PROVO — It's no secret that BYU football needs help along the defensive front for 2013 and is scouring the junior college ranks for replacements. With six seniors expected to make up the two-deep at defensive line, the need for recruiting help is pressing.
Last week, Cougar coaches secured the commit of defensive line prospect Kalolo Manumaleuga to help fill the impending void, and this week they landed a commit from his cousin Ma'ataua Brown.
Brown is a 6-foot-5, 360 pound defensive line prospect from Cerritos Junior College in Southern California. He played primarily at defensive end for Cerritos last season, but will likely play at nose tackle for the Cougars.
Brown signed with Washington out of high school, but knew that he'd have to go the junior college route early on.
"I've always struggled with my grades, and I knew since I was a sophomore in high school that I'd go to Cerritos," said Brown. "I was excited to go to junior college and get my grades up before hopefully playing division one football."
BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi made it out to meet with Brown earlier this month. Up to that point, he didn't know much about the Cougar program.
"I really liked Coach Kaufusi from the start," said Brown. "He was real easy to talk to, and I liked what he said about BYU. I was definitely interested."
Shortly after his visit with Kaufusi he saw his cousin Manumaleuga commit to BYU. Upon learning that Manumaleuga would be taking an unofficial trip to see BYU up close, Brown decided to tag along.
While on his visit he was able to see the program up close while meeting with every BYU coach. According to Brown, who is LDS, he felt right at home — comfortable with the unique aspects of BYU and its football program.
"I decided while on my tour there that I'd commit if they offered," said Brown. "BYU is the type of place I need in my life to become a better student and a better person. I like that BYU represents a lot more than just football."
Brown will be looked at as a replacement at nose tackle when he joins BYU in 2013. Early playing time wasn't a factor at all in his decision, however.
"Coach Mendenhall didn't even talk to me about playing right away," said Brown. "I heard that they were having a lot of guys graduate, but I didn't think about that at all and the coaches didn't talk to me about it either."
Although Brown has raised his grades, his academic situation isn't ideal.
This summer he'll take on a load of online courses and other work in order to graduate at the end of the next scholastic year. He's confident that he'll reach his goal to graduate, however, and is excited for his opportunities at BYU.
"I've grown a lot as a person and I'm going to be working very hard in the classroom so I can play for BYU," said Brown. "I'm excited to play with my cousin and all of the other great people at BYU."
Copyright 2017, Deseret News Publishing Company