunity! And I just wanna thank god first, and my family and friends for everything!!!! pic.twitter.com/GfVyGIYE8t— Kainoa Fuiava (@KainoaFuiava) February 4, 2016
Two other new Cougars, signee Keanu Saleapaga and transfer Tyler Luatua, are close friends of Fuiava's. Their families are so close that the three refer to one another as cousins.16 comments on this story
"Everything happened extremely fast," he said. "I was just very surprised and happy that everything worked out."
Fuiava was an All-CIF Southern Section Defensive Team selection in 2015. In his junior and senior seasons at Warren High, he totaled 70 tackles (42 solo), seven sacks, four forced fumbles and two rushing touchdowns on offense.
A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Fuiava is unsure if he will serve a mission, and his plan is to play his freshman year this fall.
Ryan McDonald is a sports reporter at DeseretNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ryanwmcdonald.