He wasn’t the biggest story out of this week’s college football signing day of high school recruits, but Motekiai Langi is certainly the biggest player signed, at 6’7", 410 pounds.
Langi, a high school student from Liahona, Tonga, signed a letter of intent to attend BYU, despite the fact that he's hardly played football before.
Langi was discovered by BYU defensive line coach Steve Kaufusi who was in Tonga two years ago and saw Langi playing in a pickup basketball game.
That contact led to a meeting last week with BYU head coach Brono Mendenhall, who took all of 15 minutes to offer a scholarship to Langi.
"It is not a fat 410 [pounds]," Mendenhall said, describing Langi to the media. "Lean isn't the right word. He is a solid-looking, healthy, giant man. I shook his hand, and his hand went almost up to my elbow…I have never done anything like this before…I just felt, why not?"
Langi is actually related to current BYU linebacker Harvey Langi, and was in Utah to go to the Missionary Training Center. Langi will serve an LDS Church mission in Arizona before enrolling in 2017.
Langi should feel right at home in Utah. By percentage, the state is home to the largest Native Hawaii Pacific Islander population in the continental U.S. The majority of the nearly 60,000 Tongans in the U.S. live in Utah.
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