SANDY — It’s sometimes said to young men that nothing good happens after midnight. The saying certainly doesn’t seem to apply for what Brighton High’s Isaiah Kaufusi experienced after midnight last Saturday during his official trip to BYU.
Kaufusi is a 6-foot-2, 182-pound linebacker prospect who reaffirmed his commitment over the weekend to sign with BYU after carefully considering options from Utah, Utah State and Hawaii — all of which offered him a scholarship.
“BYU fits perfectly with who I am as a person and what my goals are,” Kaufusi says. “I felt it was the right school for me right after coaches there offered me after my sophomore year, but I wanted to consider all options. I did that, and had my decision to BYU confirmed really late after going to BYU’s basketball game (vs. Saint Mary’s) on Saturday.”
According to Kaufusi, most of the recruits who accompanied him on his trip stayed up until around 5:30 a.m. talking about their backgrounds, lives and what their goals were. It was during these conversations that he became convinced BYU was the place for him.
“It was seriously the best night of my life,” he says. “After going on all those planned activities, seeing everything up close — it was just great to sit there with the guys after taking everything in. I made a lot of great friends there and realized completely that those were the guys I want to play with for the program that’s perfect for me. That program is BYU.”
Kaufusi grew up a fan of Utah, where his father, Jeff Kaufusi, played defensive line during the mid-1990s. Those allegiances started to change after seeing the success of his cousin Bronson Kaufusi at BYU and hearing both Bronson, and his father Steve Kaufusi (BYU defensive line coach) talk about the program.
“Everything I heard about BYU made it seem like the place I needed to be,” Isaiah Kaufusi says. “When they offered me, I got caught up with being so excited and committed before I think I was ready.”
Jeff Kaufusi stepped in and counseled his son to play out the process and make certain he was making the right decision. Isaiah did just that and fielded offers and made official visits to both Utah and Utah State before his trip to BYU.
While he enjoyed his visits to both the Ute and Aggie programs, he didn’t feel the same way there that he did while at BYU.
“I love the coaches for both Utah and Utah State and I’m very grateful for them offering,” Isaiah Kaufusi says. “It was a tough decision, but I know it’s the right one choosing BYU.”
Kaufusi’s trip began with snowmobiling and paint-balling on Friday — the latter of which BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall took part.
“I was a little surprised that Coach Mendenhall was going to paint-ball with us, but it was great having him there,” Kaufusi says. “He had his sons with him, and I think we were a little scared to shoot at him, but after awhile we just went at him, and it was great.”
The recruits toured the campus and the facilities Saturday before ending the night attending the men’s basketball game vs. Saint Mary’s.
Following what proved to be a very late night, Kaufusi informed Mendenhall of his final decision.
“I think he was expecting it, but he was definitely excited,” Kaufusi says. “I can't wait to play for him at BYU and take part in everything BYU has to offer."
Kaufusi has plans to serve an LDS Church mission before enrolling at BYU. Upon his return he'll compete for a spot at outside linebacker.
Email: email@example.com Twitter: @BrandonCGurney
Copyright 2016, Deseret News Publishing Company