BYU gave Langi a scholarship, despite the fact that head coach Bronco Mendenhall met him for a grand total of 15 minutes and, as Deadspin notes, his entire recruiting evaluation was based on one pickup basketball game in 2013.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Mendenhall said teaching him how to play football will be an “adventure.”
“Maybe we’ll just have him lay sideways right off the snap and just block the whole thing out,” he said. “There’s got to be someway he can do something.”
According to Mendenhall, assistant coach Steve Kaufusi discovered Langi while he was playing a pickup basketball game in Tonga two years ago.
“He just saw a giant body who’s light on his feet and can change direction and loved working out and training,” Mendenhall said.
When Langi came to Utah before going on his mission, he had a 15-minute meeting with Mendenhall. The coach says he never intended to offer a scholarship going into the meeting, but he changed his mind.
“It’s not a fat 410. It’s a solid — lean isn’t the right word — it is a solid-looking, healthy giant man. When I shook his hand, his hand went almost up to my elbow, and I was like, ‘How can this not being something?'”
“I’ve never done anything like this before.”
According to BYU’s website, there were no local football teams for Langi to play on in Tonga, so his only football experience is in “camps.”
Vanish The Foe, SB Nation’s BYU-specific site, found this short YouTube video of Langi playing some sort of disorganized football in Tonga. He’s nimble:
Here he is next to his future teammate:
You could call BYU crazy, but the last time they did this they produced one of the best players in the history of the school.
Ziggy Ansah didn’t even know how to put on football pads when he came to BYU from Ghana in 2008. In 2013 he was the No. 5-overall pick in the NFL Draft, and now he’s one of the better pass rushers in the league.
You can’t teach size!
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