Sunday, April 8, 2012

Las Vegas linebacker Trajan Pili commits to BYU By Brandon Gurney, Deseret News

PROVO — Trajan Pili committed to sign a letter of intent with BYU earlier this week. Although he'll only be a junior this coming year, Cougar coaches had seen enough to determine he was worthy of an offer.

"I was shocked when they offered me," said the 6-foot-2, 210-pound linebacker prospect. "I was so excited because I love BYU, I always have."

Pili plays for Centennial High School in Las Vegas. He's related to former Cougar Ifo Pili and with JoJo Pili, who will rejoin the team after his misson service.

Following a meeting with head coach Bronco Mendenhall, he received a verbal offer from the coaching staff. He mulled over it for a few days, aware that other scholarships would come had he played out the process.

"I just decided that BYU was the only place I wanted to play, so it didn't really matter what other offers came," he said. "I felt so good while I was at BYU during their camp, that I just decided it was the only place I wanted to play."

During his meeting with Mendenhall, they discussed the unique aspects of BYU's football program. With Pili coming from a strong LDS background, he was right in line with what Mendenhall was relating with regards to what BYU football stands for.

"It's an opportunity for me to represent something more than just football in playing for BYU," he said. "I have plans to serve a mission, but I love how BYU football serves as a missionary tool. I'm all about that, and it's a big reason why I decided to commit. It's probably the biggest reason why I committed."

BYU offered Pili as an outside linebacker prospect. While at camp, he was able to work out with and learn from Kelly Poppinga, who was just hired as a full-time assistant coach back in February.

"He's very straight-forward, and really explains things well," said Pili about Poppinga. "It's real easy to understand what he wants you to do, and that's what you want in a coach. I can't wait to learn even more from him."

Pili plans to play a year before serving a mission when he enters the program in 2013.

"It's just a huge honor for me to be part of BYU's program," he said. "I love the standards at BYU, and love everything that the football program stands for. It's a huge blessing for me and my family to have this opportunity."

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